By Josephine Atluri
When things are going well in your life, it is a lot easier to stay on track with the goals you have set for yourself. However, life is far from perfect 24/7. When stressful situations arise, you know from experience that life and all of our well intentioned and glorious plans get derailed instantly.
First thing that gets crushed? Typically anything related to our fitness goals. If stress is brought on by work or added life responsibilities, then any extra time becomes extremely valuable and probably pretty rare. If you haven't turned your fitness regimen into a habit before the stress hits, then exercise isn't an essential daily task that you will prioritize into your schedule. Just keepin' it real here people.
The next things that get derailed are usually nutrition and sleep. You stop eating healthy and perhaps you stress eat. If you are particularly agitated, then your sleep gets affected which in turn affects your diet and how your body is feeling and functioning.
So what is a person to do when the stress hits? Don't fret. All is not lost. Here are five tips for maintaining control of your life and goals when the pressure starts building.
1. BREATHE - It seems so simple and ineffective, but deep soothing breaths have been proven to reduce stress levels instantly. Deep breathing sends a message to your brain to calm down. Then the brain sends the important message to your body and everything starts to slow down from your mind to your heart to your blood pressure. There are many forms of deep breathing that you can employ in your stress relief regimen. To learn more, take a peek at www.stress.org
2. WALK IT OUT - So, I said that exercise was usually the first thing to get derailed by stress. If this happens, don't get even more stressed about it. If you can't get yourself over to the gym because you just don't have any extra time in your day, at the very least, go our for a walk. Do it during your lunch break. Walking gives your body a form of exercise which has been proven to also relieve stress. As you walk, you'll get distracted by the things around you and this will give your mind a chance to clear and reset.
3. LAUGH OUT LOUD - I am a big fan of watching comedy shows or listening to them in the car while I drive. For a moment in time, I'm distracted by some hilarious jokes that in turn reduce my stress levels. You can use this technique right before you need to get at one of your goals. For example, if you feel too stressed to workout, watch a short clip on YouTube of your fave comedian or comedy show. Just five minutes of laughing will help you reset allowing you to feel like you can go workout or choose a healthy meal.
4. DROWN OUT THE NOISE - Find a relaxing playlist of some old school jams or light boy band tunes, put those headphones on and transport yourself to a state of calm happiness. You can do this right before you head out for that walk. Or listen to a upbeat playlist that will motivate you to go for a quick run. Music is a great tool for reducing anxiety.
5. PLAN AHEAD - This is not something to do in the moment but rather something that you can do to prepare yourself for an impending stressful moment. If you can get yourself into the habit of eating right and working out once a day for a few weeks, then these healthy habits will be that much harder to break when life gets in the way.