WINSDAY: Managing Stress
Hey Team FIT LV!!!
Coach Kristi here and we are back with another WINSday!!This week we are going to WIN by stressing LESS (or at least managing it better).
I heard the most clear definition of stress the other day:
“Stress is the desire for things to be different than they are in this present moment.”
We all have different stressors in our life at any given moment and unfortunately I don't see it going anywhere. Therefore I believe the focus should not be on how to remove stress completely from our lives but rather, how to manage it.
First Step: Accept
The more you resist, the harder it is to manage and respond. Repeat this phrase: "What’s going on is outside my control. I might not like it. It might not be my preference, but I accept this to be current reality."
Second Step: Connect
When you feel the stress overwhelm your body, it's important to reconnect with yourself. You may notice some of these physiological responses in times of stress:
- Increased heart rate and respirations.
- Tension in your body
- Increased blood pressure.
- Upset stomach, nausea, diarrhea.
- Appetite changes: increased or decreased
- Sweating or chills.
- Muffled hearing.
- Tunnel vision.
If you start to feel any of of these changes come over you, do your best to reconnect with your body. Try changing the scenery by going outside for "10." 10 deep breaths: three seconds through the nose, filling the entire belly, rib cage expanding wide, breathing into your back, holding for five seconds, then exhaling through your mouth for three. Repeat that for 10 breath cycles, focusing on feeling your heart rate slow, exhale the tension out of your body, and reclaim your space. Get in the habit of checking in with yourself and going for "10" when you feel the tension build. Breath work, meditation, and fresh air can do wonders on reframing the moment.
Third Step: Control
"Stress doesn’t come from the events and circumstances, it comes from our response and resistance to those circumstances."
I'm sure you've heard the phrase: "Control what you can, surrender to the rest." or I often simply say, "Control the controllables." The point in both of these is to focus LESS on the part you simply cannot control, and focus MORE on the part you can: YOUR RESPONSE. You will never be able to control what happens in your life, but you will always be in control of your responses. A strategy to help with controlling your controllables is to journal.
How am I feeling?:
What can I control?:
How am I going to respond?:
What are my next steps?:
You could repeat this step (I recommend after you've taken "10") for every stressor in your life. Take the control back on every part you can, then move on.
Fourth Step: Healthy Distractions
I have also heard stress description as "the anticipation of pain." Just anticipating the worst, something bad is certainly going to happen, so the spiral begins. The above steps are meant to destroy the downward spiral before it happens and I want you to add in this fourth step of healthy distractions. After you have completed steps one through three, I want you to default to healthy distractions. What is something you can do for YOU, that will move the needle forward for you in life?:
- Yoga or meditation
- Workout: weights, running, biking, etc.
- Baking, cooking, meal prepping
- Reading, writing
- Human connection (with a positive and uplifting friend or relative)
- Giving back, volunteering
- Walking or playing with your dog or friends dog, maybe a horse or a cat even(not the walk part.. not sure if you can walk a horse down the street in the city ;)). Animals can be very therapeutic.
The idea here is to release endorphins by doing something positive and good for you, something that makes you feel good, and is productive. Yet again, something in your control.
I hope todays WINSday gave you some practical strategies to managing any stress that may be present in your life. My goal in life is to help you feel more empowered, more capable, and stronger than yesterday. We may all have different goals and paths, but at the end of the day we are all in this crazy life together.
Whether you are a current member, former member, or just following along for the weekly motivation- thanks for being here. I appreciate you more than you know. Have a happy WINSday!