Some people stress eat; I stress starve. In the last month I’ve lost 5 pounds and my butt that I worked so hard to create. I’m still stronger and faster than I used to be, but I’ve whittled down a few inches and none of my clothes fit properly. Loosing weight may sound great to some people, but the speed at which I’ve dropped pounds is a red flag. Everyone is different; I was proud of the 10 pound drop since this time last year, but for someone my size 5 LB’s in 4 weeks is drastic and indicative of a bigger problem.
Enter: the J-O-B. I’ve undergone some stress lately and am in a position of uncertainty within my company and my career. Some people grab the ice cream at the end of the day, but my stomach churns in a tight little ball and adrenaline and other hormones (i.e. cortisol) turn what was once an efficient calorie burning and consuming machine to a supercharged, full speed ahead, take no prisoners persona with a penchant for skipping meals. Just have to finish this report… then I’ll eat lunch. Oh crap, it’s 2 PM and I haven’t eaten since breakfast. Done with yoga, but too tired to think about eating at the end of the day. Traveling 80% of the time so all meals are eaten out and the fridge is empty when I finally have some time at home.
SIDE EFFECTS OF STRESS
- PHYSICAL EFFECTS: high blood pressure, stress headaches, and muscle tension
- MENTAL EFFECTS: brain function adversely affected by restlessness, anxiety, or lack of focus
- more PHYSICAL EFFECTS: problems sleeping, stomach upset (<–THIS IS ME, RIGHT HERE!)
- NEGATIVE COPING MECHANISMS: i.e. over/under eating, solace in a bottle/pill/chemical mixture of some sort, taking it out on relationships and people close to you
HEALTHY WAYS TO DEAL
- CLEAR YOUR HEAD. TGFY – thank goodness for yoga: Meditation, stillness, reflection at the end of the day is SO IMPORTANT. Tell your mind to shut up for a minute. Yoga is mine, what’s yours? Taking the dog on a walk? A long shower? Know yourself and find something that works for you.
- ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE – take the time to count your blessings. There is always someone out there who has it worse and is handling it better. (My quote of the week: Do you have 10 fingers? 10 toes? Are you breathing? Then it’s a good day)
- TAKE A WALK. I had a moment where I had to literally step out of the office and take a walk outside. A couple of flights of stairs and fresh air (albeit HUMID) can make all the difference in getting your mind right and getting your emotions (and your hormones) in check. Let epinephrine (adrenaline or “fight or flight” hormone) take a back seat to serotonin (regulates mood – released via sunlight, good carbs, and exercise).
- VENT to a close friend. Yeah that’s right. Not a 90 minute bitch-a-thon but have someone you trust who will listen. Know that sometimes you want advice, sometimes you want to be defended, and sometimes you just need to let it out
- TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF. Still eat right (protein helps with the release of dopamine – another feel-good hormone). Still exercise (releases endorphins which help REDUCE anxiety). After a long shitty day, the gym is neutral. After the gym, my gait is lighter, my mood is improved, and the clouds that followed me around all day have lifted. Sometimes getting there is the hardest part, but I never regret a workout.
How do you deal with stress?