I often see people breathing using what we call the stress breath. This breathing is high up on our upper body and leads to many neck, trap, shoulder problems and many other injuries.
We tend to go from one meal to another, not even remembering what we ate let alone whether we actually chewed our food or not, more often than not we tend to even forget what has happened in a day.
But how long can we maintain this pace without it negatively impacting our health which in turn can impact nearly every other aspect of our lives.
Could there be a way to get off this treadmill or at least manage the pace? Of course. But first we need to know what are the main stress contributers.
What to do?
For me, first was learning about what it was actually doing to my health not just in the short term but also what the long term effects may be. The affect stress was having on my body was never going to end well. An awareness sometimes is all it takes. Once I developed the awareness I learnt that it was not sustainable or even productive to keep this treadmill going at the pace it was at….. it has to SLOW DOWN. I had to manage stress and I had to manage the way I perceived stress.
It did not mean I had to give up my job, or career and it doesn’t have to mean that for you. It definitely did not mean stopping my exercise. That was one thing I had to make sure I was doing to be giving back energy, health and time for myself. Maybe I would look at what exercise I was doing and for me personally when my stress is high I much prefer increasing my weight training, LISS and yoga to help manage it.
I know many people with many more responsibilities than me that manage a business, children and keeping themselves very healthy and happy. I just had to learn how to manage my stressors.
During the wellness retreat I hosted last weekend I presented a seminar on stress and the impact it has on the body and very quickly I realised this affected everyone in the room.
I am going to break down stress and the impact it has on our body shape, size, sleep, food choices and our health in our upcoming seminar as part of our next challenge 66 BY RFT. I will break this topic down in much more detail but for now let’s look at what the two biggest contributors to stress are:
Perception of Stress
150,000 years ago, stress was a tiger chasing us, stress use to be a bear waking us up in the middle of night, stress was physical, and we essentially used the adrelaine that stressed produced to either fight, flight or freeze when we were under attack. Now days stress is much psychology than physical. But the body doesn’t know any different so it will still go into the sympathetic state which of course produces adrenaline.
Is an email a stress, is returning an email stress, is a deadline a stress- this is what we call man-made stress and it has become out of control. For each person this can be individually looked at, and sometimes it is nice for someone who is not part of your daily life to take a look at where you might see stressors in life. This person becomes an observer to your life stressors and may be able to give you perspective looking from at the situations from the outside. I love been others observer and helping others. Sometimes when we are in it daily we tend to not see how our perception could be different or areas that we could look at differently. At Real Fitness Training our coaches genuinely care and even just someone listening to your stressors can make you feel like weight has been lifted off the shoulders. But I do invite you to look at this individually for you.
Our second contributor to stress can be Caffeine
I know! Many of you may not like me saying this.
We have become so reliant on caffeine and seem to be for some of us the only we look forward to in a day. I know I have been down that road. But why? What is it that caffeine gives us? Well in fact it gives us that same response that stress gives us releasing adrenaline and cortisol which would be great if a bear was hunting us or a tiger jumping out of the jungle, so we can use and burn off the adrenaline but unfortunately usually we are just sitting at our desk, piling more tasks and jobs as they caffeine starts to hit. What does this mean? You are sedentary so what happens to the caffeine? It just circulates throughout the body. Having an effect on your liver, sleep, body shape and size and even food choices.
I have never known anyone who has reduced caffeine or even cut it out of there life and not felt better for it. Definitely at first it is not pretty- the headaches the detox the body goes through but I first hand have seen the difference in my quality of life from my anxiety, energy levels, behaviour (a lot less snappy) and to even my quality of sleep dramatically improved. This was me going from 1 coffee a day to 0. What a difference 1 caffeinated drink can make. Caffeine can almost make us have a warped sense of ourselves. I felt so much less reactive and able to deal with situations with calm and ease without the stimulate.
Always start where you are at and remember giving your liver a rest from liver loaders is really crucial for your health.
During our retreat we had the pleasure of taking away liver loaders and reconnecting. I could not believe how much connection makes a difference to our health. Like I mean I see it daily at Real Fitness but to spend 3 days with it truly made my heart warm. Not always possible but definitely worth it. Taking time away from your environment can be a great way to restore and reconnect or even been part of a community like Real Fitness Training.
Community and connection are a very integral part to our health but that is a topic for later date.
Think about the different ways you can improve on your stress this week. It may be to spend an hour a day without your phone, it may be through exercise, yoga, breath work, pausing between tasks, returning to nature, it may even be to reduce your caffeine. You will find they all work hand in hand. Start on one and the rest will just happen. Perhaps even join our 66 BY RFT challenge. Most challenges are about losing the most weight as quick as possible but at RFT we believe in weight loss that is sustainable and it is built around lifestyle changes. 66 BY RFT is about changing habits week by week to create sustainable long term change. It is built around the 66 days in which new research has shown it takes 66 days to create a new habit.
Next week I will be giving you some tips around reducing your stress state and increasing your rest and digest state
But in the mean time down forget to check out our new challenge 66 BY RFT. The challenge that is bit for real people!