Let’s break down a typical day for most people!
6am – Cortisol is released (stress hormone) to wake you up so you can start your day.
7am – Get ready for the day ahead – rushing around to iron clothes, eat breakfast, complete your hygiene / appearance, make sure you haven’t forgotten anything and get ready to leave.
8am – Sitting in your car and driving to work, possibly sit in traffic that may make you late.
9am-5pm – Work – You have 100 deadlines coming up and beginning stressing about how much you have to do and how little time you have to do it.
6pm – Drive home from work, sitting in more traffic.
7pm – You’re now tired but you still need to go to the gym, you train, feel sluggish and take the session easy completing roughly an hour session.
8pm – Get home, cook and eat dinner, then clean up around the house.
9pm – Wind down time – Watching TV, maybe reading in bed.
10pm-6am – Sleep time!
6am – Wake up and repeat.
This may be a typical day you or someone you know experiences. Each person may vary slightly from this example but the core of this remains – we wake up, work, eat meals, clean and then try to wind down.
One thing you may not realise is majority of the above day is keeping us in a ‘Stressed’ state.
Within our body we have two parts of our nervous system that we can influence or that can be influenced by internal and external events. These are our Sympathetic and Parasympathetic nervous systems.
The sympathetic system is our stress system – think the phrase ‘fight or flight’
The parasympathetic system is our relaxation system – think the phrase ‘rest and digest’
Now if we are hopping from task to task, rushing around in the morning and then fighting traffic in the morning then dealing with all the stressors of our day.
We are living in a state of stress
We go to the gym and then work out – which elicits more stress
We finally wind down at say 9pm at night after living in a stressed state for majority of the day.
Is it a wonder that you may experience some of the following issues?
- Muscle Tension
- Mood changes e.g., Irritability, anxiousness
- Elevated heart rate / breathing rate
Stress in the short term is not bad at all. It can promote:
- Improved cognitive function
- Improved performance
- Focusing our attention
In the long term it can wreak havoc on our lives! Chronic (long term) stress has been shown to:
- Decrease life expectancy
- Increase mental health conditions – depression, anxiety
- Increase risk of disease such as cardiovascular disease – heart attacks / strokes
- + More
To improve how you manage and deal with stress try these tips!
- Learn the art of resting between stressful moments. For example, use your commute time as relaxation time – let your mind wander, listen to a podcast or you favourite music.
- Organisation and Time Management – A large portion of our stress can come from poor time management and organisation – put systems in place to set yourself up for success in both your personal and work life!
- Exercise – light exercise or circuit styles that allow your mind to switch off can help! Check out more benefits of exercise here.
- Take time to breathe deeply prior to your gym session / training rather than rushing straight in.
- Make time for yourself! Setting small amounts of time apart for yourself to practice mindfulness, meditation or simply letting your mind wander can leave you feeling refreshed and ready for the new stressors.
- Establish a regular routine for sleep – e.g. Set bedtimes and waking up at the same time daily.
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