Day-to-day life is the ultimate juggling act. There’s work to be done, homes to keep in order, children to raise, health to monitor. As such, it’s no surprise that people from various backgrounds share a common ailment: stress. Stress can manifest in many ways, such as muscle tension, raised blood pressure, impatience, and insomnia. It can thwart one’s efforts at maintaining a healthy relationship with food and making progress at the gym.
So how can one overcome stress and find balance in life? First, by identifying the cause of stress and if it can be eliminated. Secondly, by taking control and finding ways to de-stress both in and out of the gym. By making time for relaxation at home and working up a sweat at the gym, you can take control of your stress levels.
Types of Stress
We tend to think of stress as pretty obvious: we get busy, we have an emotional response. However, stress can be further categorized based on the cause. Daily happenings can cause stress, but so can huge life events, both positive and negative. These occurrences are classified as normative and non-normative, or psychosocial stress.
What is Normative Stress?
Normative stress is the stress people deal with on a daily basis. Normative stressors include trying to get one’s children to school on time or missing the subway on the way to work. While inconvenient, normative stressors are as the name indicates: normal.
Despite the fact that normative stress is to be expected, it can still be detrimental to your health. Chronic stress can contribute to severe health issues, including heart problems, digestive disorders, and immune system failure. These implications show the importance of using stress management techniques like the ones explored below.
What is Psychosocial Stress?
Psychosocial stress is a form of non-normative stress. This is stress that doesn’t stem from normal day-to-day situations. Psychosocial stress results from something major or unexpected, such as the death of a loved one. Even positive events, like a pregnancy, can be a psychosocial stressor as it can be completely life-altering.
In simple terms, stressors are classified as psychosocial when they exceed our coping resources and inherent ability to process a situation. One experiencing a non-normative or psychosocial stressor may need professional guidance. In all cases of stress, there are steps we can take both at home and in the gym to find relief.
Stress Relief at Home
In cases of normative stress, it’s important to be able to find an easy way to cope on a daily basis. The options for de-stressing at home are both endless and subjective. What works for one person might not work for another. Here are a few ways to take control of daily stress levels:
An ancient practice, meditation is an effective, low-impact method of stress relief. Studies conducted throughout the years have shown a positive effect on not only stress but clinical mental health disorders as well.
The various meditation methods share a common core: deep breathing and letting go of stressful thoughts. For those who dislike standing still, there’s a branch of meditation called “mindful walking” which encourages participants to get outside and reconnect with nature. Due to its low-impact attributes, meditation is well-matched with high-impact exercise programs. To get started, consider downloading a guided meditation app like Headspace to teach you the basics.
Finding Your Groove
Meditation as a practice isn’t for everyone. What’s important is the need to find a form of simple relaxation that works for you. Some may choose to end the day with a hot bath after their children are in bed. Others may choose to allocate 15 minutes after work each day to close their eyes and listen to loud music. You can choose to use this time to be alone, or share it with another person. What matters is finding a way to practice self-care on a daily basis.
Other at home de-stressing activities include:
- Drawing or painting
- Yoga or Tai Chi
- Talking to a friend or loved one
- Completing a crossword, Suduko, or other logic puzzle
- Walking or hiking
Finding the Time
Time is always a major challenge when it comes to adding a new routine into one’s life. When it comes to self-care, one must take it upon themselves to make time. In a society that spends an average of two hours per day on social media, it’s important to remember to unplug and take care of yourself. In doing so, you’ll ensure you have adequate time to focus on your health.
Evaluate your daily schedule. What tasks are required? Which tasks can be shortened, either by allocating less time or using the time more effectively? As impossible as it may seem, you’ll likely be able to carve out at least a few minutes each day to practice self-care.
Stress Relief at the Gym
Physical exercise has long been known to be a holistic approach to supporting physical health. Exercise acts as both a preventative measure and treatment for certain health ailments. Studies have shown that physical exercise not only lowers the risk of chronic diseases but increases one’s lifespan. Furthermore, the greatest improvement in these factors is seen when people who are unfit start an exercise routine. This proves that it’s never too late to start a workout program.
Fighting Stress Levels with Exercise
In addition to the physical benefits, fitness has a proven impact on stress level management. A review of collected scientific studies shows that exercise reduces elevated blood pressure related to stress. For optimal results, one should aim for a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise to achieve these effects.
Those who are new to a gym or are still working to build a routine should note the dose effect of exercise. Any amount of exercise is better than staying still. If you can’t commit to the recommended 30 minutes at the start of your journey, don’t feel discouraged. Taking small steps and building good habits is an effective way to start making positive changes to your health.
All About Endorphins
The phrase “exercise releases endorphins” is commonly touted in the fitness industry, though not everyone understands what that means. Endorphins are a chemical naturally produced in humans pituitary gland. This chemical is released during times of great joy or stress and has a euphoric, pain relief effect. Endorphins are a powerful, natural combatant to stress.
To trigger an endorphin release at the gym, you need to sweat. Aerobic exercises, such as running, skipping, or rowing can raise endorphin levels. Fortunately, anaerobic exercises like heavy resistance training, sprinting can also result in raised endorphin levels.
Activities like boxing at Gloveworx can incorporate both types of exercise for maximum stress relief. In our humble opinion, nothing is more relaxing than strapping on some gloves and taking your stress out on the mitts. Choose an activity that appeals to you, give it your all, and reap the benefits.
Changing Your Thinking
Finding time to de-stress works the same way as any other pursuit of new, positive habits: with time, practice, and dedication to yourself. Though it may seem like a challenge at first, the alternative is letting stress run your life and damage your body.
The Gloveworx coaches can help their contenders create goals and routines that will contribute to a holistic lifestyle change. Creating a program with Gloveworx training sessions at the gym, and self-care practices at home can help you Become Unstoppable.
To schedule an intro session and assessment with one of our expert coaches, click here.