The 5 Body Shape PRIORITIES #5

Time To Chill The *#@% Out!

stressed pic

Who would say they are stressed sometimes?  Probably most people.  It’s part of the modern world, right?!?


Who would say they’re stressed 50% of the time or more?  These can be stressors from work life, family life, personal issues and/or self-inflicted stresses.


Who would say they are highly stressed pretty much all of the time?  Do you get up feeling tired and instantly thinking about the things that ‘stress you out’ or will stress you out that day?


Do you feel like there’s never enough time in the day and things are always piling up onto of you?  Do you then eat junk food or at least fail to prepare a fresh meal due to the draining aspect of stress?


Finally, do you feel fatigued and need sleep but can’t get any shut-eye because your mind is working 24/7 going over and over stressful ‘things’?


Don’t get me wrong, we all have a degree of stress now and again - it’s part of everyday life and some would argue if you’re not challenged and under pressure, you won’t perform to your best ability.  But there is a healthy limit and we need to look at ways to keep the stressors we can control, exactly that - under control.


The thing is if you constantly feel stressed the relative hormone(s) will have an effect on your body composition ie body weight, fat and shape.

Cortisol being one hormone that you may well have heard of.  This is the very ‘thing’ that gets elevated during ‘fight or flight’ situations to get us out of said situation. 


The bad thing is, nowadays we are ‘chronically stressed’ meaning cortisol levels are always high.  This will mean a knock-on effect for things like blood sugar management and insulin resistance, sleep disruption, craving carbohydrates and reduced metabolism among others.


In the long run, we get adrenal fatigue and begin to feel tired all of the time.

Bad news right?


Of course, and not only because you can’t function 100% daily but this leads on to not wanting to exercise (bad), eating junky foods and not bothering to prepare from fresh (bad), reduced sex hormone production (bad), muscle loss and fat gain (bad)… you get the picture!


How do you expect to get in great shape if you’re always battling against stress day in, day out?


Well, first up assess where your biggest stressors are.


Are they related to your job or working environment?  Can you change this?  I know it isn’t an easy solution but if the stress of your job is slowly making your life worse then dude,  get a new job it’s not like you should bust your ass into the grave for something that is terrible for your health.


Is it family life?  Is this because you have made things that shouldn’t be a high priority take precedence over family?  We can easily do this without realising when work takes over or we let bad habits begin to rule us (think: excessive gambling/drinking/other vices that cause stress on family life).


Is it our very downward spiral of worse food choices, and less and less exercise that causes internal stress?  Do you have issues that need professional help to sort?


The thing is, it can be easy to ignore little things until they become too big a monster to slay.  Getting a grip on these early can prevent chronic stress catching up with you.


When you have an idea on what it is that causes you the MOST stress, work out a plan to change it or at least begin to reduce the amount of stress it places on you and your life.


Look at the most important things to you and put them FIRST.


Finally, find out what DE-STRESSES you and do that a LOT.


For some, this could be exercise (although technically it elevates cortisol) but people can feel good after exercise through released endorphins for sure.  So if that works then great, plus it’s doing your health wonders and you’ll probably make better food choices when exercising regularly too. Win - Win.


Take time OUT of your day for yourself.  Use apps like Headspace to help you do this.  Go somewhere quiet and ‘zone out’ for 10 minutes a day.  Go and listen to some calming music.  Sit quietly and watch nature.  

Simply, find something that helps you clear your mind and relax.  Something like a full body massage is great but I doubt there’s many of us who could find the time and money to enjoy this daily.  It is, however, something you could do monthly and set it in your diary as a non-negotiable thing.


Maybe something easy you can do a few nights a week is run a bath with Epsom salts in, light some candles, stick on chilled music and enjoy a glass of red?


Whatever it may be, find your calming ‘thing’ and make it a PRIORITY in your life.


Your body and mind will love you for it, so will your colleagues, family and friends!

Rob Foster