We all have times in our life where we feel it, stress so overwhelming we could just sit down and cry. Maybe it’s a woman thing with the hormones and all, but I like to think most people can relate. My purpose with this post is to get honest about my experience with stress and how it affects my body. The more I talk to friends, the more I realize that stress affects everyone differently.
Lately, my life has been just saturated with stressful situations. My job calls me to work nearly 90 hours a week for the majority of the month of September; October and November are almost as demanding for me. My time for the relationships, family, cooking, cleaning, laundry and sleep—let alone the gym—is very limited. There would be days where I wouldn’t bother with even eating dinner because I was just too tired, and knew I had another two weeks of this schedule.
On top of this, I’m experiencing a very big change in my personal life that has been very emotional. There are times in our lives where we go through change without warning, right now is one of those times for me.
So how do we deal with the commotion, unpredictability and overall hair-pulling STRESS of life, and what does it do to our bodies?
Here’s the deal, stress shows itself visibly on my body. I have broken out worse than a high school kid with raging hormones. I mean, nothing stresses out a stressed person more than pimples! On top of that I was late on my period, which happens to me when my body is overwhelmed. Not to mention, my PMS was worse than normal when I eventually did get it (sorry guys that may be TMI but I have a feeling a lot of women can relate). There was not enough dark chocolate in the world to rein me in last month. I have trouble eating, my appetite just plummets when I’m stressed, which affects my energy levels and my performance in the gym. I also lose sleep, because my mind can’t slow down at the end of the day in order to shut off and rest.
If you’re anything like me, you become stressed and want to go take it all out on the squat rack (or gym, but I just really love to squat). I did this, and it was satisfying to squat massive weight, but it didn’t fix my problems—I was just really sore. And I couldn’t maintain that strength when my body wasn’t getting the care it needed.
I’ve also medicated my stress with walks, lots of Red Velvet flavored tea (found at Whole Foods, it’s a cupcake without the guilt). I take the free time I have to do the things I enjoy, hiking, reading and pushing the occasional prowler! My workouts are based off of how I feel, and are just fun again!
Sometimes, it’s not illness or injury that force us to reassess our workouts and lifestyles. We need to be aware of the condition of our bodies and listen to it. It doesn’t make you weak to tone down things in your life; in fact it takes a lot of strength and sense. So listen to your body, if it’s on the brink of a complete breakdown, make a change.