Fitness Question of the Month
Simon Goswell is the owner and Head Coach of Full Circle Fitness in Dry Drayton, and a hands-on Dad to two children and a dog. Here he talks about the effects of stress on our bodies, and explains his own coping mechanisms. . .
STREEESSSS (and exercise). . .Part 1
Do you ever feel yourself getting completely overwhelmed with how much there is to ‘do’?
It seems that stress is featuring more and more in our society and my experience as a coach is that humans can be RUBBISH at dealing with it.
Most of us know that long-term stress isn’t good for us but what we may not realise is that stress has far more of an impact on our health and wellbeing than just feeling like you have a wasp’s nest between your ears.
When stress peaks, we release certain hormones such as Cortisol and Adrenaline. This is all fine and normal in the short term, but when stress is elevated for long periods of time, it is not unusual to experience a cocktail of unwanted side effects such as anxiety, weight gain, fatigue, brain fog, loss of libido or appetite and stomach problems.
Stress also effects our judgement and ability to see things for what they are. This makes it feel like taking time out to de-stress, exercise and re-evaluate would be terminal!
We then plough more time into the very thing that is causing the stress, more often than not work, money or relationships. But more time isn’t the same as more EFFECTIVE time.
No-one is immune to stress. Even as a health and fitness coach it’s something I experience on a regular basis. Running a demanding business and being a hands-on dad often means that for me, it is impossible to get any work-related tasks started before 8am and after 2:30pm. This often spikes my stress levels. Recently I have caught myself holding my breath which I tend to do when I am very stressed. This is a trigger point for me to change my approach to work and life. I recently found myself doing the whole panic thing, blindly firing out emails and again, holding my breath.
Counter intuitive as it sounds, in this situation, for me the best way to deal with it is to shut the laptop. If it’s warm I hit the garden for 20 minutes, lay down and listen to something relaxing (headspace in this case). After taking some time out, the feeling that I have a mountain to climb is still there, but it feels much smaller and like halfway up, there might be a nice pub.
Here’s why. . .
-That 20 minutes has given me perspective. It’s just work. One day we will all be dead, and who will care if some of the tasks I have set myself slip to the next week? (Or the next for that matter?).
-I can see why the current method isn’t working. I’m flitting between work tasks like a kid in a toy shop trying to choose a Lego set.
Time to calm down!
-My kids don’t get in the way of work. I chose to run my business the way I do so I can be with them. The problem comes when I am trying to work when they are around.
I have reminded myself to split work time and dad time.
-I can feel myself migrating away from training today ‘because I have too much to do’. My health and fitness is equally (if not more) important than work. I NEVER regret dropping work to train, but I always feel worse when I drop exercise for work.
For me, taking a pragmatic approach to stress helps.
Lists are so useful, but if I’m not careful, I just create them with little direction. Stepping back and looking at the bigger picture helps to make the list relevant.
Do you have any good tips for stress? Or do you let it build?
Keen to hear your thoughts!
Full Circle Fitness is at Unit 19, Dry Drayton Industries, Scotland Road, Dry Drayton, CB23 8AT. Find out more at full-circle-fitness.co.uk