It’s that time of year again…
We all love them! But for many of us – this can be a stressful time of year.
We have to travel or prepare for family coming to town, school is finishing, we have finals, buying gifts, baking, planning, prepping…the list goes on and on – and writing this out also makes me realize how much stress I actually have going on in my life!
With the holiday season approaching and that stress ball inside of you growing, how do you properly manage stress?
Well, I am here to tell you, there are many different ways to do this – all of which will not only benefit your personal wellness, which from my previous blog we know is very important, but also our physical health.
Stress management is crucial – not only in the busy times of year, but in our everyday lives. We all have stressors, both good and bad, but sometimes they have the potential to overwhelm us. During these moments, it may feel like our stress is out of our control – but here are some ways we can reign in that stress and take control during those moments when we feel truly overwhelmed.
Here’s what we can do:
Take a break from the stressor. It may seem difficult to get away from a big work project, a crying baby, growing credit card bill, or the holidays. But when you give yourself permission to step away from it, you let yourself have time to do something else, which can help you have a new perspective or practice techniques to feel less overwhelmed. It’s important to not avoid your stress (those bills have to be paid sometime), but even just 20-minutes to take care of yourself is helpful.
Exercise. The research keeps growing — exercise benefits your mind as well as your body. We keep hearing about the long-term benefits of a regular exercise routine. But even a 20-minute walk, run, swim, or dance session in the midst of a stressful time can give an immediate effect that can last for several hours.
Smile and laugh. Our brains are interconnected with our emotions and facial expressions. When people are stressed, they often hold a lot of the stress in their face. So laughing or smiling can help relieve some of that tension and improve the situation.
Get social support. Call a friend, send an email. When you share your concerns or feelings with another person, it does help relieve stress. But it’s important that the person who you talk to is someone you trust and you feel can understand your experiences and validate you. If your family is a stressor, for example, it may not alleviate your stress if you share your work woes with one of them.
Meditate. Meditation or yoga can help the mind and body relax and focus. Mindfulness can help people see new perspectives, develop self-compassion and forgiveness. When practicing a form of mindfulness, people can release emotions that may have been causing the body physical stress. Much like exercise, research has shown that even meditating briefly can reap immediate benefits.
Like anything this will take practice, as mentioned in my previous post – taking the time to figure out what calming down the stress looks like for you is something that is going to be completely unique to you.
That being said, taking the time to figure it out can truly help your stress management. If it takes you some time to figure out what this looks like for you, that’s okay – DON’T STRESS! It will be an ongoing process to form a great habit.
Aristotle said it best, “We are what we repeatedly do; excellence then, is not an act but a habit.”
Katy Hall, MS, CSCS
General Manager and Head Strength & Conditioning Coach
M.S., Exercise and Sports Science
Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist - NSCA
B.S., Kinesiology and Health Promotion
Certified Personal Trainer – NSCA
Katy Hall graduated from the University of Wyoming in 2013, with a Bachelor's Degree in Kinesiology and Health Promotion. Upon completing her undergraduate degree, she immediately began the Kinesiology graduate program at UW. She completed her Master's Degree in Exercise and Sport Science, with an emphasis in Exercise and Sport Psychology in December of 2016. Katy is also a Certified Personal Trainer through the National Strength and Conditioning Association and is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, CSCS. While attending UW, she competed for five years for the cowgirl's track and field team primarily as a 60–meter and 100–meter hurdler. During her time as a Cowgirl, she was able to achieve honors on the track and in the classroom as both a Mountain West All Conference team member and Mountain West Scholar Athlete. Katy is excited to be a part of Altitude Fitness because she has a profound passion for training and conditioning because of her own personal experiences and wants to share that with others. Her passion for athletics is what drives her to help others achieve their goals.