Dallas Area Personal Trainer and Boot Camp Tip of the week – Combating Stress During the Holiday Season

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Dec 06

Dallas Area  Personal Trainer and Boot Camp Tip of the Week – Combating Stress During the Holiday Season

Dallas Area  Personal Trainer and Boot Camp Tip of the Week – Combating Stress During the Holiday Season

We all experience stress from time to time.  However, when you add our everyday stress to the chaos the holiday season brings, it is no wonder our diets and exercise routines take a back burner… who has time?  Nevertheless, it is essential, for your own sanity and your overall health, to find some way to alleviate the stress brought on during this time of year.

If you recall from my “Tip of Week” in September on hormones, one group of hormones I mentioned are stress hormones (adrenaline and cortisol).  When we experience stress throughout the day, our bodies produce these hormones to prepare us for a “fight or flight” situation.  If we per chance face extreme danger, the physical response these hormones have produced, can prove to be very helpful.  Fortunately for most people, extreme danger does not occur on a daily basis.  Unfortunately, our bodies don’t know this and during periods of prolonged stress (Hello holiday season!) we are actually sabotaging our body’s natural balance and potentially causing serious health issues.

Your immune system is vulnerable during prolonged periods of stress.  Catching colds, getting the flu, gaining weight, sleepless nights and overall fatigue can be greatly impacted by a lack of personal stress management.  Without finding a little down time for yourself, your hard work to lose weight and get in shape can quickly backslide.  Obviously sticking to your workout routine and eating well is the most ideal situation, but realistically, many of us just don’t have the time to commit to it during the holiday season.

So, to help you manage your stress and get through the holiday season with your health still intact, I have compiled a short list of simple things you can easily incorporate into your daily routines.  Some take as little as one to five minutes but are sure to help you relax and slow the production of those elevated stress hormones.  

  • Listen to music – As you are cleaning, decorating or preparing meals for family and guest, turn on festive or any kind of music that will help distract your racing mind.  Or, just pick one song and close your eyes. Focus on the music.  Even if you are driving, take five minutes and pull over in a parking lot to enjoy some music. 
  • Enjoy nature – Sit outside and look around at your surroundings.  Focus on the sounds of the wind blowing through the bushes or trees.  Look at the fallen leaves or snow (if you are somewhere with snow!) and marvel at their beauty.  Watch the squirrels run around gathering food for the winter.  Take some deep breaths!  You might find yourself smiling and in no time feeling clear headed.
  • Lunch with friends – “Friends can provide resources that you may need when you’re in a bind, or a supportive ear that helps you feel accepted and understood. Studies show that having a sense of belonging can reduce your risk of depression. And having a friend who makes you laugh can also make you healthier and less stressed.”¹
  • Laugh – Laughing with friends is ideal but watching a comedy show or a funny movie can easily produce a few quick laughs as well.  “Research has shown health benefits of laughter ranging from strengthening the immune system to reducing food cravings to increasing one’s threshold for pain. There’s even an emerging therapeutic field known as humor therapy to help people heal more quickly, among other things. Humor also has several important stress relieving benefits.”¹
  • Pray – If you are a spiritual person, but haven’t prayed in some time, don’t under estimate the power of prayer to help alleviate stress.  While praying, focus on all the things you are grateful for and pray for others to find joy in their lives.  You may quickly feel like a heavy weight has been lifted from your shoulders.
  • Read – Find on a good book that can take you away from your current worries and transport you into another world – even 5 to 10 minutes a day will help!
  • Play a game – instead of watching TV at night as a means to unwind, play a game of cards or a board game with your spouse or family.  Play your Wii if you have one.  You’ll get the extra benefit of moving while you have fun.
  • Take a walk – it doesn’t have to be a long one.  Go around the block or around the building at your office.  A quick change of scenery can change your perspective on what’s stressing you out. 
  • Spend time with your pet – if you are a pet owner and you need a quick “pick-me-up,” sit with your pet and connect with them by petting and talking to them.  Most pets love the attention; they always listen and never talk back!

These are a few things that may help get your mind off of what’s stressing you and onto something more pleasant. If these don’t work for you, find something does – as long as it allows you to refocus your energy and mind for a short period of time.  Sometimes a short break is all you need to stop obsessing over problems and enable your body and mind to enter a relaxed state. Then, when you come back to the things that are stressful, they may not have the same powerful grip on you.

Written by:  Julie McCan, CPT    Julie is on the www.GetYouInShape.com team of personal trainers. Get You In Shape has is a Fitness Company in the Dallas, TX area. Coppell boot camps, Dallas boot camps, private training, 40 Day Challenge, weight loss, sports performance and nutrition are the main services of Get You In Shape

Get You In Shape’s programs include the Get You In Shape Boot Camp (Dallas and Coppell), 40 Day Challenge, sports specific training, weight loss programs, Corporate wellness plans, nutrition plans, core fitness training, strength training, toning and more. Clients include athletes (golf, basketball, tennis, football, track, baseball, baseball, volleyball, and softball) corporate executives, professionals, weekend warriors, cheerleaders, dancers, models, stay at home moms, and anyone looking for results.

Owner Brad Linder, has been featured in numerous newspapers and even as the fitness expert on the news 8 (ABC). He continues to use the gifts that he has been given to help serve the needs others have when it come to being healthy, losing weight, sports, toning up, and overall fitness.
More information about Get You In Shape at www.GetYouInShape.com

 

¹http://stress.about.com