Managing stress is one of the biggest challenges we confront on a day to day basis. Sometimes that stress is from huge problems such as the loss of a loved one, relationship issues, or job loss. Other times it is smaller sources of stress such as deadlines for school or work. However, one source of stress that really shouldn’t be a challenge for many of us has to do with nutrition. It seems it is nearly impossible to get on the internet without some source telling you what you should be eating, what you should not be eating, and why you should probably be following Zone, or Paleo, or Macros, or “My Grandma Did This And It Works” for your nutritional guidelines. Don’t let nutrition add to your list of stress, and if you’re feeling stressed at all, here are some tips and tricks to manage stress more effectively:
Tip Number 1: Get Enough Sleep
Have you ever noticed how irritable and cranky you are on days when you don’t sleep enough? It seems as if every challenge the day throws your way multiplies on itself and all of the sudden everything is overwhelming. Just waking up on days when you didn’t sleep well can be stressful. Don’t be behind the 8 Ball from the start of the day by making sure you get 7-9 hours per night. If you’re working out consistently, this is even more important as it aides in recovery. Speaking of working out…
Tip Number 2: Move Around Every Day
I get pretty stressed out too sometimes, but I have found that getting in a good workout is an effective way to manage stress in my case. Anything that makes me breathe hard, sweat a little bit, and feels productive works. Sometimes when I need to blow off some steam, it is just a quick jog, other times I need to lift heavy weight, and still other times I want to do the MetCon for the day. It just depends on what I’m feeling! That is the beauty of CrossFit, too. You don’t have to do any specific thing, just get up and move, and I guarantee you’ll feel better.
Tip Number 3: Meditate
Yes, I know, meditation feels like a mild waste of time. Why would I just sit here for 10-20 minutes when I can work on emails I have to check?!? Slow down. Meditation has been shown to actually improve your ability to focus, as well as improve work efficiency. Maybe the best thing you can do to meet that deadline is nothing at all? Take 10 minutes in the morning to read something which speaks deeply to you, find a quiet spot, and just get comfy and breathe for a bit. It truly can help set you into the right frame of mind.
Tip Number 4: Get Control of Your Fuel (aka Food)
I meant what I said at the beginning of this post. Food can be stressful. Which is absurd considering how much we all enjoy it! The problem comes when we are just guessing about what we are putting into our bodies. Is this a healthy choice? Is this going to help me reach my goals? If this question is bouncing around in your head at every meal, don’t you think this adds some unneeded stress to your life? I loved this article from Adidas on how to prepare for success in the kitchen. Take a few of their tips and apply them to your own life, and see how much better you feel and perform. Remember, food is fuel, and food can help manage stress in your life, too.