In the Func Med world we tend to go to war on stress. Stress is bad! No stress. Manage your stress. This mindset can leave people not wanting to be stressed, which can be very not helpful.
Ehhhmygawd I’m stressed. I have to not be stressed. Ahhhhhhh.
Stress is inevitable.
We will all encounter stressful situations.
We get in even more trouble when we want those stressful situations to not be stressful.
Don’t do that.
Be thankful for the stress.
Be thankful for the challenge.
And most of all choose your stressors wisely.
Then during these times when you walk through fire make sure that the fundamentals are dialed in.
Keep sleep as consistent as possible. Set barriers. Put away your phone and have tools like HeartMath, Buddify, or supplements in your back pocket if your mind won’t shut down.
Get outside, see the sun, move your body and listen to it when it comes to loading. Maybe it will be good for you to add in some training stress to give your mind a break and focus on the tangible nature of picking up iron, maybe it won’t. Listen and if you can’t hear get some help from an experienced professional.
Support your workload with proper nutrition. If your stressor is training for a strongman competition you are going to need to fuel accordingly. If your stressor is sitting on a chair and making deals or pounding numbers into a screen you need to fuel accordingly, but your mind and body may want to fuel like it’s training for a strongman. It’s not. Mindfulness and proper planning is the key here.
And finally get out! The biggest problem I see is people get addicted to the stress cycle, then the stressful 8 hour days turn into 70-hour-a-week-decades and the only thing they have left is the stress.
They are defined by it. “This is what I do.” This is even dangerous if you are following your passion as your mind can come up with even more excuses for why you should stay on the wheel of emails and urgent yet unimportant tasks.
You have to have an exit strategy every day, every month, and long term. You have to have an end to your work day. You have to have times each day to just be. You have to have times to be creative each week and laugh. You have to have a plan on what this stressor looks like long term. Is it bringing you closer to where you want to be or is it an endless cycle benefitting other humans you don’t even know?
“The worst form of stress is an absence of stress.”
-Eric Greitens Navy SEAL