In today’s guest post, Susan DiGiaimo, a certified Health Coach who also teaches Boot Camp and kids fitness programs, shares some of her experience around dealing with stress.
STRESS: This too shall pass
By Susan DiGiaimo
Stress. It creeps up on you like a daddy-long-legs spider. Stress can scare you as well because symptoms of stress can mimic more serious ailments like a heart attack. A couple of these sneaky symptoms are pain in your shoulder blades, elevated heart rate, and high blood pressure. We all experience it one way or another. How to handle it is the differentiator.
You start burning the candle at both ends, skipping sleep, and serious down time. You have constant deadlines, either self-inflicted or given to you by your spouse, friends, boss, or your family. Watch out, Honey, because I am going to be irritable, miserable, and angry all the time. Great. Everything and everyone suffers when you have stress. We feel doomed and know that our performance will not meet rising expectations.
Patience is a virtue they say. I haven’t had much of it in the last six months as I am trying to accomplish everything all at once. That will definitely kill you. I constantly tell myself to write down my goals and make lists. I make sure these lists are in direct view either in the kitchen, near my bed, in the bathroom, or wherever else I am often, oh right, my car. If I can just knock off one item on that list I have accomplished something. Baby steps get you to your bigger goals. If you are always looking at the big picture you will never get there. Yes, it’s good to envision it but just like a kid learning how to swim, he or she is not going to jump into the deep end right away. They will slowly build up their confidence and swimming skills prior to that.
Taking care of your body and mind should be top priority but for most of us it’s number five or six on our list of to-dos. My schedule makes quite the demands on my body. I have an extreme activity level and this too can cause serious stress not only emotionally, but physically. I try to take my necessary days of rest, but seriously rest to me is Stand Up Paddling. It releases my mind and rejuvenates my body. You have to do what works for you. If you are not getting enough sleep or if you are overtraining, this has a double negative effect. Welcome to my world. Certainly if I want to live longer I need to figure out how to beat stress. I don’t have an anti-stress strategy in place, do you? Who does? I know my health depends upon it. I need to figure something out.
Certain supplements can help you manage and/or minimize stress. You need to help your brain produce more GABA, an inhibitory neurotransmitter, which helps to wind down your nervous system. Magnesium, L-Theanine, Lemon Balm, and B vitamins all help support GABA production. You can also help out your Adrenal glands by taking Vitamin C, Ashwagandha, Holy Basil (not sure how “Holy” this basil is), and Phosphatidylserine. These all support healthy Adrenal activity. I would just choose one of these and see how it works. Most of the time we just need to get our brain to calm down so we can see and do things more clearly and without a great deal of stress.
Most stress I believe is self-inflicted. We put so much pressure on our ourselves. It handles us more than we handle it. Being a Type A personality doesn’t help either. Most people would say that I am an expert at multi-tasking and able to do it all in the blink of an eye. I really try to stay positive and for the most part I do. ”Three steps forward, four back.” As long as you keep moving forward that’s all that matters. I know I can manage my stress and yelling in Boot Camp at 5AM certainly lessens the blow. Stress is usually the result of negative thoughts. Our mind can play sick tricks on us if we want it to. Things can get so warped and blown out of proportion that it seems way more stressful than it actually is. In reality, nothing is worth having a heart attack over.
Summer is approaching and I need to start thinking about taking a vacation. Just thinking about it is stressing me out. ”I don’t have time.” ”I have a company to run.” (one that is just getting off the ground) ”Who’s going to cover for me?” Maybe I should see a shrink or maybe I should just drink more. Those things may help but they definitely do not resolve the problem. I need to make my vacation a priority because everyone needs down time and I also need to spend time with my family.
You can’t go 100 miles per hour 24 hours a day. That will definitely wear you down and may even send you to your grave. Sometimes I feel like digging one for myself just in case. Who am I kidding? I have dealt with stress in the past and know that I can overcome it. As an entrepreneur, you learn to fail to succeed. If you told this to a kid they would think you were crazy, as my kids do. You have to make mistakes in order to succeed. That is how we learn and that is how we get better. So the next time you are feeling stressed, sit down, take a look around you, take a deep breath in, and know that this too shall pass.
About the Author
First and foremost I am a Mother of 3 children. I have been teaching a 5AM Boot Camp class for 10 years now and decided to pursue my Health Coach Certification. I am the CEO & Founder of FitZinga – Get Your Zing On! We provide engaging tools and solutions to individuals, fitness centers, and companies to keep you on track to reach your fitness goals. FitForensics is my blog which details my daily fitness habits from nutrition to workouts to how to deal with stress. http://www.fitzinga.com