Ah I can feel it coming on. Yep, a cold sore right on my upper lip. It’s the tell tell sign for me that I’m under a lot of stress. Over the last two weeks we’ve been without a vehicle in the shop, cancelled a trip, started a home renovation, started a coaching business, taken a business live on Amazon and oh yeah, Christmas is coming isn’t it?
Stress is everywhere you look. Everybody has it. It’s actually good for you to have some stress in your life. Stress can help you meet daily challenges and motivates you to reach your goals. In fact, stress can help you accomplish tasks more efficiently. It can even boost memory.
Stress is key to survival, but too much can also be detrimental. It can weaken the immune system and cause high blood pressure, fatigue, depression, anxiety and even heart disease.
A few years ago I was organizing the Rollfast Gran Fondo. It was getting close to the event and I wasn’t sleeping much and had more than I could really handle on my plate. On top of that, I was training hard for a race that was the month following the Fondo. During the Fondo (yes, I rode in it in addition to promoting it), I was riding along feeling ok and my chest began to flutter. I looked at my Garmin and my HR was out of rhythm at 240bpm. I showed it to one of my teammates Grant and told him if I crashed I was probably having a heart attack. I felt fine, so I thought, but my body was telling me this is too much.
After discussing the situation with my coach we made a plan to control the stress in my life that we could. We KNEW the Fondo time was a time of stress that was coming each year (much like the holidays). We couldn’t control that. But we COULD take my training down a notch or two and not cause so much physical stress on my body.
The next year, we adjusted not only my training, but we had one of the best volunteer groups ever. They made my job much easier and I could focus on the big picture things that needed my guidance. No more heart flutter.
Signs of too much stress
- Inability to concentrate or complete tasks
- Get sick more often with colds
- Body aches
- Other illnesses like autoimmune diseases flare up
- Trouble falling sleeping or staying awake
- Changes in appetite
- More angry or anxious than usual
So the question is how can you control the stress in your life? You need to anticipate when things are going to get stressful and adjust what you have the ability to modify during those times. For example:
- Try to take a nap when you have a window of time in your day
- Leave work at work (or in your home office these days) after 5pm
- Make time to do NOTHING
- Go for a walk, I have some of my best ideas on walks with Chris and she usually makes them even better
- Ease back on your workouts
- Try to tighten up your diet, sugars and alcohol only wear you down more
- Get a coffee with friends – don’t have any? Text me, I’ll meet anybody for a coffee!