My name is Dionne Weeks and I am one of the gym instructors at The Shrewsbury Club. Everyone has different reasons for going to the gym but one of them is stress management. There’s nothing like working out those niggles that life throws at you.
However, you could easily be forgiven for thinking that there’s not much you can do about stress: your job can’t be fun all the time, the kids are just being kids, and utility bills will always roll in. But stress is like most things in life - it’s not what happens, it’s how you deal with it that counts.
Managing stress is about taking charge of it before it takes charge of you and that’s probably best summed up as ‘developing resilience’.
A really good place to start is to identify the obvious sources of stress in your life: time pressure, poor health, bad boss, difficult family members, boring job, money worries, deadlines, general anxiety… the list can be endless. But why not write down the most powerful of your worries and begin to figure out ways of dealing with them?
The key to this is not necessarily solving the problems but developing the feeling of having some control over them. Once you have a semblance of control you can begin to manage stress with exercise, meditation, relaxation - whatever helps you most. From asking one of our gym instructors for an intensive circuits programme to attending our yoga classes, The Shrewsbury Club is here to help.
In some cases it may be possible to avoid some of the things that are causing stress in your life. That doesn’t mean running away from situations that need to be dealt with, but it might mean learning to say no, rather than just accepting everything that gets thrown at you.
Again, an awful lot of stress can be dealt with at a physical level and if you work out regularly, eat healthily and have some fun every now and again, it’s amazing how much more resilient you be. You don’t have to become an elite athlete; just doing something that flushes out the stress hormones and replaces them with the happy hormones (endorphins) will do the job J
Excess weight can be a significant stressor, both physically and mentally. If that’s the case for you then the answer is well within your control. Sensible diet and exercise will help you to lose body fat, gain energy and improve your self esteem.
Control the controllables
If someone cuts you up in traffic, there is little you can do about it but nevertheless road rage is at record levels. Why? Because some people’s buttons are very easily pushed. If you are one of those people, then I would definitely suggest a course of yoga or Pilates. Their relaxation techniques might just save your life.
Some people set very high standards for themselves, which can act as stressors in their own right. Set reasonable standards and learn to be okay with “good enough”.
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy
It also makes Jack a pretty stressed boy. Some people think that having fun and relaxing is giving up their responsibility to work themselves to death, when quite the opposite is true! Much of people’s best creative thinking is done away from work where the pressure is off and the brain is allowed to roam. This could be in the gym of course, or perhaps at the movies or on holiday - it really doesn’t matter. What does matter is that you take some downtime to refresh your mind and recharge your body. If you don’t do that, the almost inevitable consequence is burnout.
The bottom line
Exercise regularly, eat healthily, sleep well, laugh a little, don’t sweat the small stuff and avoid negative people, and you’ll find that life’s stressors are still there but much easier to deal with.
I hope that helps. If you have any questions and you're not a member of The Shrewsbury Club, why not give us a call and arrange a free VIP day pass?
We are a family-friendly health club in Shrewsbury that offers the county's leading tennis facilities, both indoors and out. Our state-of-the-art gym can help with weight management plus we offer over...