In times of high stress, when we are feeling overwhelmed or busy, it is easy to let the things that keep us happy, healthy and full of energy slip down the priority list. Yet, it is generally these small daily or weekly routines that help us cope over these periods.
How do we help ourselves to maintain these healthy habits in stressful times?
1. Make it Easy
Finding the motivation to exercise can be a challenge at the best of times, let alone when the weather is not great or you’re feeling overwhelmed by a stressful event.
We know that exercise is great for our health, helps us manage stress and anxiety and can even improve our sleeping patterns.
In stressful times it is usually the first thing to go. Let’s make it as easy as possible through the following steps:
James Clear, author of Atomic Habits, recommends focusing on the smallest possible step that will help you achieve your goal. With an activity such as exercise this could be setting the goal of getting your shoes on or getting out the door, rather than focusing on what you are going to do in your session, which can feel overwhelming. We all know that we usually feel much better once we have done exercise, it is the getting starting part that is generally difficult!
2. Practice Gratitude
When we are feeling stressed or uncertain, it is very easy to focus on all the things that are not going our way. So, what can we do to support a positive mindset through stressful periods? One of the things we can do is practice gratitude.
Research showed that practicing daily gratitude had the following affects:
Brene Brown, is a well-known researcher in leadership, wholehearted living and vulnerability. Throughout her research she identified that the most effective way to cultivate joy in our lives is to practice gratitude. She states that ‘the key word here is practice. It's not just about feeling grateful’, it's about developing an observable practice. So often we think that joy makes us grateful, when in reality it's gratitude that brings joy.’
Practicing gratitude doesn’t have to be a time-consuming task. It can be as simple as each morning, when you wake up or get to work writing three things from the last 24hours for which you are grateful.
3. Stay Connected
Over periods of high stress, exhaustion and/or overwhelm, it is common to feel like you want to withdraw from those who are closest to you.
However, there is a growing body of research around the importance of social connection to health, happiness and wellbeing.
4. Prioritise Sleep
Sleep can be such a difficult one to manage over a stressful period. So, how do we control the controllable and give ourselves the best chance of getting quality sleep.
Research shows that sleep helps our mood, helps us cope in stressful periods, can increase hormones that help us to feel full, which can help with maintaining healthy eating habits and boost our immune system.
Strategies to improve sleep:
Interesting Follow Up Reading
If you would like to read up on other healthy habits such as the neuroscience of gratitude and the power of connectedness, click on the following articles. These are some of our favourites.
Lessons from people who have lived the longest.
In 2015 a National Geographic expedition lead by Dan Buettner went to uncover the secret to living longer.
His team explored 5 regions of the world where people consistently lived to over 100 years of age.
They were astounded by their findings and Dan published a book - Blue Zones: Lessons from the World’s Longest Lived.
He discovered 9 common denominators he labelled Power 9©. Of these regions, one of the biggest being the relationships we have with one another and our community.
Here are the 9 Factors to living longer the he uncovered in his research:
His research has influenced policy makers, local businesses, schools and communities across the world.
He has help to shift their focus to creating environmental changes based on his work that have helped to reduce obesity, increase life expectancy and help people to make healthier life choices.
For more information check out Dan Beuttner's Website and his Book.
Blog - by Daniel Rothenberg of Scope Chiropractic.
I asked Dan, one of Just Knead It's allied health referral network to talk about why it is important to work with health professionals who understand your sport.
Recently I travelled to Cairns and Japan with the Aussie Swim Team. It reinforced for me the importance of working with an allied health team with sports specific knowledge.
There is a difference between a health professional who understands injury and one who understands how and why you get tight - based of what sport you play. Also someone who has an in-depth understanding of what parts of your technique could be contributing to what they see in treatment, as well as what ranges of motion you need to perform at your best is essential. Have a read! This blog is good.
Kat Murray - Founder - Just Knead It
As an athlete, dealing with pain and injury can be an exceptionally frustrating experience. Loss of fitness, loss of training and game time and the psychological stressors that may be associated could be minimized with a good, experienced health practitioner in your corner.
When seeking out professional treatments and opinions, a practitioner who has experience in your sport may be one of the best decisions you make.
Here are 5 reasons why working with a health professional that understands your sport is essential.
Game Changer Good!
This lemony, flavour packed beef brisket is sure to be a crowd pleaser! It also makes a mean taco filling!
Anyone else struggling to drag themselves out of bed during these chilly months. Here are some quick tips to help you stay motivated through winter!
1. ACCOUNTABILITY BUDDY!
Drag someone out with you! Everyone knows it much easier to make it out of bed when there is someone waiting for you!
2. KEEP YOUR CLOTHES NEXT TO YOUR BED!
Half the battle is avoiding getting cold in the process of getting out of bed! So keep that jumper in arms reach so you can throw it on and make it easier to get up! (Don't forget the old slippers too!)
3. USE THE TIMER ON THE HEATER!
I'll be honest! I'm not very good with technology BUT I have managed to work out how to use the timer on the heater. I set it for half an hour before I want to get up so it's nice and toasty!
4. TREAT YO SELF!
I don't know about you but I am FAR more motivated to exercise right after I've bought new active wear!! Go on! Treat yo self to a new jumper, a long sleeve or some tights! Get some new found motivation to head out into the cold sporting your new fancy active wear!!
5. REMEMBER YOUR WHY!
Exercise is my happy place and my stress relief. I try to focus on all the reason's why rolling back over in bed is a great idea! Rather than that it is cold and the sun isn't up yet!
6. THE POWER OF THE LUNCH SESH!
Recently I was struggling a little to get out of bed because it was dark and chilly! My friend suggested we do a night run! First of all this ticks the accountability buddy box. (WIN!) I'm very much a morning exercise person so I was a little apprehensive. It was much easier than I expected to change it up and go at night. Particularly when I was meeting up with someone. I have also been doing a power session on my lunch break, in the middle of the day when it's warm! Some times it's only 20mins but something is better than nothing!
7. SIGN UP!
Bridge to Brisbane is coming up! As is the Brisbane to GC ride and the Gold Coast Marathon! If you really want to go all out there is the Queenstown, NZ Running Festival in November. Find something to train for and create a plan. It's much easier to drag yourself out of bed in winter when you have a goal!
Good luck! Hopefully that gives you some ideas about how to drag yourself out of bed through these chilly months! Don't forget to rug up! We see alot of shoulder tightness at this time of year from people changing their posture to stay warm!! (Who would have thought!)
Founder - Just Knead It
As you know Just Knead It is all about being proactive with your health and wellbeing. This doesn’t just stop with your musculoskeletal health, but your body as a whole. We are constantly looking out for health practices that embody our values and focus on ensuring you live a full, happy and healthy life, long term.
Neuaudio is a company that represents what we believe in. Andrew, an audiologist and the founder of Neuaudio focuses on proactive hearing health and cognitive decline. He spoke to me recently about the heart breaking effects of cognitive decline and how research is showing that improving your hearing is the number one way to prevent it.
As a massage therapist I see the both sides of this terrible condition. I see family and friends affected by stress as they see their loved ones start to be impacted by cognitive decline. I hear about clients who start to withdraw from seeing family and friends because they are struggling with their hearing but don’t want anyone to know. Social isolation is extremely common amongst those with untreated hearing loss, this frequently leads to physical inactivity as people start to find it easier to stay home than to go out and interact.
Article by Shane Assmusen,
- One of our highly experienced remedial massage therapists.
Posture, as defined by Oxford Dictionary is ‘The Position in which someone holds their body when standing or sitting’
When it comes to the position of the body, there is an ‘ideal’ position. This position (or alignment) allows for a stacking of the skeletal structures, in a way that combats the forces of gravity and distributes the load evenly across your spine.
As a massage therapist and trainer, this is key. To have a posture that resembles “ideal” alignment, allowing for greater performance, and decreased risk of injury.
Below is a picture giving an idea of different postures from side view;
(One of my favourite places to run - The Old Botanic Gardens!)
Kat here! One of the main reasons why I started Just Knead It was to empower people to become the best version of themselves. Helping you to live a long, healthy and happy life is what gets me out of bed in the morning and keeps me pushing Just Knead it forward. (Sounds lame but it's true!)
One of the key goals to achieving this is to give you the skills and tools to help you fulfil your health and fitness goals. So I want to give you some really high value information that helps rocket launch your wellness journey.
So what is first? HABITS! Health is a lifestyle and it starts with creating healthy habits.
3 tips to get you started on healthier habits?
Plan the night before.
THEY ARE HUGE GOALS and good on you for setting them!
However, what's going to happen tomorrow morning when you get up and it's dark!!? Will rolling over, pulling up the covers and pressing snooze seem like a better idea? Plan what you are going to do the night before, when you are more motivated. How often do you procrastinate from getting out of bed because you're trying to work out what exercise you're going to do?! By the time you decide you could have been finished??
Change the goal post!
Often huge goals like losing 10kg or getting fit for summer can be quite overwhelming. Let's get back to the process. In the morning rather than thinking about the exercise, just focus on getting out of bed and putting your exercise gear on. Half the battle is just making that first decision to get out of bed. Think about how long it takes to actually make that decision? Seconds. So all you have to worry about is being uncomfortable for a few seconds. Once you're up it's much easier!
What is your focus?
They say it takes 21 days to break a habit. In the whole scheme of the world that is nothing. Even though when you're in the thick of it it seems like forever! Just take it day by day. Don't be too hard on yourself and aim for small shifts rather than big jumps. If we aim for 1% better each day over time we'll make huge gains!
You've got this! Would love to hear how you go!!
From Kat Murray
Founder - Just Knead It - Sports and Remedial Massage