It seems like the most common response to, “Hi, How are you?” this time of year is, “BUSY!!!!!”.
So if you’re running around with like a chicken with it’s head cut off this holiday season, here’s my best advice on the pillars of health (in order of importance):
Not sleeping well or not getting enough sleep can turn us into the worst version of ourself. Enter: crankiness and irritability and hanger all the time. Beyond that, it can affect your insulin sensitivity, leptin levels and many systems within your body. During a time of high stress, sleep should get precedence over workouts. I think 7 hours should be the minimum, 6.5 if that’s all you possibly can manage.
In order to make this happens some weeks, you will inevitably have to say no to certain things. Cut yourself off, set boundaries and put time/effort into getting good sleep.
There are some stressors in life that we cannot get rid of or control. However, we do have the ability to choose how they effect us and to what extent. We have the ability to plan a massage, a yoga class or a walk outside.
You might not be able to get your stress all the way down to zero in certain times of life, but just try not to internalize all that stress. Find an outlet, whether it’s a workout class or a friend who’s a good listener.
Three things proven to automatically lower stress: walking in nature, chewing gum, meditating/deep breathing.
If you let it, nutrition can really be something that works for you and reduces stress in a crazy week. You’ll want to stick with foods that are familiar and you know won’t cause you digestive stress since stress can cause our digestion to get backed up. Make sure to include high fiber foods and keep your blood sugar steady by pairing carbs with a protein or fat source; this will help keep you from riding the energy roller coaster.
People tend to fall into one of two camps when they are stressed: stress eaters and stress non-eaters. If you’re a stress eater, pay attention to why you are eating and try to keep space between your meals versus eating snacks for comfort. If you’re a stress non-eater, set alarms on your phone to remind yourself to eat. Bring snacks/portable items so that you don’t have any excuses!
If you know a stressful week is coming, plan ahead with freezer meals or a meal prep Sunday. If you have a partner or roommate, enlists their help with preparing meals. If you don’t have time to prep and/or don’t have a partner to help, go to Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s and stock up on premade salads, precooked protein, fruit and nuts so that you have grab and go items at the ready.
If your week is insanely busy I would have a goal of 3 workouts maximum. A good workout doesn’t need to be longer than 45 minutes and during a stressful week you could get away with 30 minute workouts.
You certainly could take a week off from working out and that would be just fine. However, getting in at least a workout or two could be a nice stress relief and a way to get your mind off work.
Here’s what I would do:
Workout 1: 5 rounds of 8 Barbell Squats, Pull Ups and Hanging Leg Raises
Workout 2: 5 rounds of 8 Deadlifts, Push Ups and Walking Lunges
Workout 3: 5 rounds of 8 Hip Thrust, Overhead Press and Pallof Press
Or go to my instagram and do one of my at home workouts.
Are you super stressed right now? What is the biggest way you think it affects your health?