Having given weight gain versus weight loss some thought lately, I am perhaps a little late to the party in realising that generally I fail to cope on a personal level with stress. Professionally, I thrive off of it. Personally though, it is a precursor or trigger to weight gain.
Stress itself has long been linked to weight gain, and in my case, it is probably a key time when my inability to cope in a healthy way shows itself. When Matt and I lived at the flat, during times of stress (my stress) we would eat takeaway most nights and over eat. Obviously this is one of those cycles where sugar highs and lows exacerbate the stress.
As I stand on the edge of a potentially stressful run up to Christmas because of a project at work, I recognise that my go-to strategy of stuffing my face with whatever junk food I can find isn’t going to stack up this time.
Instead of reaching for the Dominos, I am going to try some new things in the hope of starting 2016 lighter than I currently stand.
One of the things I realised when I attended the yoga workshop in early October was how shallow my normal breathing is. During the workshop, after around half an hour of breathing deeply and fully, I was really surprised to find myself bordering on short of breath when that part of the workshop was over. Focusing on a solid and slow 5 in, 5 out, for as long as it takes for stress masquerading as cravings to subside will helpfully ground me better.
While I am not as avid a reader as my sister or mum, I do enjoy a good book. It is something I’ve stopped doing lately, but reading does help to distract me. I have started reading blogs again, which is nice, but some non-screen reading will also be good to help wind down.
- Go for a walk (or run, or something, just outside)
My average step count is around 5,000 per day, which isn’t that brilliant. But more importantly, a quick walk around the block in an evening after a mentally hard day will help me to sleep better – fresh air always helps.
- Do some colouring in or sewing
I am quite poor at leaving work at work. I always have been I think. When I’m stressed, my anxiety raises its head too, so doing something that means I need to concentrate on something else that is distinctly different should help. I have at least one cross stitch on the go, and several more to do, so running out of them shouldn’t be an issue.
- Eat well and drink
Of course, by “eat well” I don’t mean “eat indulgently” as I have done in the past. It will be about carrying on getting my vegetables in, and making sure I am meal planning. In eating properly, I’m hoping that my sugar highs and lows won’t fuel the stress even more.
Good in plan, and hopefully better in practice!
How do you manage your stress?