Chasing Optimal Health Pt. 2 – Stress Management, Habits & Sleep

Welcome back everyone! To the quest for Optimal Health. In case you missed, take a quick moment to skim through Pt. 1…

Chasing Optimal Health Pt. 1

Nowadays, the grind is more real than ever. Many of us are working harder and longer to be successful. We’re also trying to fit time in for friends/family/loved ones, enjoy the occasional hobby and maybe sneak in an episode of our favorite show. Time is precious and scarce, so certain things fall by the wayside. Like our health. We neglect many aspects of our “Health” in favor of other things – some important and some not…

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Today we focus on two new areas … Stress Management & Habits and Sleep. Both just as important as anything else in our quest for Optimal Health.

Stress Management 

Paying bills. Studying for school. Meeting goals at work. Starting a business. Balancing your fitness, friends and “me” time. Raise your hands if any of these have caused you stress. Raise your hand if any of these caused you stress today. Stress is more often than not unavoidable because lets face it, life is hard sometimes. However, if being stressed has just become normal operating procedure, then taking steps to manage that is of the utmost importance.

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Stress wreaks havoc on the body. How so?

  • Nervous System – Your energy is immediately shifted to address the “threat.” It calls on the adrenal glands to release adrenaline and cortisol which elevate your blood pressure, increase your heart rate, change your digestive process and release excess glucose. No bueno!
  • Musculoskeletal System – Stress leads to tension in the body. Constant tension could trigger muscle aches, migraines or sluggishness
  • Respiratory System – Ever get that feeling of anxiety and labored breathing when your stressed? Yup! This causes panic attacks or hyperventilation in some people. Maybe even cold sweats.
  • Cardiovascular System – Constant acute stress can lead to inflammation of your arteries. Which in the long run could be a cause of a heart attack. Your heart can only withstand so much!
  • Gastrointestinal System – Stress eating come to mind? I may be in the boat of “eating my feelings.”

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Stress is a major betch huh? Sure is. And it will control us if we let it. We need to become more self aware of our stress and get better at managing it. Here’s some easy, simple practices to get your stress under control

Habits – The Good Kind 

On May 17, 2014 – Naval Admiral William H. McRaven gave a beyond powerful commencement speech at The University of Texas at Austin graduation. If you’ve never seen it before, I HIGHLY recommend you schedule 20 minutes in your day to listen to it…

His speech is so powerful that he presents the task of making your bed – a mundane task at best – as a habit leading to success. “Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that the little things in life matter. If you can’t do the little things right, you’ll never be able to do the big things right. And if by chance you have a miserable day, you’ll come home to a bed that is made…” Silly but it hits home doesn’t it? We get in the habit of overlooking small tasks and putting them aside. One completed task can lead to many completed tasks throughout the course of a day.

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Life beats us down sometimes and it has the ability to put us in a rut. Problems at work. Lacking motivation. Etc Etc Etc. Creating consistent habits can help alleviate, if not, totally help get you out of that rut.

Spending 10 minutes a day meditating and centering yourself. Finding 20 minutes a day to read a book. Turning the TV off and instead going out for a light walk. Once a habit is formed, it becomes a part of who you are and it has the power to help you evolve or keep you stagnant.

Habits can become a foundational piece to achieving your goals – both short term and long term. Create habits that facilitate you reaching your ultimate goals. As the saying goes…

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I would suggest that you do a real self-assessment of your day to day. Really focus on what your day is comprised of. Analyze the things that perhaps are diverting your attention from reaching your goals and lets work on replacing those with some really impactful habits!

Sleep … Again? 

Been there done that right? Lol. Eat . Whey . Love has covered the topic of Sleep ONCE or TWICE. However, it’s honestly that important that we could cover it 15 times and still not really go over all the intricacies surrounding sleep.

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We know that 8 hours a night is normally the recommended dosage. But lets be honest, there is just not enough time in the day. And sometimes, sleep needs to get the boot. That’s fine, it’s understandable. However, if you’re consistently getting 6, 5 or even 4 hours of sleep a night – we have a problem. Lack of substantial sleep increases your risk of numerous diseases such as obesity, heart disease/hypertension and diabetes (just to name a few). Most importantly, it can dramatically decrease your overall life expectancy.

And if you ask me personally, not getting enough sleep is actually a blatant act of selfishness. When we’re tired, we do not operate at optimal levels. Not only are you robbing yourself of your full operating capacity aka potential, but you’re presenting the world with the weakest version of you. Unacceptable in my eyes. Life is too short to not leave a lasting impression and you never know who might get your first impression on a given day

Be nice to your body! Let it recharge the metaphorical battery and reap the benefits.

And there you have it! Part 2 in the books. Be sure to stop by next week for the final chapter in this trilogy of chasing Optimal Health. Until next time hope you all have a super productive week filled with less stress, good habits and plenty of ZZZs.

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