Whether you are working full time, training full time or trying to do both; stress and burnout can be potential consequences of our own mismanagement! A certain amount of stress is healthy but often we are moving towards high level stress without even realising. Stress is like anything else, it builds up over time – whether that’s through a series of highly stressful events or a slow build up of smaller events which over time build to a point where it doesn’t feel manageable anymore and we want to break down.
Stress is a very normal response and everybody experiences stress at some point in their life. It is however very individual, so what appears stressful to one person may not be stressful to another. Whatever the trigger, you’ll find that it is those situations/events which seem out of the blue and are outside of our control which cause the most stress to us.
Whilst we can acknowledge that in certain situations some stress is inevitable, we can build our own resilience and make a stress plan! You may notice that the days you feel particularly tired and maybe haven’t slept so well you wake up and already it’s a bad day….from there even the small things seem to be getting to you. Feeling irritated, stressed, agitated, the day just builds and by the end of the day your mood is low, you feel stressed, irritated and drained!
So how do we build our resilience to stress? Well firstly, making sure we sleep and are resting enough is a good place to start! Sleep is absolutely crucial for physical health, but also psychological wellbeing. By ensuring we get enough rest we know that we have prepared both body and mind for the day ahead! This being said it may be useful to re-evaluate your sleeping hours and quality and look to improve this aspect.
Secondly planning ahead! It sounds simple, but quite often we are stressed by the things which we haven’t prepared for, that feeling of constantly rushing around, or something taking us by surprise…if we plan our time, activities, tasks and goals in advance, we naturally have to prioritise our time and decide on the methods to achieve those targets. This structure and organisation gives us some of the control back and eliminates some of the potential stressors.
Finally there is one more area that is absolutely crucial. Often when we are feeling stressed whether through traumatic/stressful events, or just a really busy few weeks, one thing which we tend not to prioritise and fit in is…..ourselves! On our list of priorities during these stressful periods we place our own needs last! We rush to finish that last piece of work, or make sure we’ve kept everybody happy whilst neglecting ourselves, but when is it time to look after us?
Our own needs are essential, we have to listen to them and pay attention because it has so many positive effects! Fulfilling our needs, whether through just taking time out to have a hot bath, building in an hour to do that hobby you have, or making time to have a coffee with a friend! It allows us to enjoy ourselves, have some time out, relax a little and do what keeps us happy. This not only reduces stress but supports a more positive frame of reference so we’ll actually become more productive and efficient afterwards!
To leave you with a final thought – stress is a normal physical response but by looking after own needs through building in time for us, ensuring we sleep well and finally have good time management skills we can drastically reduce the stress in our lives and be a lot happier in our self!
Contact us at Mind In Sport for more information, support and guidance around stress and stress management.