How to Decrease Stress, Increase Happiness and Become The Best Version of Yourself
These days there seems to be a day or a week in the year for everything, national dog week, national fire safety week, national this and that week. However one we should all take note of and take action on is stress awareness week. Work, family, social and life in general is stressful and it accumulates. Your tolerance for stress is a finite amount, think of it like a bucket filling with water, it can hold a certain amount but after that it overflows and ruins your nice new carpets.
There are a few things you can do to reduce the amount of stress you have in your life and become healthier, happier and a better version of yourself.
Exercising regularly can have a significant impact on your mental health. Regular exercise can decrease your anxiety, increase cognitive function and decrease symptoms of depression (1). It can also help improve your self esteem and increase functional independence (2). The national recommendation for exercise is at least 150 minutes of aerobic activity per week and 2 strength training sessions per week. What should this look like though? The aerobic exercise should be moderate in intensity such as a brisk walk or jog for at least 30 minutes. The strength sessions should be 4-5 exercises, 2-3 sets each of 10-15 repetitions. If you know someone who needs to exercise more then bring them ALL WEEK during our bring a buddy week on 4th November. Don’t forget, if they sign up on your reference then you get a free months membership!
Cut back on the caffeine
Caffeine can be an absolute godsend in the morning, especially when it’s winter and you’re waking up in the cold and dark comprehending going to work. This can soon lead to a coffee then you get into the office, then one for your mid-morning break, then one at lunch, one in the afternoon and one on your commute back from work. Before you know it, you have had 4-6 coffees a day and your heart is taking the strain. Large amounts of caffeine in a day (>400mg) can increase anxiety, decrease overall mood, impact sleep and cause dependancy (3). You can switch your usual caffeine based drink for a decaf version (a good quality decaf drink will still taste great), alternatively you could go for a tea instead. The Terrace Bar here at Sandown offers Jasmine, Green and Peppermint tea and more for you to try! Don’t forget members get a 10% discount on hot drinks at the terrace bar so enjoy a hot drink with your buddy during the week of 4th November.
Get enough sleep
Sleep is the key to adapting from training, recovering from stress and keeping your brain healthy. Remember work+rest=success, if you’re not getting the rest part of the equation then you will never get the end result. Getting a good nights sleep on a regular basis can increase growth hormone activity, increase immune function, stimulates potential and restore the nervous system (4). You are probably saying to yourself “well I work full time and have 2 kids so I can’t ever get enough sleep” and whilst that is true, there are 6 steps you can put in place to ensure you get the best nights sleep possible. 1. Remove any light source and ensure your room is as dark as possible. 2. Have a quiet environment, turn off the T.V. and any music. 3. Have a routine, make a bed time and stick to it. 4. Avoid napping for long periods in the afternoon. 5. No technology before bed, turn off your phone. 6. Get a minimum of 7 hours (even if that means going to bed earlier).
Social interaction is a key factor to improving mental wellbeing and reducing stress. Instead of eating your lunch at your desk, go into the break room with your colleagues, join a casual sports team or even a weekend hiking group. Make sure you stay social each day and get to know new people. If you want to know the best way to be social, bring your mate to the gym here at Sandown for free during the WHOLE week commencing 4th November. Exercising is always better when you have someone with you.
- Zanuso, S., et al. (2012) The Effect of a Strength Training Programe on affect, mood, anxiety and strength performance in older individuals. Int. J. Sport. Psychol. 43. (53-66)
- Serra, R., et al. (2017) Resistance Training and It’s Impact on Psychological Health in Participants of Corporate Wellness Programs. International Journal of Sport Exercise and Health Research 1(1). (1-6)
- Nawrot, P., et al. (2003) Effects of Caffeine on Human Health. Food Additives and Contaminants 10(1). 1-30.
- Marshall, G., & Turner, A. (2016) The Importance of Sleep for Athletic Performance. Strength and Conditioning Journal. 38(1)