Stress has an impact on our nutrition and fitness goals. And everything else in our lives!
Finding the ‘sweet spot’ can be a challenge, but when you do…you can punch it on all cylinders.
As this graph from Precision Nutrition shows…our performance is at a peak when we find that appropriate level of stress.
This peak will be different for each of us.
When we don’t have enough stress in our life (is that possible!?), we are not reaching our potential.
Words associated with this are lethargic, bored, unfocused and directionless.
Then on the other end of the spectrum we have too much stress in our life. This is when it is detrimental to our health and well being.
Words associated with this are anxious, depressed, panicked or even numb.
Neither are very positive places to be for very long.
When we can identify our stress sweet spot we become energized and engaged. We grow and learn. And we are actively moving toward our goals.
Sounds pretty awesome, right?
So how do we find the level of stress where we are reaching potential, but not yet crashing and burning?
First, let’s gain some inspiration and energy by focusing on the goals and tasks that are essential…right now.
This will be an iterative process as events and activities evolve in your life.
Steps to take:
- Set SMARTER goals (we have an entire lesson on this topic if you’re interested)
- Start small with a single action each day; build consistency
- Track your progress by capturing behaviors, processes and outcomes
- Partner with a coach or mentor for accountability
Then you’ll want to find activities that will help with rest and recovery.
Here are options to consider (there are many others that will work as well):
- Actively chase relaxation with one or more of these activities:
- Yoga or stretching exercises
- Hot tub or sauna
- Green tea
- Deep breathing
- Note: Anything with a screen is excluded from this list because it is a stimulant.
- Meditation – there are a number of benefits for both your brain and your body.
- Enjoy the outside – being in nature reduces stress hormones and improves mood. And it can be fun!
- Balance your exercise routine – mix in strength, cardio, conditioning and recovery activities. Dial them up when stress is low, but make sure you dial down when stress is high.
- Show YOURSELF some compassion – we are all human. Know and honor your limits. Ask for help when it’s needed. Unplug at least once a week.
Finding clarity with all of your competing tasks and establishing effective ways to manage your stress is a healthy way to work toward your stress ‘sweet spot’.
You may need to experiment with different activities to find what works for you and what provides the best rest and recovery.
That’s part of the process…learning more about yourself and what you need to be successful.
We are here to help. Please reach out to us if your stress level is not yet in your sweet spot and you would like to get there.