Should You Exercise When You're Stressed Out?
Updated: Jul 16
Last week was a WEEK.
- One of my clients died.
- I woke up the next day unable to move my neck without major pain.
- We hosted a small Super Bowl gathering so prep, cooking, cleaning, drinking... ahem.
- I launched a corporate wellness beta test for 30 people in Los Angeles & Chicago.
- On top of regular work.
- Plus POLITICS (cue internal scream)
I suddenly felt super overwhelmed, over-extended, drained. Weepy. Fragile.
It's so weird to me that in times like this, I need self-care habits more than ever but it's also harder to think straight to do those things I know will help. Or even remember them!
Debilitating Stress is E.V.I.L.
It's the same for nutrition and exercise. When I'm feeling especially blue, I'm more likely to eat foods that don't serve me in the end because I'm feeling sorry for myself or I think I deserve it or I'm in "fuck it" mode.
(Sorry for the language.)
When I'm stressed, an appropriate workout will usually pull me out of my funk (exercise can be a brilliant stress-buster) but it also feels like "one more stupid thing I have to do" so it's easy to justify skipping it. And beating myself up in a workout only drains me more.
I dare say that thanks to politics and the never-ending news cycle, on top of the usual stressors, everyone is revving at a much higher stress level than usual.
And no matter who you support and what you believe, the current climate is taking a toll on your health. How can it not?
"I hate people."
I knew I had to pull back and get a grip when I found myself thinking, I hate people.
Because here's the thing - I don't hate people. My cup was overflowing. That’s all.
So I tapped out.
I stopped looking and reading and listening for a bit.
I went hiking and turned off my phone (save for a few brilliant photo opps).
I took a nap.
Self-care is always important, but especially now.
Here are some of the things I do when I need to de-stress.
Oh, but wait. First, let's talk about the things we think will help but which usually, instead, make it worse:
- PUNISHING WORKOUTS
- FORGING AHEAD, when all signs are pointing to needing a break
- SAYING YES TO MORE THINGS, unless it's a weeklong retreat in the treetops of Bali (ha)
- RECKLESS BEHAVIOR or CHOICES
Some of those things might make you feel better temporarily, but they have an overall net addition to your stress.