Last week was a whirlwind.
Since changing my diet almost two years ago I’ve been (for the most part) able to avoid getting sick. If I did catch a bug, I would usually feel crummy for half the day and already start feeling back to normal that evening.
That didn’t last though.
What started as an itch in my throat turned into a full blown virus last Monday. Cue the stuffy nose, scratchy throat, body aches and uncomfortable fever—ugh. My bed became my haven for three days straight.
I desperately wanted to starting feeling better so I could get back to checking things off my to-do list. Afterall I can’t just pull myself away from the real world for three days, right?
For the past few months I had let myself become completely overwhelmed. Between planning our upcoming wedding, changing things up in the business and still trying to have a social life I was drained.
My body decided enough was enough. My sudden illness was a big, loud and clear message that I had to start taking better care of myself.
It’s almost too easy to live in a constant state of stress. Face it, we’ve all been there. Whether you’re a college student struggling to find balance between knocking out all your school work and enjoying your college years or a working mom who’s coming undone at the seams over deadlines and taking care of the kids. Everyone at one point or another suffers from stress overload.
You may be like me and get a wakeup call that’s hard to ignore. But why not prevent the damage before it’s done?
If you feel stress creeping up here’s a few steps you can take to avoid burnout:
- Take deep breaths. It’s so simple and effective. Keri Glassman, RD points out in one of her lectures that the stress response can’t exist alongside the relaxation response. In other words when we fully relax (even if it’s just for a minute) our blood pressure lowers, our muscles relax and we actually feel some relief. For one minute focus on breathing in for 6 counts and out for 6 counts. Have more time? Go for 10 minutes!
- Schedule, schedule, schedule. If you’re anything like me a majority of your stress stems from having too much to do in too little time. The answer? Pencil in everything. Write in your calendar the time it takes for you to get ready in the morning, your workouts, errand running and even sleep! You’ll feel more at ease having a better picture of what your day looks like and what you need to accomplish.
- Don’t skimp on self-care. When life gets overwhelming we often cut out taking care of ourselves to make more time for our to-dos. In reality squeezing in a 15 minute work out or treating yourself to a manicure lets off steam and may be just the pick me up you’re looking for.