Today’s podcast is all about stress. Whether it’s physical, mental or emotional, stress is not a bad thing per se. It helps us to be motivated and get things done. If we didn’t put any stress on our bodies or our minds, we wouldn’t grow stronger or improve. But it’s also easy to get too stressed, and sometimes that point of overwhelm can come on quite quickly. Too much stress can lead to injury, illness or fatigue. In this episode I cover how to manage stress so that it doesn’t become overwhelming or cause health problems.
In terms of physical goals, my tip is to be patient. We need to stress the body, but often we don’t need to do it as fast as we think we do. We’re sold this consumer nonsense that we can get a six-pack or whatever in five weeks. But whether you want to be able to go and run 10 miles or do a handstand, ramp up whatever you’re doing gradually and come from a place of patience. If you want to run a marathon for the first time, don’t rush, give yourself nine months and really plan out how you’re going to prepare for it. Yes, you could probably do it faster, but giving yourself extra time will allow you to run and recover well. People can also push themselves too hard with yoga. But yoga is a lifelong journey and there’s no point rushing to “accomplish” a fancy pose or something without taking the time to lay down all the building blocks.
There’s many things we can’t control or predict in our lives. For example, if we suddenly lose our job or a loved one gets sick, we can get hit hard by mental or emotional stress. I think the best thing we can do is to prepare for these big stressors is to learn how to manage the smaller crises. When I start to feel stressed, I know that I have to put everything in focus and be very decisive about how I’m spending my energy and time. I think about how I can practice self-care and look after the things that are important to me, like my family. Then, once I’ve made some progress towards recovery, I start to think, what can I do to not come to this state of stress again? To avoid the kind of stress that overwhelms us, we should be very clear on the things that take energy away and even clearer about the things that fill us up.