Posted on 08/04/2021 in Rhythmic
Stress awareness month is held every April to raise awareness about both the causes and cures for our modern stress epidemic.
Stress is a significant factor in mental health problems including anxiety and depression. It is also linked to physical health problems like heart disease, problems with our immune system, insomnia and digestive problems. Individually we need to understand what is causing us personal stress and learn what steps we can take to reduce it for ourselves and those around us.
For some of you, the return to the gym in the next few weeks may make you feel slightly anxious and nervous as you return to coaching or training after the break. Katie Richards shares her thoughts during our return to training sports psychology webinar which brings together her own experience as a gymnast and in sports psychology support which you can watch on our YouTube channel
When your body is in stress, your autonomic nervous system is fired up which overrides all the other electrical nerves in your body in order to turn on fight or flight mode and it releases cortisol which reduces the ability to think clearly and can affect how you function.
A key thing to do to combat stress is to be aware of your stress triggers or stimulus and psychologically and consciously assign a different meaning to it. There are three podcasts within our mental fitness that can all support how you manage and react to stress.
Our Mental Fitness resource also covers some of these topics around stress.
You can also find additional resources from SAMH stress support.
Read > Understanding Stress
Even in 60 seconds, SAMH suggest how you can be less stressed:
Take a long, deep breath in, feel your lungs expand like a balloon, hold for a moment, and then release slowly out through your mouth.
Laughing increases your blood flow, boosts your ability to fight illness, and it feels really good.
Jumping jacks, squats and burpees can all be done quickly. Moving relaxes the muscles, uses up adrenaline and releases chemicals that help depression.
Smiling releases chemicals that lower your blood pressure and increase relaxation.
Listening to music can improve mood, reduce depression and anxiety, and boost self esteem. And singing has been found to reduce levels of stress hormones.
Stress can make us tense. When we stretch our muscles relax, blood flow increases and endorphins are released.
Feeling like we have too much can increase stress hormones and overload our sense. Try donating things you don’t need to charity.
Reflect on the things you’re grateful for – people who do this regularly are less anxious, more engaged and have more fulfilling relationships.
Relaxing your mouth and shrugging your shoulders sends a message to your brain to turn off stress hormones.
Even if you’re not close to nature, just looking at photos of nature can reduce stress levels and improve self-esteem.
This framework from UK coaching highlights some useful questions to consider as you support your coaches returning to the gym.