Let's Talk About Stress

Stress: Webster's defines it as "a state of mental or emotional strain or tension." We all feel stress in some way, shape or form at some point in our lives. But when we feel it in excess and can't shake its crushing burden, it can have some pretty serious side effects on our overall well-being. This past January, I had an anxiety attack hours after I stepped off the plane in Maui. Certainly this was not happening to me in one of the most relaxing places on earth!? I told no one. Not my close friends I was with. Not my husband. What was I afraid of? Was I embarrassed? Ashamed for some reason? I don't know. I played it off as dehydration or exhaustion from travelling and went about my vacation. Things were fine after it passed, but this hadn't happened to me in years! I love my life: I have a beautiful family, the best friends and husband I could ever imagine and a career in fitness that brings me great joy. So what did I have to be stressed about? But it was happening, and it can manifest itself in many different ways.

When I feel stress, it is a full-body experience. I feel emotionally and physically exhausted (sometimes for days!), pulled in many different directions, and like I can't perform well in one area of my life. Even when sticking with a great diet and exercise regimen, my skin looks bad and I hold on to weight. My daily workout routine helps, but doesn't permanently "fix" the problem. Now I am not writing this to complain; I know millions of people deal with real life-and-death battles every single day. But when I'm in the middle of a "stress rut", yeah, it is the most difficult and important thing to me! I want myself and others not to feel ashamed of dealing with these patterns, but in the coming weeks to find at least ONE healthful way to cope with their stress that makes life a little easier and their physical and mental well-being a little healthier.

In the coming weeks, I will be writing a series of posts about ways to cope with stress and anxiety, largely borne from my own recent battle with stress. Certainly, studies have shown that exercise can play an important role in controlling stress and anxiety, but ultimately, it's a coping method instead of a permanent resolution. It doesn't get to the root of the problem. So I thought, wow, am I lucky to have so many accomplished friends in their particular fields! I need to take advantage of their expertise and share some new ideas with my readers, because no one is immune from stress. I'll be talking about yoga and relaxation methods, and speaking with meditation gurus. I'll discuss food, diet, nutrition, and exercise with experts in different fields. And hopefully in the end, we'll discover some new ways to cope with anxiety, stress and depression so we can get a little closer to achieving the happiness we deserve, become more mindful, and live in the moment. I feel it is my duty as a trainer, mother, wife and source of inspiration to my clients and readers to shed some light on this important subject, and right now, that means getting a little personal!

So, if any of this sounds familiar to you, please join me this summer so we can ALL feel better: mind, body, and soul!