5 Stress Reduction Strategies

Uncategorized

Men Over 40
https://www.flickr.com/photos/lofink/

 

Training is a stress on the body and mind, and one which we need to recover from, and adapt to, in order to make gains. In order to even maintain actually, we must recover. There may be no adaptations, sure, but unless we recover, we will regress.

 

Now, when you add in the other stressors in our lives, particularly if you fall into the Men Over 40 category, recovery all of a sudden becomes more and more difficult. As discussed before, Men Over 40 have far more general stresses than their younger counterparts. I don’t care how much Millenials complain, there just aren’t as many pressures, generally speaking.

 

Therefore, this article isn’t about training, but it’s about recovery. It’s a guide on how to reduce unwanted stresses; those outside of the gym. If we manage to do this, we will enhance recovery, and assuming training is sufficient in terms of its’ stimulus, enhance the gains we make. Whether it be muscle, endurance, strength etc.

 

So, how do we go about reducing unwanted stresses?

 

Before I begin, this (as you may have expected) is going to take a long-term approach to reducing stress. Breathing deeply may help in the moment if you are having a panic attack, but if you’re constantly having to remind yourself to breathe deeply every moment for the rest of your damn life, you’ll never get anything done. These tips will be a little more useful in the long-term.

 

Here we go.

 

Number 1 – Get More Sleep

 

There is something about sleep that makes you more resilient to stress. You recover better for obvious reasons, but a specific stress will affect you far less if you have 8 hours of sleep the previous night. I think it’s to do with preventing an accumulation of stress becoming excessive, which happens all the bloody time with guys who don’t ever fully catch up on their sleep.

 

One thing just adds the the previous stress and before you know it you’re on the verge of a panic attack. Getting more sleep helps with this build-up. Setting a “turn off all electronics and prepare for bed immediately” alarm at 10:30 will help you to do this. For some reason we seem to love staying awake for as long as possible, as maybe we feel like we’re missing out on something by going to bed earlier.

 

But I can assure you that by staying awake longer, all you’re doing is ensuring you’re missing out on productivity and feeling good the next day.

 

Number 2 – Watch A Comedy

 

Do this in the evening once you’ve already accomplished all your work for the day and your mind is at least semi-relaxed. Laughing out loud has a very relaxing effect on your mind and body, and if you watch a comedy with someone else (wife or gf possibly) then this doubles.

 

It’s important that you do this when you are in a half-decent state already though. Make sure you’ve done what’s necessary for the day, and any stuff you can’t do today but need to do soon, is written down somewhere where you will see it tomorrow. This can be a diary, calendar, excel spreadsheet (my fave) etc.

 

Too many people (especially Men Over 40) are watching dramas. Whilst these may be interesting, they tend to depress your mood at least a little, whereas comedies tend to improve your mood.

 

Number 3 – Have A Time Management System

 

This is probably the most important one. There are many forms you can use, but I personally use excel, and have created my own calendar on there. But I realise I’m a weirdo when it comes to this and most people prefer to physically write stuff down (although I do both).

 

Having your own time management system gives you peace of mind, and a form of mental freedom. It’s trustworthy, it’s easily accessible, and you know exactly what to do and when. This kind of system will allow you to relax in the evenings, as you know it has everything taken care of.

 

I won’t go into too much detail in this post, but this system needs to include:

 

  • A calendar
  • Somewhere to schedule specific appointments (in terms of the day/date and specific time)
  • Somewhere to schedule non time-specific appointments/tasks (i.e any time on Tuesday)
  • Somewhere to write down general to-do items/tasks that can be done any time. This is basically a non-urgent to-do list
  • A tool for setting reminders/alerts

 

A to-do list isn’t good enough. You need to know what’s urgent, what isn’t, and of the urgent stuff, how urgent are we talking? These need to be on completely separate lists. Putting everything onto your calendar (which should only be reserved for time specific and day specific slots) will only stress you out – they need to be on a separate list somewhere.

 

Number 4 – Maximise Your Testosterone

 

This is particularly important for, you guessed it, Men Over 40. Again, younger men don’t have this issue (or at least I bloody hope not!). There is a strong inverse correlation between cortisol (the primary stress hormone) and testosterone, meaning the higher your stress levels, the lower your testosterone.

 

Making sure your testosterone is maximised by avoiding testosterone killing stuff will make you more resilient to stress. Guys who get overly stressed by:

 

  • Their boss
  • Their kids
  • Their neighbours
  • The news
  • Politics

 

Invariably almost always have lagging levels of testosterone and/or focus in their lives.

 

Number 5 – Don’t Cut Your Carbs Too Low

 

Yes, in order to lose fat, you’re going to need to lower your carbs somewhat, and for the vast majority of you reading this, all this requires is eliminating the shit from your diet. Don’t cut out the rice, oats, pasta or potatoes etc.

 

Yes, you will need to lower your carbs, a bit. But stop taking it too far. If you slash your carbs too low, your body raises its stress hormones. This is fantastic for temporary fat loss, yes temporary, but it’s terrible for recovery and generally living a happy life.

 

I’ve spoken before about how going low carb will make you a less happy person overall, in the long-run. This is one of the primary reasons why. You need carbs (the good ones). Without them, your stress levels go through the roof and you become more catabolic. Which is shit if you’re in the Men Over 40 category.

 

Yes, you may need slightly more protein and slightly less carbs than younger men, but you also have to make sure you don’t go too far with this, otherwise you’re shooting yourself in the foot!!

 

Again, think of that tightrope. You have a smaller margin for error than younger men, swinging both ways with this stuff. Too high carbs and you don’t get enough protein. Too low carbs and you become too catabolic. You’ve gotta get good at being Goldilocks.

 

Summary

 

To be fair, there are several more strategies you could utilise, but I don’t have time to delve into them today. Maybe another time.

 

Pay attention to your time management, sleep (set a go to bed alarm!) and don’t do anything extreme with carbs, and you will notice your stress levels decrease. This is crucial for recovery, and also living a happy life overall, which is (or should be) the goal of life.

 

If you enjoyed this article and are motivated to lose weight, feel free to check out my coaching services here. Thanks, I appreciate it.

Sharing is caring!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *