Stress management strategies

Over the years of being stressed, ehm I mean over the years I’ve lived in this world, I’ve come to learn a few stress management strategies. If you take the time to really read through and understand them you might find one or two that is just what you need, at this moment in time.

1. Focus on the current task

Or I could say “Stay present”, but staying present is often one of those things you say but then what does it Actually mean? If you instead think about focusing on the current task that automatically means you’re not thinking of anything else and therefore you’re in the present. Use all your senses to focus on your current task; listen, smell, touch, see and taste. All that is required for you to do a good job on your current task!

2. Stop acting on your emotions

I read this book by Pema Chödrön called “Living beautifully: with uncertainty and change” and she was talking about that when something happens and we get an emotion inside of us, that will actually go away in about 90 seconds unless we act on it. So if you act on the emotion to the incident that happened your brain will sustain it as a feeling, for what might be a long time to come. Ex. If you have a chat to your boss who tells you there will have to be people made redundant at work due to financial issues in the near future and the emotion of fear arises in your body, then continuing thinking and acting on (entertaining) this emotion will make you feel worried. In that situation I would stop and just feel the emotion until it has passed. Following that; instead of repeating the incident and feeling worried you can think about what to do to prevent it from happening.

3. Breathe

Breathing through your nose will help the nervous system to calm down more than when you breathe through the mouth. The box breathing has helped me many times; Breath in, hold, breath out and hold again for the same amount of time. Ex. Breathe in for 3 seconds, hold it for 3 seconds, breathe out for 3 seconds and then hold it again for 3 seconds. Take 2-5 minutes to do this a couple of times throughout the day and you will feel a difference instantly.

4. Put things into perspective

Whenever you’re facing a situation that makes you stressed/nervous/anxious ask yourself; What’s the worst thing that can happen? Is this a life-threatening situation? If it won’t kill you in one way or another, it is probably not something you need or want to stress about. Things like speaking in front of people is not a life-threatening situation (even though most of the people probably would feel like it going into it! A few nerves could of course be good in this situation but maybe not feeling totally stressed out). Nor is being late to a meeting or a restaurant booking, you simply apologize and plan better next time. 

5. Act out of your good heart

Get comfortable with that not everyone in this world will take the things you say the right way. I experienced this last year and wow what a good lesson I learnt. I could sense the energy from a friend of mine and she was not in a good mood and I instantly started thinking of things I said and did, as if it was something that I had done. Without talking about it we went on with our day and after repeating in my head; what did I do to make her upset, I realized that whatever it might’ve been, it came from my heart. I never intend to hurt anyone with my words or acts and this time was not an exception so I changed my mindset and got over it. This realization was a great relief and step in the right direction for me. I now feel comfortable with my best efforts. Later on I found out that she was just having a bad day and it had nothing to do with me.

The thing is that if you are doing your very best to be a good person and all your actions comes from the heart then if those actions are not taken the right way at least you’ve done what you can. I don’t think you should be ashamed of your best efforts, rather think that you learn for next time.

These are a few strategies I’ve learnt the last few years and they’ve become staples in my stress management cup board!

What strategies do you have?

Peace

Easiest sourdough recipe

If you've done sourdough with a sourdough starter before this recipe is probably not for you! BUT if you're keen to get into the sourdough making OR if you've done breads but want to try something different TRY THIS easy sourdough recipe!

500g White premium bakers flour ​

1 tsp bakers yeast (dried yeast)

2 tsp Himalayan salt (pink salt)

Any herbs or fruit you want in it. My favourites are; ​Rosemary & salt or Goji & currants

​340ml filtered water

Mix all the dried ingredients + what ever extras you'd like (fruit or herbs) till it's well combined! ​Then pour in the water and mix at the same time. Mix for as long as you can but when it gets hard you will need to get your fingers dirty! A tip here is to only use one hand and knead the dough by pinching it then take a new grip, pinch then take a new grip, repeat, so that your hand doesn't get too "wet" from the dough and get stuck. You want to knead it enough for it to become a ball of dough then put glad wrap on top and let it rest. 

This is what I do to make it airy: I leave it on the counter until it's risen to about double the size then I push it down with my fingers and fold it so it looks similar to when I first made it. I repeat this 1-2 times/day for 2-3 days, depending on how hot the weather is (Hot weather=less days resting). When you can't wait anymore you make it into a loaf-like shape (don't put it into a tray) and put it on baking paper. Let it rest again for 30min - 2h, it might rise a bit more. 

Bake it: Put the oven on as hot as it gets. Make a cut at the top of the bread lengthways or however you fancy! When hot; place the the bread in the oven, lower rather than too high because it'll rise again, for 25min. Sometimes I put in a little jar with water in the bottom so it gets more moisture, try both ways and see what you prefer. 

I get all my ingredients from my local co-op Alfalfa House in Enmore, Sydney. It's a non profit shop with fresh local produce and organic all you can think of; powders, herbs, dried fruit, teas, oats, beans, lentils, GF pastas and so much more. 

Enjoy 🙂

Self-talk for successful training

What’s your method of encouragement?

Are you one of those people that tell yourself you’re weak during training to get angry?

Or are you trying to be cheerful by saying “Common just one more!”

And during the set do you say: “Nah, I couldn’t do one more now”

Or do you tell yourself “Let’s do one more”.

I’m not here to say what’s right and wrong. I know it can be quite individual when it comes to the method of getting yourself “amped up”. I would like to share with your what I do. At least what I’m trying very hard to do.

First of all I put myself in a situation where I’m more likely to succeed. For my clients and me I use the first week of the program to establish a good starting point.

So what’s a good starting point?

I look to do the most amount of weight with the minimum repetitions required, with correct tempo and avoid going to failure. I’m very strict with tempo because I know it’ll build strength so it’s smart to stay realistic and honest from the beginning by not going to failure on tempo or form.

Let us draw an example from my own program:

Eccentric chin-ups, 3 sets, 6-8reps, tempo: 4303 (4 sec down, 3 sec at top and 3 sec at bottom before going into a passive hang)

I started with 3x6 reps, correct tempo and without going to absolute failure (but not too far off!). In week 2 I did 2x7reps and 1x6reps, again with all variables correct. Today, week 3, I did 3x7reps and on my very last rep I couldn’t keep the 4 second tempo on the way down, it was probably 3 seconds, but as I get stronger I know I will be able to do it next week and I will keep pushing for another +1 rep that week. Looking back maybe I should’ve kept myself to the +1 rep increase between week 1 and 2, but knowing myself, I’m very strict and stubborn with training and most likely there will be an extra effort put in place to make it better next week.

If I would’ve started the first week with 1-2 extra reps and gone to failure as a result I would’ve loaded the nervous system hugely already on week one and the room for strength gains would be very limited trying to beat that for the 5 weeks (sessions) to come.

First week will always be finding appropriate weights and find the bracket for where you can make most progress during your phase. Once you’ve found that sweet spot it’s much easier to tell yourself you can do this because it’s manageable. My goal is to increase by at least one repetition each week and if I feel there’s room for it I aim for 2 reps. By planning the training this way it makes it easier to talk nice to myself during training, because it’s so little I need to do extra. It’ll still be a huge effort and hard because I’ve put the bar high from the start, but as long as I can get that one extra in I’ve decided to be happy and proud of my efforts because I know it’ll get me stronger longer term. It should always be a long-term commitment.

This is how I plan my progress for this phase:

Week 1 – Set 1: 6r, Set 2: 6r, Set 3: 6r

Week 2 – Set 1: 7r, Set 2: 7r, Set 3: 6r

Week 3 – Set 1: 7r, Set 2: 7r, Set 3: 7r

Week 4 – Set 1: 8r, Set 2: 7r, Set 3: 7r

Week 5 – Set 1: 8r, Set 2: 8r, Set 3: 7r

Week 6 – Set 1: 8r, Set 2: 8r, Set 3: 8r

I find that if I’ve got my training planned well it puts less stress on me mentally. I’m one of those people that very easily shut down mentally if I get myself a too big of a task when it comes to training. I already put very high expectations on myself and setting a goal that might not be reachable is not a great thing for me personally, that might be different for you. Learning this about myself has taught me to find that sweet spot where I can keep progressing without going to failure too early in a program.

If I got clear goals and know the effort I need to put in I will push myself by saying “Lets chase that extra rep then it’ll be the same effort to put in as last week” and that effort you’re already familiar with. This makes you get out of your comfort zone each time and experience the extra effort that needs to be put in but it also makes you feel “safe” because you know you did the rest you need to do last week, therefore you’ll be able to do it again.

I hope this can provide some help on how to set yourself up for the good self-talk you need in order to build strength. It is a constant battle to get that extra rep but when your honest efforts work in a good planned program the self-talk will be much easier!

- Fanny 🙂

Awareness and Control will build strength

Awareness

“Knowledge or perception of a situation or fact”

- Consciousness, recognition, realization, apprehension, understanding

Control

“Determine the behavior or supervise the running of”

- Manage, direct, administer, supervise, guide

Proprioception

“One’s own/individual, to take or grasp, sense of the relative position of neighboring parts of the body and strength of effort being employed in movement”

Awareness and control are two things I’m looking to improve in my clients because I know it will improve their proprioception and therefore strength. 

Why? When you know how your body is situated without looking in the mirror you will be able to control where it goes. If you consciously can control where your body goes you will be able to build good proprioception. With good proprioception you can build a strong and powerful body.

How? By exploring as many different planes, angles, situations, positions, movements as you can you will over time build awareness of your body in the different circumstances. Be a beginner and suck at things will develop your brain and body awareness tremendously. Ido Portal talks about the benefit of being in “Zone 1” which means you are an absolute beginner in the position you expose your body to.

What? Exercises that promote increased flexibility, stability and strength that doesn’t involve external load are in my experience great exercises to start with to bring more awareness to your body.

When? By improving the bodies awareness and control; proprioception, at an early stage you will increase strength and lessen the chances for injuries.

With great awareness; consciousness of where your body is positioned, and control; determination of where body parts goes in a movement, your proprioception; ability to respond to external force with correct movement and effort, will improve.

- Fanny