Jul 132010

Our New House

Our New House in Oro Valley

When stress strikes, its tempting to back down from your normal training routine. After all, you’ve got the best of excuses to dump the workout for a nap or a strong drink. Or so it seems. In reality, maintaining your exercise routine could actually help you cope better with whatever you are up against. Instead of letting your stress get the best of you the next time around, try some creative ways to keep yourself up and moving?

Speaking of moving, my latest stressful event was a relocation from one Tucson house to another (that’s why my posts have been so sparse lately)! When our offer was accepted and the closing loomed within 30 days, my first instinct was to forget about going to U.S. Masters Swimming nationals later in the summer. After all, I wasn’t going to have time to put in the training, right?

After further consideration, I decided that keeping the championship on the calendar would keep me focused so I would put in the miles I needed not only to do well in my events, but to stay more calm and upbeat as we underwent the stress of the move. And sure enough, its been working. I have maintained consistent training habits and have managed to deal with all of the box packing and carrying as well as repairing and installing various things at our new house without bursting into tears. OK, well I did kind of lose it once when I looked at my old closet floor after I had loaded several boxes and there was still a ton more and I wondered how I had accumulated so much stuff and where I would possible put it all! I do know that had I not been swimming almost daily it would have been a whole lot worse.

Below are some tried and true strategies to help you succeed when stress strikes:

1 – Plan your workouts in advance. Put these scheduled times in your handheld device like every other appointment and stick to the schedule without fail. Pack your gym bag the night before so you are ready to go.

2 – Set a goal. What do you want to accomplish shortly after this difficult time to keep you from missing a workout? It could be an athletic competition, a charity walk or run, or a vacation that requires being physically fit.

3 – Enlist the support of a friend or family member. In the case of our move, I encouraged my husband to go to the gym while I did something around the house so he didn’t feel he needed to miss workouts to do something for me. He always encouraged me to attend all my morning swimming workouts as well. I even trained the day the movers came to pick up our furniture! Be sure to offer encouragement to those close to you when they are under stress so they won’t fall off the exercise wagon.

4 – Release your frustration in the water or as your feet hit the road instead of out on other people. Notice how well it works. When your workout has helped you to cope with stress and deal better with frustrating situations, take note. When your day goes well, you will want to do it again. And people won’t want to hide from you whenever you are under duress.

The next time your work or personal life becomes crazy, don’t let go of your exercise routine. Keeping consistent will have a way of grounding you so the difficult time doesn’t seem as rough. If you have to relocate like I just did, being fit can come in handy. If I didn’t have great muscle tone, how would I have ever handled the packing, carrying, painting, hammering, drilling, backwashing, and trimming that needed to be done? Now if you will excuse me, I have to install another towel bar.