Happy September Ballard CrossFit! Coach Brian here to address the other 23 hours of your day. It has always been our goal at Ballard CrossFit to make your visit to the gym the best hour of your day. Now, we understand that this is a lofty goal that won’t always be attainable. You all have some amazing things going on in your life! You have wonderful families and friends, interesting hobbies and recreational aspirations, meaningful jobs and other things that make the other hours of your day pretty hard to beat.
Despite everything good that we have going in our lives, I don’t think anyone is immune to occasional, or even frequent, anxiety brought on by the common stressors of everyday life. I have a lot of things for which to be thankful, but still I often find myself working through the mental anguish of stress and anxiety. I’ve got a family to protect, a mortgage and bills, 2 jobs, I can’t always get good sleep, and I watch the news. All of these things can take a toll on the mind and body.
I felt it appropriate to address this topic in September as the daylight hours diminish and the weather threatens to change for the wetter. These are 2 additional inevitable items that tend to adversely affect my psyche.
Having been a devoted member of the BCF community since 2010, I learned long ago that a visit to the gym can be a therapeutic force to help me squash a case of the blues. An enthusiastic warm greeting from another member of the community, the support of a large class, the upbeat music, moving heavy things quickly. All of these things can help me to turn a day around for the better.
But, what about the days when your visit to the gym just isn’t enough to relieve the stress? How about the days you can’t make it in to see us? Those are the days that require additional tools to get your head right. Recently, my wife Carly and I have tried to make joy a primary focus in our lives. It has proven to be a worthwhile endeavor. It was this book that got us thinking about our “Joy Plan”. When Carly and I consistently talk about our joys in life, there is a noticeable positive effect on our mood and outlook. When we lose our focus on joy, the effect toward the negative is also evident. The truth is, our moods are contagious for better or worse until death do us part. Just like practicing a new movement in the gym, a focus (and subsequent re-focusing) on joy requires consistent practice in order to be mastered.
While I’m certainly no expert in the field of psychology, I’d like to share some of my favorite tactics for bringing awareness to the joys in my life along and help me put the kibosh on stress and anxiety.
1. Write it down! – Grab a small notebook and take 5 minutes (maximum) per day to jot down anything that brings you joy or makes you thankful! This gets my morning off to an upbeat start and helps me find silver linings by spinning challenges into gratitude (see the note to the right about my 3 year old).
2. Let ‘em know – If someone has done something significant for you or had a profound effect on you, write them a note of gratitude. A handwritten show of appreciation is a win-win. This could be to a boss or mentor, a family member, a friend, a stranger, whomever.
3. Get your rest – A good night’s sleep is restorative for the mind and body. Put down the phone early, supplement with ZMA's, darken down your room, and put head on pillow. If falling asleep is hard for you, the ZMA might help. You can also try closing your eyes and going through the alphabet A-Z with things you are thankful for (AMRs, Burpees, Chest-2-Bar, etc. :) ).
4. Exercise – Duh! Get your booty into the gym. We’ll take over from there!
5. Minimalize – Cleaning out the closets and donating non-essential “stuff” can do wonders for clearing the mind. A documentary by these goofy guys prompted Carly and I to take action.
6. Supplement – I mentioned ZMA above as a sleep enhancer. I’ve also found success calming the mind and inducing sleep with the help of Natural Calm before bed. Also, since the weather is going to take a turn for the worse, you’re going to have fewer opportunities to get your vitamin D the natural way. Supplementing with vitamin D is cheap and has many positive health effects including regulating mood. Reminder: Vitamin D is fat soluble, so make sure you take it with a meal or with Fish Oil.
7. Eat clean – It should come as no surprise that eating well has a positive effect on mental and physical well being, both acutely and chronically. Sharing a good meal with the people you love can be a great mood booster. In the long run, eating well reduces inflammation and cleans up a lot of what ails us. Starting Sept 15 at 1pm, you have a great opportunity to join our Fall Nutrition Challenge and clean up your eating habits with the support of your BCF coaches and community! Or you can give our new 1x1 Nutrition Coaching program a try.
As I mentioned above, these are things that help me to avoid or eliminate stress and anxiety in my life. It is, by no means, an exhaustive list. If you’re like me and sometimes need a little boost to get your mind right, I encourage you to try a few things from the list above and see if they help. In the meantime, your Ballard CrossFit Coaches will be diligently striving to make that one hour with us the best hour of your day!