At a recent meeting with a group of sophisticated remodeling company owners, emotions ran high as several described their efforts to bring business in the door and keep their companies afloat. For months, these remodelers were working 70 to 80 hours per week, using all of their business acumen to battle the challenges that the economy has been throwing at them. All were emotionally and physically spent. They desperately needed a break from the stress.
According to researchers at the Mayo Clinic, exercise increases your overall health and sense of well-being, which puts more pep in your step every day. But exercise also has direct stress-busting benefits.
- Endorphin high. Physical activity helps bump up production of your brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters, called endorphins. Although this function is often referred to as a runner’s high, a rousing game of tennis or a nature hike also can achieve this same feeling. If you’ve neglected your favorite activities because you feel you have to work, it’s time to reconnect.
- Meditation in motion. As you begin to regularly shed daily tensions through movement and physical activity, you may find that this focus on a single task — and the resulting energy and optimism — can help you remain calm and clear in everything you do. When I attend ice skating classes, I have to focus all my attention on completing the exercises and not falling! One client includes one night of rock climbing in his busy schedule. Choose an activity that requires focus to really clear your head.
- Mood improvement. Regular exercise can increase self-confidence and lower the symptoms associated with mild depression and anxiety. Exercise can also improve your sleep, which is often disrupted by stress, depression, and anxiety. Lowered stress levels will give you a sense of command over your body and your life, and your optimism and upbeat outlook will quickly catch on with the people around you.
The most common symptoms of stress that I see are:
- Poor sleep. Stress wreaks havoc with your sleep, but the more physically tired you are, the better you will sleep. That’s where exercise comes in.
- Weight fluctuation. One remodeler lost 35 pounds after this past difficult summer. Another gained the same amount after dozens of unhealthy fast food meals.
- Snappy attitude. Snapping at employees and family when you’re worrying won’t help. It just spreads the stress to others.
There’s never been a better time to learn how to manage your anxiety. Take the first step today — go get some exercise!
—Victoria Downing is president of Remodelers Advantage. 301.490.5620. remodelersadvantage.com