On Stress, Physical Activity & Laziness…

I’ve been thinking lately about stress and physical activity. More
to the point, how I deal with stress, and how physical activity is
integral to that. Last week was a high-stress week for me, and a low
physical activity week, resulting in…well, a really bad week,
overall. 

This summer hasn’t been
all that great in terms of working out. Which is a vague way of saying
I’ve been lazy. My plan was to spend half an hour to an hour every
evening either weeding or walking the dogs, and I’ve done neither (a
good part of that has been the weather, but still). At the moment, my
workouts consist of morning yoga sessions combined with push-ups and/or
sit-ups, weekend house/yard cleaning, and adult nocturnal activities
(yes, sex is a workout, people…if not, you’re doing it wrong). And no,
I haven’t put any of the weight I lost back on. I even lost a couple
more pounds this summer.  

Here’s
the thing. Physical activity releases endorphins…those lovely little
feel-good hormones that keep us happy and focused. Some activities more
than others (*ahem* – here, go read this).
Last week, my husband was sick and I was running late every single
morning, which means I was getting far less activity than my normal
minimums, and that made every little thing that went wrong during the
day magnified a hundred percent in my brain. 

Can
you say stress overload? I tend to just completely shut down under
those conditions, especially when much of the stress is caused by too
much human interaction. The only thing I really feel like doing at that
point is reading, which is rather detrimental to productivity. 

Needless
to say, I finished several romance novels last week, and started
another one. Yes, the genre choice is significant, sadly enough. By the
end of the week, I was ready to kill everyone who even looked at me,
aside from hot guys, and it’s a good thing my husband was feeling better
this weekend. 

The interesting
thing is, I could have cut my stress levels in half last week if I’d
just gotten up off the couch and either worked outside for 20 minutes
every evening, or gone downstairs for a quick treadmill or total gym
workout. I mean sure, some activities are better than others for mental
acuity and overall well-being (*ahem*), but a good workout releases
endorphins, serotonin & dopamine too, so when you get down to it I
was just being lazy. Or pouting. Or both (most likely).

Wouldn’t
it be cool (and really, really annoying) if we could wear a band on an
arm or leg that measured our “happy hormone” levels, and zapped us
lightly when they were falling below certain levels? That would be our
reminder to go get some exercise and take care of our brains. I bet it
would be effective for a lot of people – or at least make us more aware
of just how much activity we really need to stay healthy, mentally as
well as physically.

Deep thoughts for a Monday, I know, but I write these on Sunday, so…

Anyways. Last week = unproductive and snarly. This week, I’m determined to do better on all fronts. Here’s the list:

– 2 serial scenes
– Finish up the last holiday serial for Labor Day
– Get all my morning yoga workouts in
– Grab some sort of workout every single night, even if it’s just 20 min. in the yard
– Another couple squares for the current afghan project
– Start a knitted gift project
– Keep up with the day job stuff

And that’s it. Just gonna focus on what needs to be done this week, and after that, anything extra is gravy.

Mmm…gravy.

Here’s to good health and not being lazy!


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2 comments on “On Stress, Physical Activity & Laziness…

  1. Michelle D. Argyle

    I enjoyed reading this! And that article about sex, too, which I’ve bookmarked because I find it fascinating and helpful for writing, as well as in my own personal life. I have started walking every morning now (for about 30 – 40 minutes) and it helps so, so much!

  2. Jamie D.

    Glad you enjoyed it, Michelle – and got some research material as well. It’s amazing how easy it is to forget that our mental health is so tied into our physical health (and vice versa), isn’t it?