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Jack's Journal: Stress and Exhaustion

How often do you find yourself constantly running from one thing to another? We live in a very fast-paced world that requires our attention incessantly. The kids need to be picked up from practice, then you need to prep dinner, then you need to answer that last work email... oh, and by the way, you have to prepare yourself for the next day of work! If you're anything like me, you're sick and tired of hearing about COVID and what has changed because of the pandemic. However, it doesn't change the reality of our situation; sure, a lot of us are going back into work, but there are still many of us that are working from home. Regardless of the situation you're in, you are still "on" a lot more these days. Added stress can lead to exhaustion.

Among those many things we are responsible for, you are responsible for yourself and your health! After all, no one else is going to check in on you and force you to exercise (okay, maybe a few people will). Training in and of itself is difficult, then you throw everything else life has to offer on top of it and it can easily get overwhelming. Just like a good coach is mindful of your physical stress load, you need to be mindful of your mental and emotional stress load.

That is the way I've been feeling lately, anyway. Do I enjoy exercise? Of course I do, otherwise I wouldn't be a trainer and coach. That doesn't mean I don't feel the stress of putting on miles in preparation for my half marathon coming up in two weeks. I also recently signed up for a business course to help develop myself as a business professional. In addition to that, for those of you who don't already know, I recently moved into a townhome with a couple of unexpected projects (and stressors). On top of all that, exercise should be our stress release, right? Well, when it gets to be as uncomfortable as it is to exercise outside right now, that adds extra stress to an already full plate of stress.

We have all this stress and exhaustion, so what do we do about it??

First place I would start is meditation. To some, this may seem like voodoo, but think about it: you schedule yourself for 8+ hours of work, but you don't schedule a break to shut your brain off? It's natural for us to have thoughts — that's what makes us who we are. Just try to sit in a room with no distractions and think about absolutely nothing. It is more difficult than it sounds! I suggest this because I personally do it all the time. Whenever I am feeling overwhelmed, I take a few minutes to lay on my back and concentrate on nothing. If that is too boring, focus on your breathing!

Second place I would start is sleep. Are you getting a healthy amount of sleep each night? It's difficult to go through a day full of activities on a full night's rest, much less doing so on a few hours sleep. Imagine yourself as your smart phone. Are you consistently starting your day "charged" at 40%? If so, you've got emails to send, games to play, videos to stream...a few hours after you've woken up, you are at 20% or lower! Sleep is essential for everyone to function, so it is even more important for those of us who exercise with intensity. We should schedule our sleeping like we schedule our work: “I have to be in bed by 9:30, or I’m going to be late for sleep!” We should treat it that importantly!

Lastly, consider scheduling a day of the week where you are kind to yourself. Think about it: you have days off from work, days off from training, why not a day off from your responsibilities and stresses? If you have others that depend on you and you can’t afford to take a whole day, okay — make it a few hours, then! Just something to prevent you from exhaustion and burn out.

Life is a bit much sometimes, and I understand that. Us coaches are not immune to that fact! Hopefully, now there are ways for you to “take a break from it all” without missing an opportunity to attend to your health. That is what exercise is, a proactive method of medicine. Remember, your health is important, so pay some attention to it!

If you’d like help setting and achieving your health and wellness goals, please contact Jack Zahn at to set up an appointment.

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