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Over Christmas I caught a cold. WHAT!!!

I have to confess, I ate rubbish over the festive period.  Now I always like to have a treat here and there and it’s a given I indulge over Christmas, BUT I never get colds or flu. Ever since I adopted a diet of unprocessed foods a few years ago I have been cold free, even when many around me are suffering. So what was different this time?

There was something that went beyond what I was eating, something that combined with the excess sugar and processed food lead to my immune system letting me down. Have you guessed what it was? It was STRESS.

I am not one to suffer too much at the hands of stress as I am generally quite laid back but I was seriously stressed in the run up to Christmas. Keris and I have been writing a book for the last 4 months and devoted all our time to it and as much as we have loved the experience, the deadlines were tight and we had to work our backsides off. All this combined with our classes, personal training clients and driving round the country visiting family over the festive period (one of the downsides to going out with a Northerner 😉 meant we had little time on our hands and every time we thought we were getting somewhere something else would pop up that HAD TO BE DONE.

The Christmas period is a time I normally devote to chilling and spending time with my family, not stressing about work. But this year it was far from chilled and my mind was going at 100mph. Will we meet the deadlines? Will people buy the book? Will people like the book? Will people get from the book what we intended? How are we going to sell it? What if we lose all the money we invested?  Will we get it to print in time? Oh crap there’s another typo  blah blah blah. You get the point.

I don’t say this to gain sympathy, as this is one of the most amazing things we have done together and we were always willing to put the work in, but this level of stress was foreign to me.  The negative thoughts were also very out of character too. I was stressed, tense and in a world of my own. I hated feeling this way but felt like I had no choice. 

I woke up on Christmas Eve with a stonking cold. I was coughing like an old man with a 50 cigarette a day smoking habit and my energy was through the floor. Not how I want to feel at anytime of the year let alone Xmas. It was clear that the excessive and chronic stress that was the culprit! I am a firm believer that being stressed is a real game changer, I have said many times before that it doesn’t matter if your nutrition is great and your training regularly, if you’re stressed you’re almost fighting a losing battle. Besides when stressed, it usually has a knock on effect and you end up craving crap food and sugar.  Stress also destroys your sleep so you’re stuck in a vicious cycle. Stress is so often over looked and plays a HUGE role in your overall health and well being.  

So the point of this post really is to urge you to seriously chill out. A little stress can kick your backside into gear and allow you to get stuff done but there has to be an ‘off’ switch, your health should not suffer at the hands of stress. Evaluate what you are doing and if you feel excessively stressed, take a few deep breaths write your thoughts down and work out a strategy. Having a plan of action works a treat, that way you’re in control of what you are doing and there is a huge sense of reward in that. 

Stress will kick your arse if you let it. Eat well, sleep, train smart but most importantly smile and be happy. Remember the things that really mean the world to you like your family and friends. Remind your self in a moment where your job or work load is getting on top of you that:

  • You are a real gangsta who thrives off the grind and you will get the job done.
  • You are awesome and stress is gonna get its backside kicked if it shows its face again.
  • If you have a plan of action you have more control.
  • You are in control, the stress does not control you. You are da boss.

Something that help me no end was this “Remind yourself why you do what you do, and decide is it worth it? Is it worth getting so worked up about?” If you don’t feel it’s worth it then you need to seek an alternative, but that’s another post.

In my case yes it was worth it, very much so. This is my passion, my life and it was all going towards a book designed to help others become healthier, stronger and quite simply awesome. This book has the potential to help so many people change for the better and potentially change their lives. I know that may seem like a strong statement but it’s true and that thought alone was enough to make me realise I was doing good in the world, the stress was temporary and a means to an end.

Turns out I felt so stressed because I care, because I love what I do and most of all because I love helping people. When you sit down and evaluate WHY you are stressed and doing what you are doing it all seems to become that little bit clearer and easier to handle.

Love what you do, appreciate life and laugh everyday. Here’s to only stressing when it really counts.

Matt