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Seize a Hold of Stress

Seize a Hold of Stress
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Finishing off a container of frosting, I had to chuckle.  I’d spent the week balancing being a mom, health coach, ministry leader and finishing up an extensive project.  The project was to write a challenge for 16 college campuses around Virginia on mindful and emotional eating.

The irony wasn’t lost on me.  I actually loved the reminder that we are all human and emotional eating can get the best of us.  I’ve often told myself that understanding the science behind the addiction of sugar should be motivation enough to avoid it, but then again addictions aren’t that easy to ignore.

As the wife of a college football coach I have found it impossible to be unemotional about his career.  Whether he is celebrating a signed recruit, mourning the loss of a starting quarterback to an ACL tear or anxious about a game I’m right there with him.  I’ve been told there are much stronger wives out there who can keep their nerves steady.  I applaud you ladies!  As for me, I’ve even been known to let emotions get the best of me on occasion.

Frosting is only reserved for emergencies, and this week was a bear.  Staff transitions, anxious players, and recruiting were in full swing.  Ordell being out of town added to the list of things that couldn’t be ignored nor controlled.  Being the only driver meant my evenings were cut short by a few work hours and a looming deadline had me on a schedule of very little sleep.

If I’m being honest, I could use the excuse of a stressful week 30 times a year. With a total of just over 67,000 calories added to my menu if using frosting as a crutch I’ve developed some strategies to deal with stress in ways that won’t destroy my waistline.

Next time you want to grab that pint of ice cream or snickers bar try these things instead:

Drink a large glass of cold water.

Clean something.

Call a friend.

Check your email.

Take a walk.

Journal.

Eat a piece of fruit or some vegetables first.

Try a few dark chocolate morsels with pecans or cashews.

I call these strategies “refocusing your nervous energy”.  My go to on this list is clean.  A few years ago I instituted a “game day” routine in our house.  After Ordell has left for the team breakfast my boys and I head to the Y to swim.  We then go home and clean the house from top to bottom.  By the time we need to be at the field I’m actually bordering on calm and relaxed.  The satisfaction of accomplishing a large task and getting a good workout in had a larger effect on me than I anticipated, and has helped me to enjoy the whole weekend instead of having a mental to do list running. The extra calories burned prior to a home game also means I don’t have to feel guilty about tasting everyone’s tailgating goodies.

One of the things that happens to me in times of heightened stress is that I begin to feel overwhelmed.  The daily chores seem impossible to keep up with.  I begin to feel as if my capacity for surprises and additional emotions is maxed out.  By choosing to seize a hold of the stress and refocus overwhelmed feelings toward accomplishing tasks is a great distraction as well as time saver.

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Beth Walker Beth Walker is a coach's wife and mom of 2 energetic boys. Having grown up in the suburbs of Chicago, the adventure of being married to a college football coach has allowed Beth to live in different areas of the country including the middle of a cornfield in Southern IL, and most recently the amazing mountains of Southwest Virginia. Beth has been blogging over at Lessons from the Sidelines (lessonsfromthesidelines.wordpress.com) where she has been striving to finding her own voice, both through personal life reflection and her ministry of serving the girls of Bluefield College as the leader of Women's Ministries called Pursuit. Her husband Ordell is currently the head coach of the Bluefield Rams.