A common theme has been coming up in clinic since I reopened in April.
Stress can be physical or psychological, positive or negative - but it has an accumulative effect on our Physiology.
The Cleveland Clinic defines stress as:
“Stress is the body's reaction to any change that requires an adjustment or response.”
We need a certain amount of stress in life to help us to adapt and thrive as human beings.
But the last 18 months have seen an exponential spike in the amount of stress that we have all had to deal with.
This base level of background stress lowers our Adaptive Reserve, our capacity for absorbing additional stress.
I use an analogy of the rev counter in your car.
If you pull up at a red light, take your foot off the throttle and put your handbrake on, you would expect the rev counter to drop down and the engine to become quieter.
When the light goes green you would release the handbrake and put your foot down on the accelerator, seeing the rev count rise as you start to speed up.
What if you are sat idling at the traffic lights and the rev counter is already really high and the engine is already screaming.
Where would you find that additional power to pull off and start moving?
What would you do if you came to a hill or needed to overtake?
In life, we want that base level of stress to be low enough so that we have additional capacity to absorb more, whether that be physical, emotional or life stress.
If we don’t have that adaptive reserve, our systems can become overwhelmed.
What does this look like in clinic?
People complaining of issues with:
Unable to hit their usual level in training
Getting injured more easily or experiencing slower recovery from minor injuries.
What we need to do is practice some strategies to lower that base stress.
What strategies do you use to lower your stress?