Thursday, April 3, 2014

ANXIETY: Making Waves

Is it possible to be balanced?

Yes, but like walking the balance beam it requires an ongoing adjustment. A day by day, week by week process of evaluating and tweaking your “to dos” and allowing for relaxation. Lifestyle balance is a very intentional use of energy and time. It’s all about making waves.

Making waves is all about energy out, and energy recovered.  Ideally we plan for time to be busy, and time to rest (not pass out).  We all have a unique rhythm that works for us, and it changes with our age and the stage of development and responsibilities.  For many of us it is not our prescheduled hours that are creating stress—it is what we do with our unscheduled time that robs us of much needed recovery.

Exercise is a physiological example of waves at work.  In a 60 minute workout, you will spend approximately 15 minutes warming up, thirty minutes of energy expended, and 15 minutes cooling down.  Your body even does the cool down for you if you don’t allow for it yourself.  Your heart rate, respiration, and perspiration recognize that it is time to wind down.  This is one of the many reasons why health professionals (medical and psychological) recommend exercise as a regular routine for well-being.  Your body memorizes this pattern of stress and recovery for stress which is an immunity booster for when you are under stress that you can’t control.

Here are the signs and symptoms of Tsunami (Too much energy out—poor use of energy recovered):

Magnified sense of pressure and stress
Amplified anxiety and nervousness
Increasingly negative attitude             
Frequent cold/flu symptoms
Diminished work enjoyment
Physical aches and pains
Declining productivity
Poor concentration
Weight problems
Low motivation

In the recovery phase of your wave you want to do something that makes you say “AHHHHHHH” with a sense of relief.  That may be laying down, reading a book, finding a fun blog, crafting, knitting, playing a game with your children, listening to music while sipping exotic tea . . . It is a planned rejuvenation that allows you to bounce back from your day with a smile . . . and has no side effects.  If your idea of recovery is a tall glass of red wine some evenings—that may be helpful.  If a tall glass of red wine is your only go-to for stress recovery you can see how that might become a problem.  Despite the fact that we are talking about waves "surfing" is not a good strategy.Television and Internet are not always the best choice.  If you have a particular show that you like to watch that might give you some peacefulness, but research has shown that “surfing” the net or cable does not reduce stress. It is distraction, not relaxation.

If you have had a particularly difficult day--you require extra recovery time.  Quit the "one more thing" mentality and start your down time earlier and choose it well. It is all about making waves!

This month we will be looking at the causes and treatment of stress and anxiety.  I hope you will find something that helps and pass it along to a friend.  


  1. This helps to look at lifestyle balance as a wave. I occasionally have some of those "tsunami" symptoms, so I look forward to your posts about stress and anxiety this month. :)

  2. It sure makes sense to start the 'recovery' a little earlier - I'll have to be more mindful of that. On a full day, it's hard sometimes not to go,go,go until lights off. Not the best sleep inducer!

  3. I've been working on differentiating between distraction and relaxation. Even though my Kindle books are on my iPad, reading a book on my iPad brings much more relaxation than Facebook. Thanks for your weather forecast. I'll try to avoid a tsunami!