Stress is like the Terminator. It can’t be bargained with, it can’t be reasoned with. Push it too long and it will take you out.
So it’s no surprise that smart coaches like my colleague Luke Leaman now start their coaching process with stress management. As he says, stress can cause insulin resistance, reduced energy production, and a reduction in male sex hormones.
Related: The 8 Best Pushups You Aren’t Doing
I’m not going to tell you to hand write thank-you notes to your high school math teacher while slow-roasting your own coffee beans for your morning cup of gratitude. That’s something your 25-year-old life coach will tell you to do.
Here’s some practical stuff that works even while you’re still hustling.
- Get more sleep. You know this, though. You’re surviving on five hours, not thriving.
Belly breathing. Most people take very short, shallow “half-breaths.” Get them to perform a few deep, full lung-filling breaths (in through the nose, out through the mouth) and watch their reaction.
Three minutes, three times a day works wonders to get the parasympathetic nervous system back online.
Slow down. How? Just do less.
A better answer: when overwhelm hits, do the deep breathing above and go for a 15-minute walk. Running through your mental to-do list won’t help. You need to re-set your brain.
Talk to someone. If there’s one thing that I won’t change about my coaching process, no matter how often other coaches tell me I’m crazy from a time monetization perspective, it’s that I won’t stop spending time talking to my clients on the phone or Skype.
Email is a cold, impersonal tool that’s become a mechanism for delivering bad news or more shit to do. It also offers little insight into the emotional state of the person writing.
I can send clients charts and forms and have them email me how they feel on a sliding scale of “shit” to “marvelous,” but I hear more and learn more talking to them than in all that bullshit paperwork combined. Find a coach or a workout partner who is willing to do the same.
On to the Next Chapter
Don’t get me wrong: The only way to make fitness work for someone is if you “meet them where they are.” And for many men, it’s a place where just getting up and moving or eating less crap will be an enormous win.
Still, some attention needs to be paid to the “already initiated” who have been going strong, but are starting to feel the heavy hands of Father Time.
You don’t have to change everything you’re doing. Just work smart.
You know, just like what your favourite 25-year-old life coach has been saying to do since, like, forever.
This article originally appeared on MensHealth.com