Thursday, October 10, 2013

The effects of stress

A bit over a month ago, I posted a status on Facebook that tallied up how much I'd lifted that day.  I had just finished the first stage of the New Rules of Lifting for Women, and I was extremely proud of myself and felt really good about what I'd done.  I was feeling very strong and was ready to move onto the next stage and keep going, building strength and health.

And then I let someone else's statements and opinions and emotional upheaval affect how I felt.  This person posted body shaming statements on my celebratory post, and when I objected, it did not go over very well.  It was a very stressful weekend.

I am only posting about that because I let that incident affect me far more than it should have.  And the entire episode was very eye opening.

In the weeks after that happened, I was working on my health class assignments and came across some research that showed stress and emotional abuse lower the body's immune system and ability to recover.  As I reflected on that chapter, the incident I mentioned, and what was happening with my body at that time, I found the correlation to be very interesting.

I had been very sick with two different, pretty severe illnesses. I was too sick to walk across campus, so I missed over a week of school.  I fought a 2-week-long depressive episode.  I do suffer from depression and have had postpartum depression after each of my babies.  This time was the easiest time I've had with it, but still these episodes occur at times.  I consider myself lucky that this particular episode was only a couple of weeks.  I found it hard to focus.  At home, I fell down the stairs, wrenching my back and injuring my right foot and ankle. I dropped a  padlock on my right foot, and also dropped a jar which shattered in the sink.  I then sliced my finger open and did some other clumsy things.  (And no, Mom, I'm not pregnant.)

During the same time, I was working with my therapist on the emotional things and have gotten myself to a much better place, but I was not working out or exercising regularly.  I had gone to the gym about once a week, much less than I had been doing, and I had not made any progress with my lifting.  In fact, when I went to lift today, I found that I am much weaker than I was 5 weeks ago.  My balance is worse than it was 5 weeks ago.  None of it is back to where I was in the spring before I started working out, but I have had obvious strength losses.  On the other hand, I can run now, and that's something I couldn't do in the spring, so it is also obvious I haven't lost all of my gains!

Also at the gym today, I discovered I don't love some of the exercises in stage 2 of the New rules book, so I'll be mixing it up with stage 1 a bit longer, because it's more important that I love what I'm doing than following that exercise routine to a T.  If I don't love it, I won't do it.  And I'm so glad I know that about myself.

So I am back.  My family and I are committed to my health.  My husband and teen help with the little kids while I am at the gym, and we've all had a discussion about why this is important to me.  I cannot control what other people do or say, but I can work on changing how I respond to people, and I get to choose how much I allow certain people into my life.  While I am the only one who kept me from going to the gym and the only one who can get me back to the gym tomorrow and the day after that, the genuine loving support from my husband and children and other loved ones has really been encouraging and motivating.  I am *loving* the fact that I can run my intervals now, and I will be killing those squats and deadlifts again before I know it.

1 comment:

*ehu. said...

What the heck!?! De-friend!!! Who rains on someone else's parade?? :(