This weeks blog comes from Sophie Radcliffe, a PlanetK2 athlete ambassador. Sophie is an adventurer who inspires people by taking on remarkable challenges but she’s also a brand ambassador, blogger and writer and this week she shares her story on how she manages stress.
There have definitely been times in my life when i’ve not even noticed that my stress levels were soaring. Maybe it’s because the stereotypical image of stress looks different; red faces, sweaty palms, hair pulling…
Like many of us, I was too good at hiding my stress and appearing completely fine on the outside while experiencing a very different picture on the inside.
Here are a few of the ways I’ve learned how to recognise and manage my stress to not only feel better in myself but also improve my performance in my training and work.
Know that I’m doing my best
Since my journey as Challenge Sophie began, adventures and endurance challenges have helped me access my resilience, motivation and self-confidence. This has shaped my approach to always give my all, dig deeper and push my limits.
And whilst this is generally a good thing, sometimes the balance shifts and allows pressure and stress to find their way onto my shoulders. It’s too tempting for me to set my own bar extremely high.
On stressful days I take a moment to remind myself that everything I have done that day and in that moment is enough. That I am enough. This helps to reduce the feeling of pressure and then disappointment if I don’t meet my own expectations.
Look at what I’m eating
My food and my mood are very much linked and I am mindful that there are some foods that give me more energy than others. Ensuring that my digestive health is getting all the nutrients it needs to power my lifestyle certainly helps how I feel.
Although I’m not a vegetarian, I often take little breaks from meat and up my vegetable intake when feeling overwhelmed. I also ensure I’m eating enough (of the right stuff) so that my engine isn’t running on empty. I drink tons of water every day and herbal tea too, helps me stay hydrated and flush out any toxins in my body.
Take time off
This sounds like an obvious one but taking a break is hugely effective to lower my stress levels. My schedule is often crazy with last-minute travel, busy campaigns, adventure challenges and talks peppered throughout my year.
But when I see a little gap in the craziness where nothing is booked in, I seize it as my own time for rest and recuperation. Whether that’s spending time with my friends in London, taking a little holiday to Greece with my mum or even just going for a cocktail, it all counts towards restoring my perspective.
Stop striving for physical perfection
Body confidence is high on my agenda as an athlete and influencer and can cause stress. I know first-hand how it affects our mental health which is why I ran the London Marathon with positive messages painted all over my body, two years ago.
I developed my own personal mantra to repeat to myself:
Fitness is about what my body can do, and how that makes me feel, not what it looks like. I focus on functionality rather than aesthetics, on developing a strong mind and powerful body instead of focusing on negatives.
Let others in
Trying to fire-fight stress on my own is just not effective and I really believe in the power of sharing whatever challenges I am going through with others. Sometimes even just letting the words tumble out of my mouth to a close friend, family member or colleague can lighten the load dramatically.
I try to remember the old adage that “no man (or woman) is an island” and that letting others in to help and offer their support is an invaluable stress reliever.
The Performance Room
As someone who constantly strives to improve my performance, I love resources like The Performance Room that break down big goals into manageable, bitesize chunks. This helps to prevent me from getting overwhelmed with big projects and challenges!
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