I’ve been thinking a lot about stress lately, so much so that I recorded a video on the topic.
Over the years, my blogging focus has wandered from one topic to another, seemingly quite randomly. Then I think about things on a deeper level, and begin to see the interrelationships.
Posture, back pain, exercise, fitness, nutrition, success. This was the main evolution of my major topics (with other things packed in, of course; ergonomics, home office, remote work, pandemic restrictions…), and finally I arrived at mental health.
Why? Because of this.
In a week that I thought things were pretty normal, when the worst of my crisis was long past, when I hadn’t seriously contemplated suicide in over a year, still I was mildly stressed and severely depressed.
Over the course of the last month, I have returned to daily exercise. I walk between 2.25 and 2.75 km and do 10 to 20 minutes of yoga every day.
In the month I have been doing this, I have already noted significant improvements in my fitness levels. I have also had notable reductions in back pain, and my posture is improving. My mood is generally better, and I think my stress and depression levels have dropped, at least a little.
All from daily light exercise.
One unexpected benefit of my walks is that they give me time to think. I go hard enough that it is truly an exercise, but not so hard that it consumes all of my thoughts.
Today, I was reflecting on the improvements noted above, as I was thinking about stress and aging. The pandemic fascism imposed upon us by Blackface Hitler and Fat Fascist Fuck Ford was a source of incredible stress.
The damage I saw being done. in real time, to my children, to family, friends, coworkers, the economy, social cohesion, our God given rights, etc. drove me, quite literally, past the point of despair to a place I barely returned from.
One of the things I noted as an effect of this stress was that I got old. A month ago when I was recording a video I barely recognized myself in the camera screen.
Now, I’m not an overly vain man. Well, to be honest, I’m not at all a vain man. Body proud? Sure. I love being in better shape than kids 1/2, or even 1/3 my age. But looks? Don’t give a shit.
Don’t believe me? Go over to my YouTube Channel and look at me. Is that the face of a man who spends any time or concern on his looks?
Anyway, I was looking at myself in the video monitor, and I realized I looked tired, and old. I’m used to people guessing my age about 10 years younger than I really am, and I certainly wasn’t looking that, at all.
Lately, though, after only a month of moderate exercise I’m noticing a reversal; I’m not looking quite so old. More important? I’m not feeling quite so old.
And on my walk today, I went back over some thoughts from years, and posts, gone by.
- metabolizes the stress hormone cortisol.
- it is literally the anti-stress
- improves your sleep. Sleep deprivation is a stress.
- improves your mood. Negative emotions are stresses.
- elevates your metabolism. Weight gain is a stress.
- builds muscle and improves muscle tone. Better muscle equals better posture and poor posture is a stress.
- improves your immune system. Sickness is a stress.
I could go on, but I think you get the point. The addition of a simple, 20 minute daily walk has rippled out through my life to improve my overall health simply by helping to reduce my stress.