Does Stress Get The Best Of You? Four Ways To Take Control

By Donna Marsh

Many people are stressed out and overwhelmed and either don’t know how to change or can’t seem to get started because they are so consumed by it.

If you choose to change your life, here are four things that will make a world of difference. The best part? These things will also benefit your health, fitness, wellness and focus!

1. Sleep! Most adults require 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night for optimal functioning. Most people are sleep deprived. That results in other functions of the body becoming “out of whack.” Over a short period of time, we can become unhealthy just because we aren’t getting our required amount of sleep. For many, going to sleep only an hour earlier is a challenge. For most, it’s down to when you choose to turn off the day and get your much-needed rest. Turning off electronic devices to lay in a quiet room and quiet your mind takes practice. It’s well worth it, and a perfect segue to our next point!

2. Be Quiet. Learning to be still and relax is extremely difficult for many people. This alone will help you reduce stress and its physical toll on your body. Even better, it will help you accomplish the first item on our list, sleep!

Two great ways to relax are to take yoga classes and to practice relaxation techniques at bedtime. When practicing in bed, you may want to try a guided audio meditation or nature sounds to help you. These are widely available at no cost online.

Yoga classes are available at Ultima Fitness each week for all ability levels. The hardest part of yoga for many is the final meditation at the end of each class. It is hard to turn off your thoughts and simply be still even for a short period of time. It will become easier, and soon you will find you look forward to the chance to unwind.

3. Sweat out your frustration! Old-fashioned exercise will do wonders to de-stress! And some is better than none if an intense workout is not yet where you can safely perform. A personal trainer or your doctor can advise you on the level of training that is safe and effective for you.

The benefits of exercise for most people far outweigh any risks. Lower stress, fat loss, weight loss, increased endorphins (feel-good hormones), a strong body and healthy joints are just some of the benefits. People with lower stress who exercise regularly and get adequate sleep are at lower risk for cardio respiratory disease, cancers and other health issues. Reduce your risk, feel and look great, get quality sleep and improve your ability to relax, all by getting regular exercise.

4. Do something you enjoy! When was the last time you did something just because you enjoy it? Not because you felt obligated or guilty, but because it made you feel good?

Many of us are so busy and caught up in what we need to do next that we seldom slow down to ask ourselves, “What would make me happy right now?” When we take time for the things we enjoy, love ourselves enough to “be quiet” for a little while each day, rest our weary bodies and allow ourselves to drift off to sleep when we need to; when we respect ourselves enough to move our bodies and protect against disease and negativity, we are better at all the other things we do. We are more focused employees, more available bosses, more patient parents and more giving partners. We are these things because we can be, because we have cared enough about ourselves to take time to de-stress and focus on the stuff that really matters.

For information on programs at Ultima Fitness, call (561) 795-2823 or visit Be sure to ask about our “back to school” relaxation package!

Donna Marsh is membership services director at Ultima Fitness in Wellington.