I’ve been wondering lately, when did stressed out and exhausted become the norm? Has it always been this way or is it a relatively recent phenomenon in this do-it-all, have-it-all era?

In our quest to be the best wife/ mum/ daughter/ partner/ boss/ colleague/ friend/ community member we can be, it seems like most of us have ended up strung out, stressed out and spent.

We use coffee or chocolate or wine (most likely all three) to get us through the day, then hope we can scrape together enough sleep to get through our impossibly long to-do list the next. And the next. And the one after that.

Our health suffers, our relationships suffer and our happiness suffers. But we keep up the hectic pace because we’ve got Stuff To Do, dammit!

I was talking to one of the mums who trains with us the other day (I won’t name names – because this could be any one of us at any given time). She’d missed a couple of sessions because she hadn’t been feeling 100%. But after talking to her for a while it was obvious she had also been under a fair bit of stress with work and family, so she’d been drinking more than usual and her eating hadn’t been great and all in all she felt pretty crappy. Stressed out and overwrought and as though she was dropping balls left, right and centre.

And although she knew that getting to training would help her feel better and less stressed, she admitted that when things got too overwhelming, exercise was often the first thing to go (full points for honesty).

And that’s the vicious cycle we can find ourselves in. The very things that are going to improve our mood and state of mind (exercise, eating well, sleep) are the ones we seem to sacrifice when things get hectic – i.e., at the time we need them most!

You probably don’t have to escape to a week-long yoga and meditation retreat to achieve some inner peace (although I’m sure that would help!) but a little more sleep, a little less wine (yep, sorry!), a little more exercise and a little less processed food are all steps in the right direction.

Boxing is one of my favourite ways to reduce stress. There’s nothing like repeatedly slamming your fists into a target to help you feel powerful, in control and on top of things! I was quoted in an article in The Sun-Herald on the weekend about the numerous physical and mental health benefits of boxing, especially for women. If you want to read more, you can find the full story here.

I’m the first to admit I’m a work in progress myself when it comes to reducing stress (yesterday I ate lunch in the car at 4.30pm because I forgot to make time to eat – very out of character!) but I’m getting a little better. Besides training and playing sport, I’m trying to make more time for things I know will reduce my stress levels – acupuncture (thanks Gina!), massage, sleep, baking, time with friends and family – and spend less time rushing from one thing to the next. At least that’s the goal. Maybe I’ll just add it to my to-do list…

Hope to see you all at training!

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