This week one of my clients was feeling very stressed when we met, due to a very heavy work load. She told me how she had come home from work one day and absent-mindedly put her key in the bin! We laughed about this but it shows how her overloaded brain was not coping. We went ahead with the session even though she felt like cancelling, and reduced the intensity. I asked her a day later if she felt the exercise had helped or added to her stress. Here is what she said :
“Before the session I felt heavy and sluggish and didn’t even relish running up and down the stairs let alone anything else. I think the impact of missing a session the week before was greater than I had realised with my current work/stress levels. I think the exercise combined with laughter was a great boost. It is important that I try to remember that, so that during the week if I can even do 5 or 10 minutes here and there may help. On Thursday I achieved a lot and was probably more efficient as a result of the session.
I realise that I am running at total capacity. I feel that if I can even have a little exercise I may be able to claw back some energy as well as the feeling of [being] able to cope. For me it is a more short-term boost rather than long term at the moment, but my working hours are extraordinary at the moment and prior to this I believe the exercise was more of a long-term help. That is why it is important to carry on because our sessions make me realise how far I have already come in improving my general levels of fitness and stamina and I don’t want to lose that.
Yesterday at Wimbledon I ran up every flight of steps we went up just to snatch every opportunity!”
Thanks go to my client for her valuable response to my question of whether exercise can help when you’re overly stressed.