Track Your Stress and Resilience to Become a Happier, Healthier Human

August 24, 2018

OK, so you’ve colored in your Life Map (PDF below) and learned a bit more about your perceptions of your deep health. Now what?

 

*Click the image above to download the web as a PDF

 

Take a look at your colored in Life Map. Do you notice any patterns? For example, are you lacking in general in any categories (i.e. all or most of the Work and Hobbies section is less colored in than most other categories)? Or are there outliers (ie. only the work-life balance wedge is low when all of the rest of the Work and Hobbies section is high)? Is your entire web colored in (crushin’ it) or depressingly void of color (gettin’ crushed)? Looking at your Life Map can help you see where you perceive you’re doing well (or not). (Notice I said "perceive." To the outside world, things might seem fine and dandy. Only you know what's really going on with your life.)

 

Resilience and Stress

Now it’s time to analyze your resilience. Resilience is your (and your body’s) ability to deal with, adapt to, and recover from a stressor. Stressors can be acute (like a tough workout) or chronic (like overtraining). Stressors can also be good (like planning a wedding) or bad (like planning a funeral). Stressors can be physical (like a sprained ankle) or mental (like upcoming mid-term exams) or emotional (like a break up). What all stressors have in common is that they create emotional or physical wear-and-tear. If you’re resilient, that wear and tear won’t become permanent damage. Instead, it’ll make you stronger.

 

*Click the image above to download the web as a PDF

 

Color in the Resilience Web to find out which types of resilience you excel at and which could use some improvement. For example, are you naturally Open to Change? If so, a job offer in another city won’t send you into a stress spiral. Are you struggling to have a Growth Mindset? If so, every time you (perceive you) fail at something, you’re likely to beat yourself up about it, creating even more stress. If your Parasympathetic-Sympathetic Balance is out of whack, you might be constantly in a state of fight or flight.

 

Not everyone responds to stress in the same way and, within each individual, people respond differently to different types of stress. It can help to understand what scenarios tend to stress you out the most and what scenarios seem to roll off your back. Guess, what! There’s a map for that!

 

 *Click the image above to download the web as a PDF

 

Fill in the Stress Web to find out which types of stress seem to affect you the most. For example, are you caught in a pit of despair? You might be feeling some Psycho-Spiritual stress. Did you recently move to another part of the world and feel both alone and confused? You might be feeling Social and Cultural stress. Your Stress Web can change drastically depending on your life’s circumstances, so hang in there!

 

Drawing Connections

Now that you’ve had some soothing coloring time, it’s time to look for connections among the three webs. Notice that when you look at my filled-in webs (pictured below), I am not very satisfied with my work-life balance and recovery (Life Web), but I’m also pretty stressed about money (Stress Web). Since I’m not great at doing what matters, consistently (Resilience Web), and I feel that my endurance and capacity can be better (Resilience Web), I often feel stressed about and exhausted by the amount of work I have to do. Then, since I don’t feel great about my emotional health and self-regulation (Resilience Web), I eat poorly, don't get enough sleep, etc. (Stress Web). This in turn affects my physical/athletic performance and my body composition and metabolic health (Life Web). So, it’s possible that if I worked on my work-life balance, which might also improve my friendship and joy measures (Life Web), all my problems would be solved. Well, except that really stressful financial circumstance (Stress Web).

 

 

 

Whew! Just writing that out was stressful! Since I still need to pay my bills and I actually love my job, I’m probably not going to cut back at work anytime soon. So, one thing I can do is create a reasonable schedule for myself. If I can stick to a schedule, which includes workout time and relaxation time, then perhaps I’ll feel better able to do what matters, consistently, and I won’t feel so overwhelmed.

 

The goal here isn’t to beat yourself up for your (perceived) short-comings. (Remember the lessons on self-compassion?) The goal is to take a look at what you’re going through now and figure out where you can make changes you can control. So, if you’ve moved to a new city and you’re lonely, maybe it makes sense to join a group of people who are interested in the same things you’re into. Like a book club. Or a dodgeball team. If your emotional and mental stressors are through the roof, maybe you should consider talking to a counselor

 

Before you can figure out what changes to make, though, you need to understand what’s really going on. So get mapping!

 

If you fill in your maps and want to share, follow Fitness for Feminists on Facebook or Instagram. Tag us on FB posts or include the hashtag #FFFLifeMaps on your IG posts.

 

Interested in a coach who wants to treat you as a whole person rather than a series of symptoms? Find out more about my services.
 

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