What Bar Do You Go to When You’re Stressed Out?
There’s nothing like a trip to the bar to help blow off some steam after a rough day.
That probably comes as a bit of a surprise for regular readers of my blog, but it’s true. Everyone needs an outlet to feel better about a mentally draining day.
The Type of Bar You Use to Blow Off Steam Can Make a Huge Difference in Your Health
But let’s not forget that there are many different kinds of bars to choose from when you want to blow off steam. The quality of the bar you select may make a world of difference for how your body responds to stress hormones. Let’s take a look.
A few weeks ago, a friend invited me out because he just needed a drink after a tough day’s work. I obliged and hung out with him so he can vent for a couple hours. Going to get a drink once in a while after a rough day can take someone out of that stress physiology. It feels good.
Of course, no one needs to be told that long term drinking is bad for your health, but just to reiterate:
Alcohol as a long term solution for coping with stress is a bad idea. The full relaxation effect of alcohol comes at doses that lead to being drunk. As you drink more, the dosage must expand with tolerance which is usually the cycle that leads to alcoholism.
The Candy Bar
The most common, yet most underestimated go to bar for stress is our desire for sugar. The hormone stimulating effects of sugar are as powerful as many medications. We are evolutionarily wired to pursue sugar in times of stress, because stress usually means we are using a great deal of energy to escape a dangerous situation.
However, most of the things that stress us out these days are actually things that use very little energy. We get stressed most often while sitting at a desk trying to get a deadline, or seated in traffic that might make us late for an important meeting.
Suddenly, we start pounding all of these sources for sugar, and our metabolism and fat storing abilities get overwhelmed. The Candy Bar may be our greatest enemy when it comes to stress management.
My favorite bar to go to is the Bar-bell. Now it’s my own personal favorite source of stress relief, but I have the distinct advantage of loving gym time. Many times, it’s the best part of my day. However, is it manageable for people that don’t like going to the gym?
We all know that exercise has tremendous benefits, and you don’t need another blog to tell you what those benefits are. What you do need to know is how to set your life up to do exercise when all you want to do is drink, eat, or watch TV.
- It doesn’t have to be the gym
- Your exercise doesn’t have to be directed exercise. It just needs to be something that gets you moving. It could be the gym. It could be gardening. It could be dancing. It could be playing with your dog. Pick something and do it for 20 minutes and get your heart rate going.
- It doesn’t have to be long
- Your exercise doesn’t have to be long. There are many times after a stressful day where I’m there for 10 minutes and I’m done. But if you’re going to make it short, then make sure you’re working hard when you’re doing it.
- Treat yourself after you’re done
- You took the time to bust your butt after a hard day. You should celebrate with a small reward to make your accomplishment feel better. Movements like Carb Backloading provide some anecdotal evidence that getting some sugar in after HARD exercise doesn’t have the same negative impact as eating sugar at other times.For me, it means I get to have my favorite chocolate smoothie or a post workout cookie. The truth is, that it makes me feel like I earned my sugary treat rather than used it as an escape.
I don’t know if this kind of advice will help you, but this is what I do for myself to develop consistency with my exercise routine. Leave a comment and let me know what your thoughts are.
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Dr. Chung is a practicing Structural Chiropractor in the West Palm Beach area. He has been published in peer reviewed scientific journals and is a sought after speaker in health and wellness. Follow his blog at http://chiropractorwellington.com/category/keystone-chiropractic-blog/ or find him on twitter at @drjonathanchung