Instead of punching something, do this instead

Mondays for me are frequently busy, tending to orders, customer requests, a too-full inbox and dogs zooming around like crazy things. This last Monday was all that and more. Not only were there customer requests, there were also customer complaints, website links not working, and a learning curve on a new mailing program that had me stymied. To say it was frustrating is an understatement. It’s impossible to be productive when we’re under major stress, and we know that stress can compromise our immune system. So, instead of punching something to release my frustration, I took a walk.

Instead of punching something, get physical

Use exercise to release stress instead of punching something

Releasing energy with physical activity is a great way to deal with frustration. I didn’t have time for an intense workout, but I could clear my head with a walk around the block. It was not a long walk, as the temperature was well below freezing and somewhat icy, and even bundled up it was still chilly. So my walk didn’t last long, but I burned a few calories and released some frustration. When I returned to my desk, my head was clearer and I was able to solve a couple of problems.

Exercise helps you handle other stress better

In fact, it’s been found that exercise helps to prevent anger. In a study done a few years ago, people who exercised were “less prone to anger and aggressive tendencies.” One theory as to why this may occur is that while we exercise, we put our bodies under prolonged beneficial stress. After exercise, our bodies are more able to handle other stresses.

Another possibility is that when you’re exercising, you’re putting the stressor on a back burner. You’re not thinking about the thing that got you angry in the first place, and stepping away for a while can help you put it in better perspective. So instead of punching something, you’re stepping away from it.

Replace stress with calm

And Harvard Health Publishing advocates certain autoregulating exercise techniques to help “replace the spiral of stress with a cycle of repose.” These techniques include breathing exercises which are similar to forms of meditation. Practicing progressive muscular relaxation  (tightening and releasing sequential muscle groups) works too, but takes longer to learn.

So instead of punching something when you’re angry or frustrated, try one of these techniques. You may be happier afterward, and your family definitely will be.

Give your body what it needs

You may say, “Oh, I don’t need a lot. I’m happy with the way things are.” But what you really mean is, “I eat healthy and get the nutrition I need within my calorie allotment. I move my body the way the AHA and CDC recommends. I give my brain all the stimulation it could possibly need.” But, is this really true?

It’s a lot. And if it really is true, that’s fantastic! But let’s take each of these individually to see if you do give your body what it needs.


I’m no expert, but I know that if I eat my 3 squares a day, load up my plate with lots of veggies and legumes, a little meat, and not nearly as much potatoes or pasta as I like, I’ll be eating well. I’ll probably be within my recommended calorie range. I’ll be getting enough protein, enough fiber, and enough vitamins and minerals to keep my body fueled. Of course, I also add in a bit of chocolate to keep me happy. You’ll want to check with your doctor or a nutritionist, but I’ll bet they’ll tell you pretty much the same thing.


You’ve heard it from me before. The Heart Association recommends 150 minutes per week of moderate aerobic activity, and even more strength work. How you get those minutes in is up to you. You know you’ll want to keep your workouts fun – because that keeps your motivation up. But, if you don’t exactly enjoy your workouts, but you know you have to keep it up, what do you do? You might want to hop on the “Cozy Cardio” bandwagon. That’s making your environment appealing. If you walk or run on a treadmill, or use a stationary bike, that’s a great way for your workouts to be more inviting. Listen to an exciting audiobook, like I do when I run, or watch a favorite TV show while you exercise. You’ll enjoy the ambiance, if not the workout.


And when you exercise, you’re also feeding your brain! Vigorous exercise improves your memory, makes you happier, more resilient and helps you sleep better. 

Put like that, it’s not too much to give your body what it needs.

Make it easy to track it all every day using your Fitness Journal and Tracker!

Why can’t I do the same workout every day

The first step in beginning a fitness regimen is finding an exercise program that you like. I’ve said that a lot. Because if you don’t like it, you won’t do it. Simple as that. If you have a program that gets you on your feet, gets you moving, and you actually look forward to it, then why in the world wouldn’t you do it every day? You’ve got built-in motivation, so get to it, right? Now you’re saying that’s a bad idea? Why can’t I do the same workout every day? Here are some answers, prompted by personal trainer and fitness nutrition specialist Rachel Trotta with my own comments thrown in. And my own article about cross-training may have some ideas for you, too.

First, remember to recover

Our bodies need time to recover. When we work our muscles intensely, they need time to recover and get stronger. So if you love to run and want to run everyday (I don’t understand this, but I know many people do), try to find something else that you love for alternating days. If you emphasize strength workouts, try to work different parts of your body every other day. 

But if, like the series that I like, your workout program actually does target different areas of your body on different days, you may not need to do a different program. If you’ve found an instructor that you really like, that’s terrific. Try to find different programs that target different areas to mix up your workouts.

The dreaded plateau

If you do the same workout every day, your body gets used to the movements and you’ll hit a plateau. Your body is great at adapting, but that’s not what you want when you exercise. In order to get stronger, or leaner, or improve our cardio response, we need to keep progressing in our workouts. Lift a little more, or do more difficult moves.

The boredom factor

Why can't I do the same workout every day?

No matter how much you like a workout program at the beginning, if you repeat it too much, you will get bored and you’ll lose your motivation. It’s the same thing with your favorite foods. Eat the same thing every single day and you’ll get bored with it and look for something new and exciting. I think that’s one reason we find it hard to stick to a restrictive eating plan. If you stick with it, you’re bound to lose weight, for example, but we want variety. Same thing with our workouts. If we do the same workout every day, we’ll get sick of it.

Over-exercise may result

And doing the same workout every day may result in over-exercise. Over-doing a move may result in injury. Or, if you’re merely going through the moves without focusing on them, you won’t get the full benefit.

So what’s the solution?

If I can’t do the same workout every day, what do I do? As I said before, if you’re streaming workouts and have found an instructor you really like, look for other programs that they do. While you’re enjoying that instructor’s workouts, also look for other programs you think you might enjoy and try them out. Also, try something totally different. You might like that too.

Fill up your sleep balloon

I heard an interesting story on the radio as I was driving to various errands the other day. We’re all feeling a little discombobulated right now because we’re not getting the proper sleep. At the holidays we enjoy get-togethers with friends and family, which is great, but we tend to lose sleep, eat more unhealthy foods and drink more alcoholic beverages than usual. We also tend to sit around more and not be as active as we should be. And now we’re feeling the consequences of not getting the proper sleep. So we need to fill up our sleep balloon.

Sleep balloon? Sounds weird

Joanna Kippax, a Sleep Hygienist, has floated the idea of a sleep balloon being the key to getting a good night’s sleep. Kippax noted in her work with kids diagnosed as having Attention Deficit Disorder that many symptoms were alleviated once proper sleep habits were put into place. 

So how do you fill up your sleep balloon?

Picture this: you wake up and your sleep balloon is all deflated. So you wake up and open your shades to the morning sun. You’ve started already! Soaking in some daylight is a key component of getting a good night’s sleep. 

Fill your day with social interaction and activity. Meet with friends. But also get in your exercise. Exercise is crucial to our sleep health. And even if you had a bad night, don’t take it easy the next day. Follow your usual routine. Get the exercise you need. And don’t be tempted to take a nap. That will just make it more difficult to get a good night’s sleep the following day.

Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. Routine is key. We’re creatures of habit, and a regular sleep routine is a very healthy habit to have.

Got a full sleep balloon? Go to sleep

If you’ve done all the right things and you’re exhausted at your regular bed time, then it’s time to go to sleep. To fill up your sleep balloon is a key to healthy aging. You’ve recognized the importance of a good night’s sleep and, therefore, prioritized it. You’re on the way to more happiness and resilience. With good sleep, you’ll be able to handle life’s stresses.