We face a lot of different stressors throughout the day. Feeling hurried, general stress, mental and social pressure, a constant flow of stimuli, physical load, and unhealthy lifestyle habits all consume the body’s resources. But so do excitement and other positive emotions, stimulating work, and fun hobbies.
The overall load of life consists of all the physical, psychological, social, and cognitive factors and stressors that our mind and body encounter.
Are my resources increasing or decreasing?
Firstbeat Life allows you to monitor your overall load with the Body Resources graph. It shows if your body’s resources are increasing or decreasing during the days you measure. In other words, revealing if load and recovery are in balance.
Resources are consumed as a result of stress or any kind of load and built back up during recovery. It is completely normal for your body’s resources to decrease during the day, but they should bounce back during sleep to at least to the starting level.
The most important function of sleep is to replenish the resources that were used up during the day, but this requires that you get enough sleep – of high enough quality – in relation to the amount of load that you experience during the day. Moments of daytime recovery also help you balance the overall load.
Excessive load depletes your body’s resources
If your overall load is constantly too much versus your ability to recover then resources are not replenished and you can end up in a state of overload. Your energy levels, well-being, and ability to cope are challenged. In this situation, you should try to lighten your load, skip something in your diary that is not essential, and find extra time for rest and sufficient sleep. High-quality nutrition also helps boost your body’s resources.
Long-term depletion of resources can eventually lead to exhaustion or illness. It’s good to remember that even if none of your daily stress factors are excessive by themselves, the overall load can be too much if the day is simply “packed full”. There is always the point where a single piece of straw will break the camel’s back.
You can improve your ability to recover
Luckily, you can influence your ability to recover and handle stress. A healthy lifestyle and good nutrition, good physical fitness, and restorative sleep will build up your resources over time and determine how much stress and load you can handle.
Your ability to recover is better when you are fit, and nutrition affects your resources as well. If you eat too little, or the nutrient content of your food is low, your body will not have enough energy to deal with life’s demands, which can lead to fatigue and overload.
The mind influences our body’s resources more than we think, too. For example, constant mental stress from moments of fear, anxiety, and worry can put a heavy strain on us all. Conversely, positive emotions and feeling happy can help build our resources.
In addition to a healthy lifestyle, it is good to periodically reflect and take stock on your life and values. Is your life meaningful and purposeful – if not, what are the main factors that impact the quality of your life negatively, and what is something that you could do about it? Even just a small adjustment or change can make a difference.
Firstbeat Life shows when to step on the gas and when it’s time to brake
When load and recovery are in balance we sleep better, feel more energized to handle the different stressors that belong to life, and can enjoy things that are important to us. It is normal that some days are going to be more stressful than others but, in the long run, we should not be constantly tired. We should be aiming to be thriving instead of just surviving.
It’s useful to monitor how you are coping and check in on your resources periodically and in different life situations. The Body Resources graph in Firstbeat Life can help with this by showing when resources are increasing or decreasing, and where the trend is heading. It visualizes when it’s ok to keep going and step on the gas, and when it’s smarter to step on the brakes and focus on recovery.
Would you like to know how your body resources change during the day? Firstbeat Life is currently available only as part of corporate wellness solutions. Let your employer know about Firstbeat Life by sharing this link.
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