Pilates for managing stress and anxiety – A fresh perspective

julie doing pilates for stress and anxiety

This blog post on pilates for managing stress and anxiety – a fresh perspective, is brought to you as part of National Stress Awareness Month.

I’ve been sharing some tips on my Instagram stories all around small shifts I’ve made to help me manage stress and anxiety on a daily basis. I like to think of it as a fresh, yet simple perspective, on the fight against stress

Back pain is what brought me to pilates, but the underlying cause of that back pain was stress, caused by years of not listening to my body when I was in the corporate world.

It took me a LONG time to work that out, and it’s only been in the last 5 years that I’ve joined all the dots together and started to turn things around. Up until that point all I was doing, was going round and round in a stress cycle, feeling tired, irritable, tense and low on energy all of the time.

Sound familiar?

Small changes, big impact

Pilates was a catalyst to me becoming so much more intentional with my health, but the surprising thing was finding out just how much of a BIG impact SMALL changes can actually have.

It has been the accumulation of these small changes that have made the biggest difference to my stress levels and how I feel each day.

So much so, that part of my morning routine is now actually all about asking myself that very question – how do I want to feel –  and then planning my day in a way that supports this. 

It is this concept of ‘how do I want to feel,’ that underpins The Lifetonic Club.

And here’s the really magical thing, the more you ask this question, the more you’ll start to notice the things that are taking you away from how you want to feel, especially those things that add stress and anxiety to your life.  It has been a real game changer for me.

The surprising question to ask yourself daily

There is growing evidence that subjective health is becoming one of the best predictors of long term health – asking questions like ‘how do I feel’ and ‘does this work for me’ and using them as a guide to shape the things around you, instead of fitting into a rigid plan.

This approach has worked especially well for me because it opened my eyes to the fact that our health doesn’t start and stop – there is no on the wagon / off the wagon when it comes to your health, it’s always on-going; shifting and changing with the different seasons and experiences we find ourselves in. 

This realisation has led me to have a more flexible approach to my health, which in turn has led me to understand my own personal drivers of stress and how I can then take quick action to control them better. 

Pilates for stress relief

For me, I’ve let go of the fact that I need to spend 60 minutes working out to get relief from the feelings of stress and anxiety.  Through many years of experimenting and trying every fitness regime in the book,  there is now nothing that lowers my cortisol levels and increases my endorphins faster than a 15 minute pilates workout.

Pilates can be incredibly powerful in providing a place for the body to relax, rejuvenate and release tension. It also provides a space for the mind to focus and become present in the moment.  The Pilates principle, breath, oxygenates the blood which triggers the brain to calm down. The breath creates a physiological response in the body that naturally decreases our stress and anxiety.

How stress manifests

Stress can manifest itself in your body in many ways from headaches, stomach aches, digestive issues, back pain, muscle tension, dizziness, even rashes and skin disorders. Stress compromises your immune system, disrupts your sleep, and creates tension in relationships. Stress leads to weight gain.

One of the best things we can do for our health is to better understand our health on an on-going basis, remain flexible with it and track our stress drivers so as we can get ahead of the game and manage them proactively.

For me, stress can often leave me super low on energy, particularly if I’ve been working on a big project for my business, so if I want to feel more energetic, then I‘ll make sure that I open my day with an affirmation that anchors this feeling for me; something like “energy flows to and through me.”  

I’ll select a short pilates routine from the TLC Bodytonic Library that has an energetic theme to it (our rejuvenation flow workout has been my go to for April) and I’ll make sure that my snacks for the day are going to boost my energy naturally instead of double dosing on caffeine and sugar.  

Mid-afternoon, I’ll whip up something like the strawberry almond protein smoothie from our TLC recipe bundles.

julie working at the laptop

On another day, I might feel that I need more focus or calm, so I’ll follow a similar process but maybe add in a bit of journaling, or a Guided Relaxation from the Mindtonic Library.

Simple but powerful changes that I flex and change as my stress levels and feelings of anxiety dictate.

For more, you can always read this article I wrote where I shared 5 quick and easy ways to relax and reduce stress.

Shortly I start my coaching certification in Stress Management and Wellbeing so as I can continue to develop The Lifetonic Club into a resource that will truly educate, support and transform your health; pilates but SO much more.

Pilates for managing stress and anxiety on YouTube

My latest YouTube video is in support of National Stress Awareness Month.  It’s a short but effective routine all about staying present and reconnecting to yourself – essential when you feel like everything else around you is out of control, which is in keeping with the theme of National Stress Awareness Month.

Find that 15 minutes for yourself and lower those stress levels now.

I would love it if you could leave a comment or thumbs up if you enjoy it.

It really does help me to keep making other useful videos for our community.

Love Julie

P.S. If you’re interested in trying pilates to lower your stress levels for yourself, then I created my FREE 21 Day Pilates Challenge especially for this reason. You’ll get a 10 minute video sent straight to your inbox for 21 days. All you need to do is roll out your mat at a time that suits you. You can sign up below to get started today…

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Meet Julie

Hi, I’m Julie, owner of Ostara Pilates and blogger at Ostara Living. Here you’ll find pilates workouts, practical resources and inspiration to help you build a realistic wellness routine. I’ll show you how to prioritise your health in ways that fit neatly into your day and easily into your life. No shame, guilt or crazy diets, just simple & stress free ways to take care of yourself and feel great every single day! Read More…

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