Focus on the Whole Team: Staying Healthy and Fit during Times of Distress

September 5th, 2017 | by Walt Whitfield
Focus on the Whole Team: Staying Healthy and Fit during Times of Distress


While watching the Hurricane Harvey news coverage, I thought back to 2005 when my family dealt with Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita. I realized that everyone handles situations of distress differently. Now, I’m not in any way paralleling what those in the Houston area are going through to what others perceive as distress.  So with that understanding, here are a few tips to staying healthy and fit during tough times.

Stick to Your Plan

My favorite sports quote is from World Champion Boxer Mike Tyson. He said, “Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” Although he is speaking of rival boxers, I can’t help seeing a parallel with people during times of distress. It may seem hard during tough times but it is important to stick to your plan. If you have been on a daily workout schedule, stick to that schedule. At the least, continue working out at the times you typically do even if you must cut down on the total duration of the workout.

Eat to Build the Immune System

Within every athletic building, there are always the handful of employees who fully understand the department’s objectives. They keep the department on track during the worst of times. Within the human body, your immune system is the key to staying on track. Stress can do a number on the body. To counter the effects of stress, it is important to consume fruits and vegetables that are antioxidant dense. Foods such as green leafy vegetables, blueberries, and various nuts are great choices. Fuel your body right, and it will react accordingly.  

Find Ways to Mentally Relax

Competition, work, and life can weigh one down. They all have aspects that are hard to deal with at times. Stress can come from either. Sometimes from all at the same time. Find ways to mentally relax. Meditation is a great form of relaxation. I have never met anyone who didn’t find meditation a positive experience. Other forms include yoga, rhythmic moving, deep breathing, and positive visualization. Find the one that takes you the furthest away mentally from your situation.

Don’t be Afraid to Ask for Help

The old saying is that sport is “90% mental, 10% physical.” When dealing with stress, the same goes. Unfortunately, some people are beaten only by the mental aspect of stress. Stress has a way of inhibiting one’s ability to think clearly. They have the characteristics to overcome the situation but don’t believe in themselves. Even more so, they isolate themselves. It is important in times of stress to ask for help. There are professionals. There are friends and family. And there are co-workers. Many of us are willing to listen.

Everyone deals with stressful times in life or work. It is important to continue your healthy habits during the tough times. Find ways to stick to your plan even if you must take a minimalist approach on time. Fuel your immune system to stay strong. Relax in ways that fully gets your mind off the stress. And if needed, ask for help. Tough times will pass, but will you pass through tough times?

Walt Whitfield About Walt Whitfield
Walter Whitfield is an employee wellness consultant and founder of Lavoro Workplace Wellness where he helps businesses improve their workplace through employee wellness strategies. He has worked with corporations like Chevron, BP, and Seadrill. Walter is a former college athlete for Louisiana’s Ragin Cajuns where he competed in cross country and track, winning Sunbelt conference titles in the 3k Steeplechase and 5k. He is married, has 3 kids, and loves all things New Orleans Saints and Louisiana’s Ragin Cajuns.

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