Health and recovery efforts from stress

Homeowner/Board member of the Year, 2017
Homeowner/Board member of the Year, 2017

The stress of four years on the Board of Directors at my condominium association, as well as corporate President, took quite a toll on my physical & psychological health. As several professionals I dealt with through those four years have said, “No good deed goes unpunished”.

Some of the residents made sure their underlying dissent was voiced on a regular basis. Keeping a positive mental attitude and an upbeat demeanor was as much of the work as managing our property and running the business side of a non-profit corporation with an annual budget of nearly a million dollars and an asset value of over $40 million.

Now that I am no longer on the Board nor the corporate President, I have time to rest, rejuvenate my psyche and my physical health. The hard stop, from actively managing the property and running the business, is rather like coming to an abrupt halt when hitting a brick wall while going 200 miles per hour (with your hair on fire).  It was, well, just that….abrupt. The first month was hard. In those four years, I probably cared too much about community, the business and its assets.

The second month has still been stress-filled with allegation, innuendo and just plain nastiness from a group of people I, unfortunately, have to call my neighbors. But I have started to recover some of my old interests and an upbeat attitude towards my current retirement.

Website - Chicago Theater and Arts (dot) com
Website – Chicago Theater and Arts (dot) com

I was fortunate to have a previous client who needed a new website done (allowing my creativity to be once again tapped). Go check out Dining Out – Eating In.  In the past I had created Travel Smart With Jodie and Chicago Theater and Arts for her.  Check all these out. And if you are traveling to Chicago, her theater and arts blog is amazing!

Website - dining out - eating in (dot) com
Website – dining out – eating in (dot) com

The biggest thing I have done for myself is to start walking every week day morning on the treadmill.  Back in 2014 and 2015, my husband and I walked nearly every day. The last time we did a “brat trot” event (3.1 miles or 5K), with some pretty steep hills, we clocked in at 17 minutes per mile. For a couple of “old fogies” that was not bad. It would be great to achieve that kind of stamina again.

My daily goal of 10,000 steps is being achieved on a fairly regular basis….except on weekends when I tend to “veg out”.  Some days I achieve nearly 15,000 steps. This is a worthy effort. A 3.5 mph pace is also very important to the process. I try to achieve that for at least 40 minutes of my 60 minute treadmill time each day.  The incline is at 2.5% grade, so that pace is a challenge for me. I start at 2.5MPH for 10 minutes, move up to 3.0MPH for 10 minutes and then crank it to 3.5MPH (incline stays consistent). In the boredom that sometimes sets in on the treadmill, I have now learned my stride is 20 steps per .01 miles or 200 steps in a tenth of a mile (2000 steps in a mile). I am consistent on the treadmill.  I am not that consistent on the streets.

I am not taking off the pounds I have packed on during the most stress-filled times, but I think my health is benefitting. I need to rebuild my stamina as I intend to be doing a small amount of traveling in the next couple of years. Being in shape makes the enjoyment of visiting new (and old) places a much better experience. My husband, being 3-4 years younger than me, can be a challenge for me to keep up with. He has continued through this stressful four years to walk at lunchtime through downtown Seattle and that makes his stamina stronger over all.

One of the things that has helped me endure the treadmill hour (initially it was a novelty, but that soon wore off and is now a “job”) has been the Great Courses Daily podcast on Food: A Cultural Culinary History Podcast. 36 lectures of roughly 30 minutes each. Two of those and my hour is done. I have learned from the Professor Ken Albala about the history of food and how it has evolved through the centuries:

Presented by Professor Ken Albala
I teach about food, I write about food, I love to cook, I read about food for leisure—what better recipe is there for happiness than to make work and play completely seamless? 
Dr. Ken Albala is an award-winning Professor of History and Chair of Food Studies at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California. He is also a Visiting Professor at Boston University, where he teaches an advanced food history course in the gastronomy program. He has written or edited over 24 books on food.

I have been really enthralled by the stories and the education I have received from those lectures.  I am a self-proclaimed “foodie” so this set of lectures was right down my alley. They certainly keep my mind engaged while I stride the miles away.

Comment below to the techniques you use to recover from stress or to stay in shape. I would love to hear from you.