Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Navigating The Psychological Effects of Hurricane Sandy

Hurricane Sandy has torn through much of the Eastern seaboard, leaving massive destruction (such as that seen below right) in its wake and millions of people without electricity and water. The physical aftermath is staggering, yet quantifiable.

Courtesy: The Examiner
However, measuring its psychological effects are nebulous guesstimates at best. One effect is that many people are feeling stir crazy, the need to get out of their homes and do something. Many offices and public gathering places are closed, leaving many to simply wander about the town in search of some activity.

A more productive use of your time is going to workout at your local gym. It can be a great and safe physical and psychological outlet in these times. You can remain active, and relieve nervous energy and stress that you may have accumulated from being stuck inside for many hours.

Here are some simple things that you can do to navigate the post Sandy gym crowd and obviate additional stress:

Courtesy: Well and Good NYC
1. Embrace the crowd. There will be more people going to the gym now, since many don't have to, or can't get to work. By having realistic expectations about the amount of additional people you will encounter, you can decrease your chances of feeling extra stress.

Ayala Sherman, a development associate in New York City, took advantage of the day off to go to Equinox. She expected more people to show up, and in fact "the yoga class was nuts!", noting that the "class was double the normal size".

2. Use the buddy system. Whether you are a newbie, or simply want company, work out with a friend or use a trainer. During these times, many trainers will often give you a complimentary 60 minute or 30 minute session. Inquire at your gym to get further information.

3. Reflect, in the moment. Most of us "lead lives of quiet desperation" and fill each day and every hour with myriad activities that keep us occupied, but free of reflection. These activities can often make us lose sight of more important things in life, such as friends and family.

So when someone grabs the last spot in your yoga class, or the bench or weight that you were heading for, simply shrug it off. Reflect on the relative insignificance of that event, and how much you have to be thankful for.

By following these three tips, you can avoid extra stress and have an enjoyable gym experience. Keep the hard work up, and the stress down!


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