How Do You Survive Hell Week?

How Do You Survive Hell Week? / Alessandra Edwards

Last week I survived hell week.

Not the truly tragic kind such as the recent events in New Zealand but the stressful kind nonetheless, where everyone in the household except me was sick, NBN was installed, ironically leaving us without internet connection, a client brought forward a scheduled training AND I lost my phone for a day.

Hardly headline news.

A 2,000 people survey by fitness app Freeletics found that on average we have 60 bad days per year. That’s almost a week per month where we’re confronted by unpredictable, uncontrollable events that have the potential to skyrocket our stress levels, disrupt our sleep and ruffle feathers at home and work.

Most of my clients tell me that despite their best intentions to put their head down, keep it together and tell themselves that this too shall pass, hell week invariably leaves them depleted, deflated and derailed – often for a fortnight afterwards.

That’s a lot of days to be performing at half-mast.

I reckon the problem is that we’re going about hell week all wrong. We’re so focussed on ‘survival mode’ that we don’t even realise that the problem is not hell week per se. The problem is that we enter a high-intensity period already in deficit.

One thing I know for sure. On those occasions when I manage to go into hell week with my ultra-wellness armour on as a result of several weeks of good sleep, regular exercise, high nutrient diet, and regular social connection behind me I come out of it with a sense of elation and accomplishment as opposed to exhaustion.

And since we cannot predict when hell week’s going to hit next, my recommendation is that you start planning your self-care as if you were due one any minute now.