It’s been one of the busiest months ever. In the past few months I have moved not just houses, not just countries but continents among many, many other things! It has been difficult to maintain my usual routines. Workouts have started and stopped, meals have been skipped (shock, horror) and above all, sleep has been missed. It’s been a real struggle to stop and take a breath at times.
Interestingly, it has been a theme that has been surfacing with many of my clients at the same time. It’s summer, social lives take over, work gets in the way, visitors descend and the stress of ‘undoing’ hard work and gaining weight pops in. At times like these it is easy to panic and feel the all too familiar slipping of control, guilt, negative self-talk and general self-doubt creeping in.
Here are a few practical steps you can take to limit stress and control damage:
- Give yourself a break: Yes it’s that simple. Try not to get caught up in the mental torture of being a slave to your diet. We are creating a healthy way of life that works for YOU. There are no hard and fast rules. Enjoy spending time with your loved ones without counting every calorie, feeling guilty for touching the chocolate cake and skipping the odd workout. Decide to allow yourself to live a little. It is in this space that we create for ourselves that we can learn what does and does not work for us. Mentally torturing ourselves DOES NOT SERVE us!
- Make good decisions where you can: It is not always easy in social situations to make good decisions and THAT’S OK! But there is often a way we can work something healthy into the meal, drink a little less, work some activity in with friends and family. Just making one good decision almost always leads to another! This is how amazing habits are formed despite our situation! Use it to learn from.
- Learn to say no: Perhaps you are surrounded by ‘pushers’ of drink and food, perhaps people are demanding more of your time than you have to give or perhaps you are just putting too much pressure on yourself. Whatever your reasons for getting off balance, saying ‘no’ is a powerful weapon against over extending yourself. In order to regain our balance, it is important to create some barriers in order to make the time for ourselves to come back onto the priority list.
- Reassess your situation: In order to become overwhelmed, at some point we have found ourselves further down the priority list than we should be. We get bumped down this list and stress is our body’s way of telling us we are sinking. Ask yourself ‘When everything is going well and I feel in control, where am I on my list of priorities? Am I eating well? Exercising regularly? Making time for a regular practice such as meditation?’ Figure out where you are on your list when things are going well. I bet you are a lot closer to the top of that list when you are not stressed. Next, try to figure out the areas of your stressful life now, that you find yourself coming second, third or even lower? What can you do to bring yourself back into focus?
- Bring yourself back into focus: Often stress leads to lack of sleep and poor nutrition which in turn leads to negative self talk, feelings of failure, guilt, self-loathing and anxiety which is closely followed by exhaustion and more stress and so the cycle continues. By bringing ourselves and our needs back into focus, even just a little, we can relieve this pressure and give ourselves some breathing space. By setting aside just a few minutes a day or allowing ourselves to make a good decision AND a ‘bad’ one at a meal time without feeling like we have ‘passed’ or ‘failed’ a test or allowing yourself an early night to catch up on sleep, we are putting just some of our needs back on top.
These are just some of the steps I followed in order to get my healthy habits back on track. I gave myself a break and made the decision that at no point was I going to allow negative self-talk. That is a thing of the past for me ever since I broke my diet cycle. The relief is awesome! I made as many good decisions as I could and didn’t sweat the small stuff (as a result I had more time and energy for important things), I reorganized my priorities and brought my ‘self’ back into focus as much as possible and I said ‘no’ to people and situations that could not serve me at this time. Not only do I feel better but I have not gained any weight (I actually weighed myself for a change), I was able to give more energy to important tasks, I limited my stress and the sky did not fall in!
What can you do today to pull your ‘self’ back into focus?
What must you re-prioritise in order to make space for yourself?
Is there a person or situation you can say ‘no’ to?
What negative self-talk can you let go of today that is not serving you?
What good decision can you make today?
As always I love to hear about your experiences and I love to answer your questions! Please get in touch if there is a subject you would like to hear more about.
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