You recently made changes to your lifestyle and the benefits are showing—you feel amazing! You have been doing your best to stick to your (new) routine and it has been hard work to even maintain a routine. Everything seems to be going well with your new lifestyle, but Life seems to have other plans for you. Out of the blue, an unexpected event happens; a death in the family, your spouse loses their job, your friend is getting divorced and needs a place to stay, you got a promotion at work which includes more responsibility and devoted time but you can’t keep up—does any of this sound like you? If not in these specific circumstances, have you ever had a time in you life where everything seemed to be going well and then all of a sudden you get side swiped and your sense of normalcy is almost non-existent?
I think it is safe to say that we have all been there at some point in our lives: everything seems to be going really well and then all of a sudden it feels like it’s not. You feel yourself scrambling, cutting corners and trying to finds ways to get more time into your day. Your workouts start slipping from your schedule, your healthier eating habits go out the door, and you start to feel like how you felt before you started your new regime. I can definitely say that I have reached this state many times in my life. Do I feel bad about it? Not at all. When you start to notice that these habits are setting in, the best thing to do is to recognize that it is happening. For some people, denial can set in or they are completely unaware that these habits are setting in, or that they’re problematic. Chances are, though, if you’ve started a new regime, you’re pretty self-aware and recognize when you’re overcome by these habits. Recognizing that you are slipping is the first step to maintaining your resiliency during the struggle. It means that you have the intention to do better, and that can be very powerful in getting you back on track. If you stick with that intention, it can steer you back on track, if not 100% completely back to the usual routine, it at least keeps your head in the game to reaching your goals.
Now, what can you actually do when you notice that things aren’t going as planned for you? Read on below to discover some of my tips to overcome overwhelm and maintain your goals when life throws you a curveball.
Write a list of the things that make you FEEL your BEST:
You will refer to this list during these hard times to remind yourself what makes you feel most like yourself and most like your BEST self. Sometimes we forget when we’re in the thick of it. Choosing a few of these things to do while you’re going through a tough time can offer some comfort and will ensure you are taking care of yourself as best as possible. To give you some ideas, these are mine:
Weight training channels my stressful energy into strengthening my body, therefore reducing my stress levels.
Yoga/meditation can relax the nervous system and force me to slow my breathing, when it may be shallow during stressful times.
Creating recipes and cooking allows me to get creative and helps me make sure I’m eating well. It allows me to channel any negative energy into a positive, creative outcome.
Walking with/without music offers a mindfulness approach to dealing with stress/overwhelm. On a nice day in particular, I can focus on the fresh air filling my lungs and the calming breeze. Walking along the beach is particularly calming and cleansing. Listening to your favourite music can also uplift your spirits and renew your confidence in dealing with said situations. Sunshine is also uplifting to our moods and can give us a dose of Vitamin D for immune support which is particularly important during stressful times.
Getting a manicure/pedicure/massage/other body therapy/haircut can refresh your self-confidence and relax your nervous system so that it is less ramped up. This will help you focus on what is most important in your life right now with a relaxed, confident approach.
Opening up to a loved one/trusted friend about what I’m dealing with can bring new insight, calm my anxiety and help recalibrate my sense of self and my stance within the situation I am dealing with.
Set your Go-To Resources:
While I make it my mission to get people back into their kitchens creating delicious and nutritious meals, I recognize that not everyone finds this as exciting or fulfilling as I do. Often when we are going through hard times, our health is what we let go of first. We start eating more convenience foods, we stop going to the gym, we stay up late, and so on. If we don’t recognize that these habits are setting in, we set ourselves up for poor health. The key is recognizing the signs and referring back to your list of Go-To Resources to get you back on track. Go-To Resources are resources that you can resort to that you know are good for you and will bring more ease into your hectic life. Some ideas for resources are:
Grocery Delivery Service: instead of eating take-out for breakfast, lunch and dinner, or if you’re just not eating at all, and to avoid making the time and energy to go grocery shopping, opt for a grocery delivery service like:
Meal Delivery Service:
Household Grocery Delivery:
Review your Health Guidelines (from your Nutritionist, Personal Trainer, Naturopathic Doctor, etc.):
Look at the guidelines that were provided for you and see which ones you can maintain now
If following everything isn’t practical, choose a few and stick to them, i.e. deep breaths before meals to calm down the sympathetic nervous system for optimal digestion.
Connect with your Health Practitioner and see where adjustments can be made so that you can still work toward your goals at an altered pace (see the last point of #4)
Be Kind to Yourself:
If you can recognize that you’re going through a tough time and you’re out of your element, this kind of self-awareness can lead you toward self-care and kindness toward yourself. There is nothing worse than knowing that you’re going through a tough time and beating yourself up over it. Say this mantra to yourself:
“I am currently going through a tough time but it is temporary. I will figure out this conflict, as I have figured out the ones before. I am capable and will continue to live a healthy life.”
Allowing yourself to recognize that this is a temporary state and that you will continue to do better should release some of that self-doubt, regret and self-sabotage that can set in during these times.
Do Your Best with the Resources You Have:
If your schedule is hectic and it feels like you cannot fit in any self-care, try to use the little time you have effectively. For example, a 5-10 minute meditation in your car or in your room when you get home from work is better than no meditation at all. It can also steer your mindset in the right direction if you’re feeling defeated or demotivated.
If you don’t want to sign up to a yoga studio outright for financial or schedule reasons, try doing a drop-in class here and there. A full membership is not necessary to get in a few relaxing, deep-breathing sessions. Otherwise, spend 5-10 minutes at the end of your day before you go to bed to stretch and breathe out the day.
If there are certain responsibilities that you feel are out of your reach at this time, discuss this with your spouse to see if they can help you take on said responsibilities, or, reach out to family members and friends.
If it is in the budget and appropriate for you, hire a cleaning person to take care of your house chores every week or bi-weekly. This will help you to come home to a clean house so that you don’t have to worry about the chores you need to do when you get home from long, stressful days.
Try to maintain your scheduled workouts if you have a trainer. If you don’t, and finances allow, consider getting one to maintain accountability and consistency. Share with them that perhaps you need to take it easier during your sessions. Try to go even if you don’t feel like it—your body and mind will thank you. Taking this time away from your other daily tasks means you are prioritizing your health. Contact Jonathan Joachim or myself if you’re looking for a Personal Trainer!
If you have other healthcare practitioners you are working with, whether it is a Nutritionist, Chiropractor, etc., be sure you mention that you are experiencing your struggle because there may be other resources or recommendations that they can recommend for your personal situation. For example, if a client tells me that they’re having trouble sleeping because their mind is racing at night, I can recommend a guided sleep meditation, a supplement to support relaxation, or other food strategies to promote relaxation.
I hope that this post has been helpful to you. This post is definitely not all encompassing of all the strategies for dealing with overwhelm and maintaining goals, but it should give you some ideas to get your started. Be sure to contact your healthcare practitioner to address your personal situations. If you want to learn more about how Holistic Nutrition can help you reach and maintain your goals, contact me here!
As always, this information is not indicated as medical advice, nor should you stop your doctor’s recommendations in response to this post.