Yesterday was a strange day. It felt like every day since Sunday it was a struggle to keep moving forward with taking care of myself.
For the past 2 very busy months, I have been enlisted in a group partner challenge that is based on a points system to keep myself motivated.
The end goal is to be as close to 155 pounds by November 25th for one of my best friend’s wedding. The weight isn’t primary here, but it helps me to have an objective to work towards. My subjective goals have mostly been accomplished. I sleep better, my face is clearing up nicely, I have more energy – I FEEL so much better.
I posed the question to the closed Facebook group – How do I keep on going when I start to feel like I’m unraveling”? The answers I got were a kind of tough love – in a nutshell I’m told to “Keep going”, “Don’t Quit”, “Practice some self care”. I appreciated their willingness to really write out a thought out response to me. However, I found myself thinking that “Just do it” is just not enough for me. So I actually thought of things that would in fact work for me and I felt like this would be good to share.
Here are some of the ideas that were given to me as well as some of my own:
- Practice self care: Get a mani/pedi, massage, facial, or take some “me” time. I like this advice, but currently I’m on a spending fast due to September being an expensive month. I’m trying to get back on track before Christmas. There are free/inexpensive ways to pamper yourself so here’s what I’m going to do:
- (notice a list within a list…because I love organization!) I’m going to take a bath with lavender scented bath salts because I happen to have them on hand. It will be known as “mommy time” which means NO boys allowed! Heck, I may even take a book in with me and if I’m feeling extra fancy, a glass of wine, and some candles.
- I allow myself time to get adequate sleep. There are plenty of daily responsibilities to keep me occupied. There’s a reason my 12 year old still goes to bed at 8pm. Because mommy needs some time to unwind at the end of her day.
- I painted my nails with clear nail polish. It makes me feel put together, and clear nail polish won’t show if I fudge the lines up a bit.
- I write/journal/pray/meditate. There is so much value to alone time, prayer time, centering and grounding time and it doesn’t require anything but a quiet space.
- Focus on your goals: What is it I am working towards? I forget SO easily! I had to remind myself, that my goal will never be to eat whatever I want whenever I want. I’ve tried that goal and it does NOT lead to happiness. It leads to bloating, weight gain, being uncomfortable in my clothes, skin breakouts, lack of energy, mood swings…you get the picture. My short term goal is to be 155 pounds by the time I’m a bridesmaid in my best friend’s post-Thanksgiving wedding. My long term goals are to workout 5-7 days per week at the YMCA, to improve my cardiovascular health, to get stronger, and to stop giving up on myself.
- Ask for help: This one should seem obvious. This is what I did. I didn’t wait until I had fallen off the wagon, or until I felt like reaching out – I reached out when I realized that it wouldn’t be too long before old habits had their way back into my life. I have been attempting to find someone to keep me accountable consistently. I know this is one of the greatest markers of success, however I haven’t found my “swolemate” haha. That’s ok with me for now. I am really grateful for the group that I joined the challenge with and that I have several friends who are always willing to talk me down when I get hangry! They are also really good encouragement for the times I do happen to slip. In my mind, when I fail once, I’m immediately tempted to throw the whole plan out – put the progress I’ve made aside, and say, ‘Well there’s another lifestyle choice that didn’t work for me’! Thankfully, they remind me that life has twists and turns and messing up is no reason to give up!
- Never underestimate the power of a healthy alternative: I have spent a week at my office passing on everything from chocolate lava cake from Chili’s with caramel sauce, to catered cookie trays, to fall Dunkin’ Donuts, to DQ blizzards…There are more ways to get your sugar/pastry fix in this office than if I worked at a bakery! Honest to God, sometimes it really makes me angry! My solution is to always have something naturally sweet on hand. I have natural peanut butter,homemade trail mix , and seltzer water in my office along with Lily’s No Sugar Added chocolate. Any of these in small amounts does the trick. As the weather has been getting cooler, I made roasted butternut squash with apples, kale, and cinnamon. Maybe that sounds weird to some people, but I think getting a nutritionally power-packed side with a touch of sweetness is comforting. I also made soup, because what other warm comfort food is better to modify as a healthy alternative?
- Be an example for others to aspire to: This one is about pride. I would dare to say that many of you are similar to me in wanting to stand out above the crowd. So, when someone from my office looks at what I’m eating and says, “Wow, I wish I ate like you do – you look great!” or, “Your salad looks amazing! I should eat more salad”! When they see me consistently choosing nutritional staples and want to emulate that, I am reminded that I get to influence others around me for good. See what I did there, I turned an inclination that usually leads to bad behavior into one that promotes good behavior.
- Recognize the real struggle is internal: This is key. Your mind is where your actions begin! When you think about what you want for the day, you make a decision on what you will wear, who you will see, how you will feel. I’d suggest making a mental note when a negative thought comes your way. If you need to write it down – do it. Take those thought and re-shape them into positive ones as often as you can. I know how easy it is to be sucked into a negative vortex where everything is wrong with life! This is actually entitlement at its worst! You know why that coworker annoys you so much? Because they did one small thing that annoyed you the first time you met them and you decided not to give them the benefit of the doubt. We have so much to be thankful for – even in the less-than-ideal daily annoyances that come up.
- Practice gratitude: This is really an extension of the last point. Research has proven time and time again that gratitude is the key to having a happy, healthy, outlook on life. One huge trigger for feeling inadequate is spending too much time on my social media accounts. I find also that a lot of stress is averted when I don’t pay too much attention to them or I unplug all together.
That’s all I have for now. I’m sure there are more ways to tackle the inevitable ‘slumps’ we all experience. The best part about this list is everything I wrote is free and something everyone is capable of practicing. Writing is my way of self-soothing. If you have any other ideas of things that have worked for you – feel free to place them in the comment section.