Welcome to the latest (and newest!) section of Choices.Habits.Lifestyle. Waking Up Fridays will come to you every…Friday (too obvious?). It’s my little way of waking up your mind, your thoughts, your Friday with nutrition and fitness focused inspiration. Now, get reading, sharing, thinking, commenting…all those things you do best!
When the going gets tough…
Why is it that the times we most need the stress relief of exercise, the benefits of eating well and of sleeping well are also the times that we usually fail to do one or all three? Think about it. Something happens in life – a job loss, a divorce, a break-up, an ill family member – and you instantly start coping with eating poorly, lack of exercise and an extra glass (or three) of wine. You don’t sleep well, you then make poorer eating choices, and on it goes. We’ve all been there (and if you say you haven’t, well, I don’t believe you).
Knowing the reasons why good nutrition, plenty of sleep, and adequate physical activity can benefit you is only have the battle of making sure it happens when times get tough.
Physical activity has shown to relieve stress, improve mood, boost energy, and lengthen life.
Eating a well-balanced diet does wonders for your body such as boosting energy levels and influencing mood, to name a few.
And sleep is equally as important. A time to recharge and heal, sleep is an absolute necessity to human life.
We know these things, but how can we be sure to make it happen even during the turbulent times of life?
1. Make Yourself a Priority. This is a concept my mother has instilled in me over the years. When I’m upset she encourages me to hit the gym or go for a run – “You’ll feel better.” And she’s right every time. By putting yourself first, the things that will best take care of you are no longer an option, but a necessity. And you’ll be better equipped to handle the tough times because of it.
2. Take a Moment. How many times have you heard bad news and turned directly to the pantry for your comfort food of choice or made the decision to have a drink to “get your mind off” whatever it is that’s bothering you? Next time take a moment. Tell yourself you’re going to go for a walk, write in a journal, call a friend, or just stop for a minute to let it all sink in. Taking this time helps to recharge your self-control and lets you decide the best way to respond to the situation.
3. Get your Zzz’s. It’s often hard to sleep when you can’t relax or stop your mind from constant worry. There is no right answer for everyone, but here are a few tips that have worked for me. Turn off the phone, the computer, and any other distraction that might remind you of the stressful situation. Find a good book or a magazine. Listen to music. And remember, staying active daily will help you maintain a normal sleeping pattern.
4. Mood and Food. If you look to food for comfort during times of stress, consider the fact that the foods you eat can greatly impact your mental as well as physical health. Read more about the food and mood connection in this U.S. News and World Report article. Keep the good foods on hand to increase your likelihood of eating them. If you don’t have that bag of chips you know you can’t stop eating or that container of cookies staring you down from the pantry, then chances are, you won’t eat them.
We all have our own ways of dealing with stress. No…I don’t have all the answers, but my own experience has taught me that if I can keep up the good habits throughout the bad times, I can prevent creating more problems for myself and focus on the ones that aren’t a direct result of my behavior. Feeding your body well and staying active both work wonders for the body and mind. Remove those and you’re heading down a slippery slope with the risk of not being able to care for you or those dependent on you.
Eat Well.Feel Well,