Whether it’s in your professional or personal life, set-backs can knock us Fibro Fighters for a spin and result in worsening health issues. I’ve been neck-deep in dealing with arranging care for a terminally ill family member and caring for an elderly parent with COPD who almost succumbed to an intense bout of pneumonia last year. My family is very close, so trying to help my loved ones who are suffering with illnesses has resulted in plenty of mental and emotional turmoil.
How has that affected me? Well, let’s just say that even health coaches don’t always take their own advice. My health had gotten a bit off-track due to how I’ve been dealing with the stress, but here are 3 straightforward ways I’ve been resuming my healthy lifestyle:
- Identify and Eliminate Stress Eating:
Many of us, myself included, tend to “eat our feelings” when we are stressed. And I don’t know about you, but it’s not usually vegetables I overeat in times of distress! To be sure this isn’t a problem, I first acknowledge that this is my pattern and that I have the power to chose to react differently to the situation. I outlaw chips, desserts and junk foods so that they are not in my home. I avoid dining in, or getting take out from, places that do not have healthy options. And I get my self-talk in line. Instead of looking at passing up the junk food as a deprivation, I remember that food is meant to be my energy source and the conduit for nutrients that make me feel well! Why would I want to ingest garbage instead of enjoying a meal that I know will energize and sustain me?
Side note: sugar is never our friend in times of stress, although for some of us, this is our #1 go-to. Make yourself a pact that next time the going gets rough, you will avoid sugar and starchy carbs made of refined flour. The quick hit of instant gratification is not worth the damage you are doing to your health. If the sugar monster is still chasing you, check out these tips.
- Meditate Daily:
I’ve mentioned the value of meditating many times in this blog and with clients, and it is important to mention again. Time and again, when I carve out time to meditate, I feel much better and my fibro symptoms stay in check. When I don’t make this time to relax, I start to stress out. I love guided meditations, especially those that involve visualizing myself on a beautiful beach, or a simple loving kindness meditation. Whenever I feel headachy, heart-racy, or just generally frazzled, I retreat to somewhere comfortable and quiet, tune into a guided mediation and take a little vacay for 10-20 minutes. I emerge refreshed every time! Check out Joan Borysenko’s Loving Kindness meditation on You Tube. I adore it!
- Exercise/Movement Daily:
Remember to move your body every day. It’s not necessary to do a grueling boot camp to get the physical and mental benefits of exercise. I just made the commitment to join a new Pilates studio in town so that I’ll hold myself more accountable to consistently making time to move and have fun. Pilates allows me to work in strength training, resistance, balance, stability and stretching all in one! Add in some cardio from walking and I’ll be right as rain without aggravating any musculoskeletal problems or triggering fibro pain. If Pilates isn’t right for you, try walking and doing some gentle stretches, which you can find by googling “gentle stretches” on You Tube. You may want to consider going to a seniors exercise class (even though you may not truly be a senior yet), or getting a seniors stretching DVD to do at home.
Fighting fibro, and other chronic health conditions, is more of a marathon than a sprint, so it’s helpful to get right back in the saddle when the inevitable set-backs occur. And don’t forget, we are all human. Don’t beat yourself up for slipping in some of your health habits. Just come back and join us soon!
Have you ever had the experience of slipping up in your health habits? What do you do to get back on track? Please leave a comment here and share with us all.