Many people I’ve been talking with lately are feeling like they have been knocked down and can’t get up. Between the holidays, family issues, health problems, work (or lack of work), and life-in-general hardness, weight has crept back up and it is easy to slide down that slippery slope into hopelessness.
I’ve been there, and here’s a way out. Actually, you have probably been there before, too, and found a way out, around, or above.
In November my sweet Shih Tzu, Whisper, was diagnosed with Lymphoma. This was not only heartbreaking in itself, but brought up a lot of sad memories from losing my husband George (may his memory be eternal) to cancer 12 years ago. Like a sucker punch to the stomach. Then we all got the flu. Sequentially. By then we were way behind on preparation for the holidays. Craziness, lots of take-out, zero exercise, restless sleep. Not a pretty picture.
Because I’ve been there before, and getting people out of this is what I do for a living, I made a plan. Actually, not a formal plan, just a few grasps at what I knew would help. My Christmas list included a gift certificate for my favorite yoga studio (Core Power Yoga – thanks Jeff!) and a Vitamix. (These are not affiliate links, just FYI.) We have burned through three Magic Bullets and it was time to step up to the big boy of blenders. Now I had what I needed to get some exercise and green smoothies, both of which are essential for me to be my best self. Along with the joy of opening presents! And doing something positive leads to better sleep, more energy to cook at home, and way less stress.
While my exercise and smoothies made absolutely no difference to Whisper, now she is in remission and doing well. She credits the french fries we got after chemo and all the extra treats. Just thought you’d want to know.
So, here’s what you do when life sucker punches you:
Think about what you need to be your best. Usually sleep is at the top of the list, so do what you need to do (record Castle and Hawaii Five-O) to get at least seven, and even better eight hours a night. I mean it, you are making yourself very vulnerable to every virus that comes around if you are exhausted. That doesn’t help anybody.
Next, think about what type of movement your body really likes. Don’t worry about how quickly it will take off the pounds, just get your body moving with whatever feels good. For me, hot yoga – actually warm yoga – is the ticket. I thought I would hate it, but I love it. So whether it is walking, swimming, dance, yoga, Zumba, Tai Chi, it doesn’t matter. Just do it and feel good.
Now get some green veggies on your plate. Nourish your body so it can heal itself from the stress (or the flu) and give you a dose of energy every day. Start taking care of yourself, even if it seems like there is no time, and you will find yourself able to accomplish so much more. Put on a pot of magic bean soup, toss a salad, and be comforted.
Nourish you soul as well. Family time, relationship time, YOU time. Even 10 minutes can make a big difference in how you feel. Especially if it helps you avoid checking out with a bag of Chips Ahoy or a pint of New York Fudge Brownie. I’m not giving you links to those.
Treat yourself the way you would treat your best friend, or your child. With kindness, compassion and love. It is the only thing that works. Baby step by baby step, you can make it. And then you can lead the ones you love.
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