5 Tips to Stay on Track When Life Gets Tough

Life is about to get tough.

We just sold our house. It wasn’t on the market. We had no plans to sell. We were approached by buyers who wanted it enough that it was worth it to sell and build ourselves a new home.

And now we have agreed to be out in six weeks.

This is going to be a ridiculous time and I want to maintain all the health gains I have worked so hard for.

We need to find a suitable rental near our kids school immediately. We have to buy land and create house plans. We still have to drive (and coach) our kids to their competitive hockey. We have to purge, sell and organize our belongings. And we have to run our businesses. Oh, and lastly, the move is going to happen over Christmas (it is the very end of November as I write this).

If all you can hear in your brain is a 4 letter expletive I appreciate your sympathy very much. Let’s swear in unison to the tune of “Deck the halls…”. But yes, I know we did this to ourselves. Until this morning I actually thought I might be on the brink of losing my mind before the real hard work had even begun.

After spending a lot of time processing this over the last few days I am ready to tackle the move with one big commitment to myself: I am not going to lose my mind.

We have all faced extremely challenging periods in life and the most important thing you can do to get through them is to:

Stay true to the tried and true systems that work for you when everything is going well.

When life is going well and you sit back to think about all that is great you notice that you are eating well, exercising on a regular basis, enjoying great social ties. Likely you are sleeping well. You know where you have to be when, and you can plan for things that you look forward to. Overall, the flow of your days comes with a certain amount of ease and predictability.

But when the going gets tough, our first instinct is often to throw this all out the window to make room for the stress, worry and time that our challenges bring.

Suddenly you can’t commit to anything because there is so much unknown. And even when you do find yourself with a few minutes to spare, you use it to worry or numb your mind rather than to do something that will help you (like hit up a grocery store or take a walk).

Here are five tips to help you stay on track when life gets tough. 

  1. If you go to the gym regularly, keep going.
    • Now more than ever, it is important for you to work off the stress and release happy endorphins into your body. Do not let “I don’t have time” become your mantra. You may need to cut back from four days a week to three, but don’t stop going. 
  1. Prioritize and enjoy healthy meals.
    • Sure, take-out is easier but it is going to leave you nutrient depleted and exhausted. Either continue with your regular meal prep and keep healthy snack and meal options in your kitchen at all times or hire a personal chef to help stock your freezer with meals that are ready to reheat at a moments notice. Going to the grocery store should still be a regular occurrence even though you are busy and distracted. This will keep your energy up as well as your ability to deal with stress.
  1. Protect your sleep.
    • It is probably unrealistic to expect to get a beautiful minimum of 8 hours of sleep when you are excessively busy and overwhelmed but allowing yourself to stay up until the wee hours of the morning and then rising again with the sun is one of the worst decisions you can make right now.
    • Sleep deprivation inhibits your immune system (you get sick), reduces your ability to think clearly and deal with stress, causes weight gain and of course, depletes your energy. So pick a “must be in bed by” time and commit to it. 
  1. Stop doing things that suck your time.
    • What were you spending time doing before that you can stop doing? A couple of hours of Netflix every night? Facebook? I agree that not all time is wasted doing either of these things but when your time is so precious, you need to be smart about it.
    • Make a list of your time-wasters and stop doing or reduce your time doing them. Instead, do something that will move you toward your end goal.
    • Helpful hint: Use this productivity app to disable your Facebook feed temporarily so that you can go to different pages in Facebook without being distracted by the newsfeed.
  1. Make time-bound plans.
    • Now that you will have some more time (because you made the stop-doing list), put together a plan for what you need to do and when. What important deadlines need to be met between now and the end of this busy time? Write down the tasks, determine the deadline and then schedule it into your calendar.

When life gets tough, it is so easy to just throw your hands in the air and let go of all the important things that you regularly do to keep yourself healthy and feeling well because at times like this, you are in survival mode, giving your attention only to what is most urgent.

Use these tips so that you can work with the pressure that comes along with the tough times in life to keep yourself on track and cope with the stress.

This will come to an end and you have the choice of coming out of it just a little off your game or totally knocked out.

You choose.

(I hope this was helpful).

Obviously, eating healthy can be overwhelming sometimes. Dealing with sugar cravings, managing the desire to eat when you are stressed and sorting through all of the conflicting nutrition information is hard. That is why I work closely with my nutrition consulting clients, to help you create a healthy lifestyle that you love and that you can sustain. Connect with me HERE.

 

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