I’ve been receiving A LOT of personal messages from ladies who are feeling “overwhelmed” or completely done in due to stressors, and I wanted to just take some time to write this post and give you a list of things that have helped me (help me) maintain a motivation to exercise and take care of me..
I’ll be honest here.. My life has also been extremely maddening lately.. Many things that are out of my control (external stressors) which have meant that my own motivation to exercise and self care have not been prominent.. I’ll give you a brief synopsis…
1. Issues with my own son and his schooling (out of my control)
2. Trying to get my father into a Nursing home locally to me as a matter of urgency (out of my control as this was an unexpected turn of events)
3. Having no admin support for my business meaning my hours have increased significantly (out of my control)
4. Other Family issues (Out of my control)
5. No time.. (see above as to why, and thus out of my control)
When I receive these very personal messages from ladies I want to be able to help in the best way that I know how.. however, having been nearing a nervous breakdown myself I fear I may not have been as helpful as I could have been…. Therefore I have given this a great deal of thought and wanted to write these things down in the hope that more people can see and maybe benefit from what I find helpful to me.. *Please note that you may not agree with me, and thats OK… whatever works for you DO IT 🙂
1. Headspace app. This is a 10 minute meditation app available on your phone. It just allows you to stop and breathe for 10 minutes a day.. Its free, and I find this a really useful tool to just STOP. One of the other things this app has taught me is how to breathe and focus at night to aid sleep. I am one of those people whose mind goes MAD when my head hits the pillow.. Everything feels worse, exaggerated, more frightening.. But this app has taught me how to manage my thoughts through breathing techniques and I have found this invaluable.
2. Be Honest with yourself and others. This is a tough one. What I have found that I do is bury myself in mind numbing activities to ‘forget’ ‘de-stress’ telling myself that its ok.. Facebook is one of those tools.. Drinking or eating is another… Dreadful TV is also one way of numbing the thought processes.. *see X Factor!! (Apologies to those who love it! ;-)) <<< These are all things that I do! I am not saying we all do these things.. BUT what I have found to be helpful is acknowledging to myself that I am struggling. Telling my friends that I need to talk.. I must admit I do find that last one THE hardest thing to do.. Being someone who likes to feel ‘needed’, likes to be in ‘control’ and likes to coach others, I am very good at turning the conversation round to them.. But I am also good at talking A LOT so I always endeavour to ask for help when I need it. The other things, well… I am a work in progress with that 😉 I have found that reading books keeps me from ‘escaping’ into those numbing activities, but one could argue that is also a way of escaping.. Writing your thoughts down is something I DO find helpful. And whether that be something you keep to yourself, or something you share in a blog it is an excellent tool for being honest with yourself rather than going into denial overdrive.
3. Turn the music up LOUD! This is something that ALWAYS works for me.. Whatever it is I am doing. I feel instantly better, happier, and motivated to start exercising (whatever that is for you). Make yourself a playlist, put all your fave tunes on, get some headphones and just feel uplifted instantly. We all have different music tastes >> My favourites are dance tunes.. especially ones that I used to go clubbing to in the 90’s/ naughties.. I am always taken back to a time when I was young.. and I DO love to dance..
4. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself.. If things are difficult for you at this moment, keep things simple. If you are too tired to exercise don’t do it.. It wont matter in the long run. If you drink wine or eat cake, don’t berate yourself.. Tackle one thing at a time, change one thing at a time. We are not super human and its ok to make life as easy as possible for you. I have personally found that my time for exercise has been limited due to the above. In the past I would have been mortified about this and probably put a lot of pressure on myself to find the time regardless of the stress it would do to my mind, body, well being. I have learnt that it is much more important to just BE and simplify my life in time of need. Tomorrow will always be there and life will go on regardless.
5. Don’t compare yourself negatively to others.. This is a biggie, especially in the social media fuelled world we live in now. Look at others social media posts for what they are.. Often filtered pictures of beautiful food, places, bodies.. But know that there will always be something behind the false pictures that they are not telling you.. *see above post about being honest with yourself and others*
6. Follow your intuition. Most of us want to be people pleasers right? We look for and wait for the approval of others and hate to disappoint our friends – (I find this especially true of females) I have often found myself in situations I didn’t want to be in for fear of disappointing people, or the fear of confrontation. Ultimately in my experience we are the ones left feeling resentful or disappointed. We are the ones who lay awake at night worrying if we have made the wrong decision. Usually our gut feeling was the right one, so make sure you listen to it. We have intuition for a reason.
7. Take the control back! By hopefully taking on board some of the things I have mentioned above and being gentle on you. This is definitely something I am trying to work on when I have all these external stressors that are out of my control. One of the ways I am doing that is by hiring my own coach to train me. This way I will schedule that 1-2-1 into my diary and be accountable to them for my training and nutrition. I am not saying that this is an answer for everyone, its just one of the things I know will help me in the long run. I feel better when I am exercising so I want to make sure I am in control of that for the time being.
8. Don’t stop trying just because you have hit a wall. Progress is always going to be progress no matter how small. Be proud of you and focus on all the things you are good at, all the things you do have, and can do. Take just 5 minutes to write down at the beginning and the end of every day a list of the things you are grateful for, and I guarantee that it will shift your focus, even if its just for a short while away from the things that you are finding difficult.
I hope that list is of some benefit.. Let me know if there is anything that works for you if you are feeling overwhelmed with stuff.. Have you ever given this any thought? Could you come up with a list that is helpful for you?