Getting through the tough days


Natalie Dee - scrappysource

Some days it’s a fight just to get through it.  Maybe work is stressful.  Maybe you’re worried about finances.  Maybe you’re hormonal, lonely, or depressed.  Maybe you woke up with a headache or your dog kept you up all night.  Maybe you’re fighting with someone you care about.

We all have these days, when you wonder how you’ll get through until bed time, not to mention eating well and fitting in some exercise.  For me, exercise is particularly tough on bad days, but if I can push through and get some good workout time in I usually feel better.

So how do you make it work?  How do you push yourself to keep making good choices when things feel overwhelming?  Here are my top eight tips:

  1. Admit that it’s not always going to work, and that is alright.  Some days are just going to be that bad/busy/stressful, and you might not get in a workout.  These days happen, and letting them pass without beating yourself up will help you succeed.
  2. Go easy on yourself.  If work is piling up and you have no idea how you’re going to get it done, let alone get to the gym or make a homemade dinner, then don’t.  Fit exercise in in smaller ways… go for a walk during lunch, which will help relax and reset your brain.  Take the long way to the bathroom or take the stairs.  No time to cook?  Give yourself a break and go to the deli.  Fill up on veggies and skip the bread.  Stop by the grocery store for dinner and pick up a bag of salad greens and a rotisserie chicken.
  3. Remember why you’re doing this.  My daughter is my biggest motivation, and seeing how quickly she’s already picking up on our habits and moods makes it a lot easier for me to get off the couch no matter how much I don’t want to.
  4. Pick something fun.  Bad days are a great time to switch up the fitness routine.  Instead of running on the treadmill, take a class.  Instead of going for the same old walk around the neighborhood, choose a free workout video from your cable on demand or go to the library and try a new video.
  5. Treat yourself.  If you know in advance you’re going to have a rough day, make small allowances to help the day pass.  If you know stress makes you reach for sweet treats, start out with a plan to have a small cookie or piece of candy in the afternoon.  It gives you something to look forward to and helps you not to break down and make a desperate vending machine run.
  6. Drink your water.  I don’t know why, but I find that drinking a lot of water on bad, stressful, emotional days tends to help stop the mindless snacking.
  7. Keep track.  If you’re trying to lose weight, keeping a handwritten list of what you’re eating and how you’re moving during the day.  Writing something down on a running list and looking at it all day can help you minimize the impact of stress eating because it forces you to really look at what you’re taking in.
  8. Push yourself.  Working out isn’t always fun.  In fact, for some people it’s never fun.  But I promise you that if you get out there and sweat it out… in a class, on a treadmill, on a walk/run/jog/stroll, with a DVD or a friend… you WILL feel better, at least for a few minutes.  Exercise highs can’t undo the stress of a financial burden or a work deadline, but for just a few minutes you can ride the endorphin wave, and the pride that you did the right thing for yourself can take you through the rest of the day if you let it.

None of this is groundbreaking, but it helps me.   In fact, if I’m being honest, I posted this more for myself than for anyone else.  I’m crampy, I’m hormonal, and I’m mentally trying to talk myself out of this afternoon’s workout.  When rained nixed my morning walk, it made it all too easy to just want to curl up on the couch and laze the day away.  But I won’t.  I’ll be up and sweating it out with Jillian Michaels sometime between 3 and 5pm today.

Public service announcement:  If you’re following the 30 Day Slimdown plan with me and you’re wondering what the heck the Quick Trouble Zones is, you’re not alone.  I spent forever online today trying to figure it out, since I originally assumed it was just an option on the DVD.  I finally figured out that (at least according to a couple of websites) it is the first four circuits of the No More Trouble Zones workout.  So that’s this afternoon’s scheduled torture.  The closer I get to the end of the month, the more excited I am to see my final results.

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More from me:

Fear and shame: worrying about raising a smart kid

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One Response

  1. Yeah I wondered about quick trouble zones too initially, then I read somewhere it’s the workout minus all the mat work. I just conitued to do the whole video because it couldn’t hurt to burn a few extra calories right?

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