Change happens, just as I say Life Happens (which a patient of mine recently made shirts that say this!). Changes can be good or bad, but they happen and the key is to stay positive and remember there are some things in your control, like your thoughts, attitude, and behaviors. We can plan for change, but of course we can’t plan for everything as Life Happens, but any change can be overwhelming and scary at times, so why not prepare as much as you can.
Since Life Happens, of course changes also happen. We may have major life events as we get older and that means we have more responsibilities, we may change jobs, move, leave relationships and enter new relationships, to name a few. Now remember these can both be good and bad, scary, and exciting, but nonetheless, they can be overwhelming. With change, we can become stressed and when we have increased stress what happens to us and our health? Unfortunately several people automatically, without thinking, start to put themselves and their health last. This is not good, because of course during increased stress, and change, it is best to keep your routine and stay healthy. Once you are out of your routine you may start feeling “off.” Perhaps you become irritable or your mood changes. Maybe you don’t make the time to eat healthy or to do your regular exercise routine. Now, that feeling of being “off” becomes worse because you are also not taking care of yourself and giving your body and mind what it needs most during this time, which is some sort of normalcy, a routine, and good food to fuel your body and mind.
The key is to plan and be prepared, but another important part is to be flexible and stay positive. Another one of my favorite mottos is something is better than nothing. Maybe you have increased stress and more responsibilities at work so you don’t have time to do your usual workout. It is not all OR nothing, instead be flexible and put a positive spin on it. How about do something, instead of nothing— maybe a short walk or run, or even a home workout? Better yet, maybe you haven’t had time to see friends and plan a walking catch up session—be active and social at the same time. (I personally love walking talking sessions and do them quite often). Further, when we are stressed, we don’t think clearly and if we haven’t planned our meals we may be stuck in a situation when we are outside in this “toxic food environment” (thank you once again to Kelly Brownell, Ph.D. for this term) and the first thing we see is NOT healthy food and boom before you even realize it you are eating it. Now you start to blame the stress for these “slips,” or unhealthy behaviors you are participating in (skipping your workouts and/or unhealthy, quick, go-to meals), but at the end of the day it is just a slip, so don’t let it turn into a relapse. Take responsibility for your behaviors and come up with a plan for next time. Remember when you are stressed or overwhelmed, YOU still have a choice to make and in order to realize you have that choice you need to take a step back from the situation to think clearly, examine it, and then make a decision. If you can think clearly, it is much easier to make the healthier choice.
Of course this may not apply to all of you, as each person deals with change, stress, etc. in different ways, but if nothing else, remember Life Happens and something truly IS better than nothing. Now get working on making a change to make YOU healthier!