If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.
– Lewis Carroll
Change can be overwhelming! Weight transformation is a multifactorial health issue: it’s not just about our choice of diet or our mode of exercise. It’s also about the quality and quantity of our sleep and stress – factors that sometimes seem elusive and out of our control. Bone density is a multifactorial health issue: it’s not just about calcium and Vitamin D intake and absorption or which weight-bearing exercise to do. And what about those intermittent symptoms of gastric distress – bloating, constipation, and acid reflux? Are they stress related or do we need to start an elimination diet to find out if we are sensitive to certain foods? Can’t we just focus on one thing at a time?
And when we add in a change in occupation or a relationship, and the demands of other people in our lives, we have additional layers of challenge. As we shine a light on our inner workings, it often seems that there are too many things to track, too many facets to change. What do we tackle first? How do we stop feeling fragmented?
Let’s start by tackling our overwhelming feelings.
- Figure out the root cause. The next time you have an overwhelming thought, ask yourself: What’s causing me to feel stressed right now?
- Acknowledge the fact that you feel overwhelmed, and try not to judge yourself for what you’re feeling. Nonjudgmental acceptance might help reduce any feelings of shame or guilt associated with your stress.
- Tuning into mindful practices can help to reduce your anxiety about the past and the future: meditation, yoga, dance and single-tasking (as opposed to multi-tasking).
- Try taking a deep breath and focusing on each inhale and exhale that follows. If self-led breathing exercises don’t come naturally to you, listen to guided meditation.
- Make it a point to set the time aside to bring joy into your life. What gives you pleasure? Leave some room in your day for that!
One of the best tools to help us maintain focus is time management: defined as the decision-making process that structures, protects, and adjusts a person’s time to changing environmental conditions. Three particular skills separate time management success from failure:
- Awareness: thinking realistically about your time by understanding it is a limited resource.
- Arrangement: designing and organizing your goals, plans, schedules, and tasks to effectively use time.
- Adaptation: monitoring your use of time while performing activities, including adjusting to interruptions or changing priorities.
Our health journeys aren’t straightforward. We need time to explore and learn about ourselves, and we need courage and patience to keep going. Remember to give yourself some space and treat yourself with grace.
♥ Susan L. Ward
Integrative Nutrition Health Coach