What to do when your healthy lifestyle falls apart
This past few weeks have been rough. It started with an overwhelming work trip to the west coast and ended with the Thanksgiving holiday. There was good travel and bad travel. There was good stress (fun, family, cool experiences) and bad stress (airports, drama, family meltdowns, a flu virus, crowds). As a yoga teacher and a wellness coach, you would expect that I would breeze through challenges like these on unicorn wings and well set intentions. Well, I'm going to be real - that wasn't what happened.
Long story short, I fell off the healthy living wagon. For almost 10 days I practiced zero minutes of yoga. I ate food that has no right being called food. I drank too much coffee and a wee bit too much alcohol. My sleep was intermittent and interrupted. When my head wasn't buried in my computer it was spinning with plans, to-dos, ideas, and anxiety. I ate sugar dunked in sugar for breakfast. While I did refrain from hookers and cocaine, it was still an anti-wellness time for me.
Here's the thing, I've learned that it's not falling down that is the problem, it's not getting back up. So, the happy part of this tome is that I know what to do to get right back on track. I'm sharing my plan with you in the hopes that it will help you when you fall off your healthy living plan. Here are the 7 tips to getting back on the healthy horse.
1. Lean, mean and green your diet.
This for me means being very strict for a few weeks. To get back on track, I live on a no sugar, no grain, no alcohol, no excuses, vegetable + protein love diet. Taking control over my diet makes me feel stronger, healthier, and happier. I double up on greens, bake a lot of chicken and fish, prep a lot of fresh vegetables. I also suffer the major temper tantrum that my body will have over the lack of sugar and processed foods. I will curse my bad decisions, but know that I will feel so much better after a few strategic naps, herbal tea and many green smoothies. It usually takes me 3 days to feel like a whole new person.
2. Shake, rattle, and roll your body.
The kind of movement I am talking about is not the 'drag your butt to the gym and just get it over with' kind of exercise. After a major derailment, I recommend super funtastic happy movement. l dance around my house. I walk my dog in a new park. l play catch with my son. I run around outside and get some cold midwestern air in my lungs. Anything that moves your body and creates a light sweat. It's amazing how invigorating fresh air and sweat can be! Take away the "should" about movement, and just make it about fun.
3. Take a yoga + meditation class.
I can't call myself a yoga teacher and not make this recommendation, however I suggest you pick your class carefully. Sometimes you will need a rocking power vinyasa class to shake yourself out of your bloat. Sometimes you will need a calming, chill, slow flow or yin class. After a particularly difficult detox, I want to sweat. It makes me feel like I am getting rid of what doesn't serve me. Spend an hour with yourself, connecting to what feels real. Repeat as many times as you need.
4. Light some favorite candles and sit in silence.
Nothing makes me feel more on track than a warm room, my animals, a yummy smelling candle, and some quiet. I may sit in meditation, I may just sit and pet the fur kids. This time to connect with yourself is critical to feeling better. Get out of your head and allow yourself just to be you.
5. Surround yourself with your closest friends and family.
When you are off track, it helps to fill your social time with people who love you, support you and want the best for you. No toxic energy. I like to combine my other activiites with this one. For example, my best friend and I will go for a walk or to a yoga class. My husband and I might dance around our living room. Surround yourself with love.
6. Unplug and sleep.
After going nuts with stress and food, I turn TV off, turn off my computer at 7pm and try to use my rest and relaxation time carefully. I almost always succumb to a little nap on Sunday afternoon, and by the end of the weekend, I feel rested and ready to rock and roll. It always shocks me how draining the Kardashian sisters can be, and I'm pretty sure I can catch up on the funny memes when I'm feeling better. Get away from energy drains and nurture your own energy.
7. Practice gratitude.
I can't even begin to tell you how helpful gratitude is for overcoming challenges. Yes, you don't feel the best, but how great is it that you have the ability to make choices? How amazing that you have access to resources to get back on track? How did you get so lucky to have such a great support system? Gratitude only brings more good things into your life.
These are pretty basic tips, but by using them I always find my way back to center and I feel healthy, happy, and super sexy again. It's important to know perfection does not exist, and when we stop beating ourselves up for mistakes or derailments we can get back to feeling good lickety split.