Life has a funny way of tossing the unexpected at us. There is always the potential for something to derail us from our goals. Getting derailed can be very disheartening, and, sometimes, it can even be devastating. The tricky part is getting back on track, pave a new path, or even to set new goals. The biggest challenge is letting go of those goals after you’ve invested a lot of your energy, emotion, and time into them. It can be pretty damn depressing. However, I have learned that it’s naive to put all your energy into only one goal and expect happiness. Why? Because life happens, and as a friend of mine says, ‘life doesn’t ask permission’, it just keeps charging forward. Charging forward is my mantra these days. Being in my own crisis mode, the very least I can do for now is to keep moving forward and set new goals for happiness and health.
This past summer I was hit hard with a tragic family crisis. Unfortunately the end of this crisis is completely unknown, unless I walk away, which I’m not ready to do yet. It’s been an ongoing nightmare. It’s affected nearly every aspect of my life, and, due to the intense stress, it has been inching in on my health. Being a Master Nut, I know how to heal myself in theory. I also know first-hand how easy it is to slip down that slippery slope and make unhealthy choices. My greens intake decreased significantly, I haven’t been cooking for myself very much at all. I’ve noticed the physical effects: headaches have returned, sleep isn’t as sound, joints ache more, and depression threatens. But wouldn’t all this be because of stress? Yes, definitely. However, stress works a very specific chemical process in our body that robs us of nutrients, affects hormonal feedback loops, and further causes crisis on the body’s systems, which results in a plethora of symptoms, far greater what I’ve listed already.
Break the cycle.
My approach is to chip away at the unhealthy habits, bit by bit, and add in a healthy habit. Just the idea of diving back into cooking all my meals again, on top of everything else I’m managing: not helpful and even more stressful. I’m requiring very little, manageable rules: one thing at a time. This week, for example, I have been ignoring all else and adding in more water. I tell myself I can do/eat whatever, but I have to finish the pitcher of water on the counter. Next weekend, I will work on the cooking and plan to make a big pot of stew I can have for the week. Bit by bit, I take manageable bites.
Knowing what I know about nutrition and how stress affects the body, I am my biggest critique, which also, is stressful. The other step of this process is to let go and forgive myself. The damage from the cookies I ate will be plenty reminder to myself (migraines), no need to berate myself on top of it all, right? It’s easy to tell someone to ‘take care’ of themselves, but much harder to actually follow up on that.
These are the most important nutritional steps for me to take, to get out of this crisis mode and get back to better health. Hopefully they offer some help for your own crisis, or even nutritional ruts we often slip into.
- Take supplements. Supplements are critical right now, since I’ve been eating poorly. These will give me some bare minimum nutrients (especially for brain chemistry) to keep on top of everything. If my mind is in the game, the rest will follow.
- Drink more water. Being essential, this will give my body the building blocks to utilize any good nutrients I take in and help flush out toxins from stress and poor food choices. Being well hydrated will also help keep my sugar cravings down to a dull meow.
- Eat more greens. Greens have exponential amounts of needed phytonutrients (plant-based nutrients) that the body uses to function and thrive. As much as some (self included) would like to live off cookies, potatoes, and meat, it’s not enough to keep the body working at optimal levels. Getting enough phytonutrients, feeding the body the nutrients it needs, will also help kill cravings.
- Cook food. This is not only a way to get better nutrition, but it’s also a form of self-appreciation, a mental health exercise (use that brain and feed it good stuff). It is also much easier on the wallet than eating out every day.
What have you done in the face of your own crisis? How have you helped pull yourself back up again, and thrive? What other tools do you have to deal with life’s challenges?