Do you ever feel overwhelmed?

1 06 2011

Changing your lifestyle can feel overwhelming at times. There are so many things that require our attention, time, and effort such as making time to exercise several times per week, identifying healthy recipes to make for dinner, grocery shopping, reminding ourselves to have a healthy snack every 3-4 hours, etc; the list goes on! We should understand that feeling overwhelmed is natural; we have spent the last tens of years engaging in certain behaviors and eating certain foods, and now we are working to turn it all around, of course we feel a little unbalanced and disorganized! In the face of chaos, we must remain calm, pick out a few small behaviors that are achievable for us and focus on those.

When I moved into my new apartment there were boxes everywhere that needed to be unpacked! I never thought I’d get everything put away, and I found myself spending my free time sitting on the couch wondering how I would ever get it done. Luckily, a wise friend suggested that I put all the boxes in one room and take one box out a time. What I found was that one box down turned into two, and three, etc. I think we should take a similar approach when we are working to “clean out” a lifetime of unhealthy habits and create new healthy ones. Maybe you will choose cooking at home to be your behavior of focus, or combating your stress eating with stretching and relaxation, or maybe your goal will be to pack your lunch for the work through the week.

Whatever you choose, just remember to stay calm and understand that each behavior you are working to change will take practice, and you must be OKAY with that. New skills take time to learn, but often our expectation is that willpower should be enough. Previous diets may have caused us to believe we must be perfect and do things right the first time around. When we mess up we tend to believe that we just aren’t good enough. This is not true! All new behaviors take practice.
Ask yourself, “What is one healthy behavior that is worth my attention and effort that I would like to work on?” While keeping other aspects of health on your mind and doing your best, don’t allow yourself to get overwhelmed with all those things that you need to do. Instead, focus on one or two things at a time, and work on mastering that one piece of a healthy lifestyle. When you feel comfortable with your new behavior, identify the next behavior of focus to move forward even more. See the worksheet entitled, “Better Shape Up” in the materials section of this website if you would like to formalize your plan on paper. Stay calm, and work on one behavior at a time! You can do it, and you certainly deserve it!

Amy Blackshire
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2 responses

3 06 2011
Amy Blackshire

Hey Martha, I’m glad you get something from them. The issues I write about come from battles in my own life as well. I don’t think either of us are alone with the challenges we face not just with getting healthier, but with being happier in life as well. I like that we are all working together to help each other, and I really appreciate everything you have contributed as well. Keep up the great work!

1 06 2011
Martha

Amy, I look forward to your blogs. The issues you address are all too common to my life, and I appreciate knowing I am not the only one fighting those little battles. Thanks.

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