How do you deal with the good and the bad? Do you seek peace in nature? Do you seek the quiet serenity of your bedroom? Do you close out everything else with really loud music that moves your soul in the direction it needs moving? Do you get active?
I ask because I know everyone deals with changes in their lives in different ways. The peaks and valleys are characterized by the things we perceive as positive changes, and negative changes. How we choose to cope with these rolling hills of life can have immeasurable influence on our health and wellness. I haven’t always been in great shape. I grew up active, and then life happened. I made choices that led me away from a fit lifestyle. This isn’t uncommon. College kids characteristically drink and eat whatever is quick and easy. When I was working my way through school, I remember not wanting to put any effort into preparing food. I think I lived off of taco bell, Breyer’s Overload Ice Cream, and microwave bean burritos from Trader Joe’s for the better part of two years while I was wrapping up my undergrad and working more hours than was healthy. You think I’m exaggerating?! No way, she’s so health conscious – she couldn’t have been that bad! Each week when I went to the grocery store, more often than not Breyer’s Ice Cream was on sale. Buy-one-get-one half price. You can bet I bought two, and you can bet I needed to restock the following week. I lived alone! No one saw that I would get home at 10pm and eat ice cream from the container while gazing into my fridge thinking about what I could make for dinner. After a little while, I wouldn’t be hungry anymore and I would head to bed. Yeah, and these buy one get one half off containers of ice cream weren’t half-pints – they were half-gallons! When Frank would come visit me he would ask “I thought you bought some ice cream when I was here last weekend.” It’s gone Frank. On Sunday’s we would get buy-one-get-one-free burgers and fries with plenty of beer at the pub that was just down the street from my apartment. The weight gain was slow, so much so that I wasn’t alarmed. I think I even had myself convinced that it was just my new body. I was growing up – perhaps this is the size I was meant to be.
When I had something to celebrate back in those days – you can bet I had an adult beverage in my hand. I’m sure some people can drink regularly and be pretty healthy otherwise, but I’m clearly not one of those people!
What do you do to celebrate? I won’t focus much more on what used to be, because I’ve re-sculpted my lifestyle over the last three years. Instead I’ll tell you about how I celebrate the small wins in my life now. On really good days I think about what the perfect workout for that day would be. Feeling jazzed up? Chalene. Feeling like a champion? Shaun T. Feeling focused? Tony. Feeling prideful? Sagi.
What do you do to heal a mental or emotional wound? On bad days I think about the arms of my husband first. Second, I think of knocking out my frustrations with some kicking and punching. Pent up aggression? Dan and Rach in Les Mills Combat.
One of the best things you can do for yourself is determine how you will channel the positive and negative energy in your life into some format that you can physically tackle. Channeling my energy into activity has turned out to be a much better approach to dealing with the good and the bad I experience in my life. Somehow, the movement feels like taking action. Direct action isn’t always possible, meaning that your actions may not FIX the problem, but if you can cope with the stress of a situation in a physical way, it is likely that you’ll end up better equipped to roll with the punches. Stress hormones, such as cortisol and epinephrine, can wreak havoc on our metabolism due to its link with the endocrine system. If you aren’t sure how to best channel stresses in your life into activity – let me know. I’m sure we can come up with an action plan before it rules your life. This is truly an ongoing struggle for me, so I’ve come up with a number of tactics to battle stressors! The main tactic involves me, a workout DVD, a floor mat, a towel, and a bottle of water! 😉
Keep bringing it team!