As I’ve written recently I’m looking at going back to basics to get back into a routine.
Over the last week my training has been more consistent, my NEAT has been decent and I’m drinking plenty of water and nailing a few other habits. There’s two things I’ve struggled with though have been my nutrition and getting up in the morning.
I’ve not eaten terribly but I’ve not eaten what I’ve planned and as such have ended up going over my calorie goal. The reason? Stress.
It’s been a stressful week, work and personal stuff combined has meant I’ve been anxious at times and just generally strung out at others, feeling a bit like I was never going to fit everything into each day.
I wish I was one of those people who lost their appetite under stress. I am however a person who turns to sugar instead. Between snacking on sweet stuff and then opting to not eat the nice balanced meals I’d prepared and instead eat more carb based high calorie meals has meant that my nutrition just hasn’t gone to plan.
In reaction to this though I’m not going to do anything drastic. I’ve got food planned for the coming week and I’m hoping for a quieter week so I won’t be as tempted to reach for a high sugar stress release.
The key here I think is to not beat yourself out when the week doesn’t quite go to plan, not react by going on some drastic campaign to make up for it and just focus on starting again the next day.
So I’m taking the same approach to my mornings too. Last week I snoozed my alarm a lot, this week I’m reverting back to a cheap old school alarm in the next room so I have to get up to turn it off. A few bad mornings last week don’t need to define the coming week and other than trying to make a few small adjustments to improve my morning routine I don’t need to do anything crazy.
Have you ever tried a gratitude challenge / journal?
I like the idea of practicing gratitude. I think as new age as it can sound at first it’s actually a very practical and CBT based way of managing your own mental health.
The reality is it is very easy to see a negative and focus on it and feel bad because of it. When you make the effort to try and look beyond that to positives, however small, it can start to transform how you feel in that moment. The more you intentionally work to transform negative thoughts to positive ones the more naturally it comes and the more naturally it comes the easier it is to focus on the positives of a situation over the negatives. So the act of practicing gratitude daily is a good way of training your brain and thus feeling better in yourself.
What isn’t so easy however is actually getting started. At first completing a gratitude journal can feel somewhat ridiculous and getting started when you may not feel in a positive space is actually pretty hard.
I had CBT sessions back in 2016 when I was struggling with depression and anxiety. At the time I thought the techniques I was shown in these sessions didn’t work – I wasn’t in the right frame of mind to be able to turn situations around in my head or look beyond my situation as it was at that point. Now, in a much better place, I see how useful the techniques actually are and use them frequently, but I continue to believe there is an irony in the fact that I actually needed to feel better to begin to practice the tools that could have made me feel better at the time.
Learning to manage your own mindset is a skill to be learnt and developed. That is why social media posts telling people to just feel ‘positive vibes only’ and other such slogans irk me so much, gratitude isn’t something that is easy to just suddenly feel- particularly in challenging times.
This is why I particularly liked an Ebook that I recently downloaded that teaches you how to start approaching gratitude. Rather than a book to record your own lists of what you are grateful for (I really like these too, I always think you’re far more likely to stick to things when you like the tools you are working with) this actually approaches how to do it.
It was produced by a small business called LSW London. The company’s main product is actually a really pretty set of 45 cards with tasks to carry out to help you improve your mood (the idea is you take one out at random and complete it, almost teaching you habits that can help anchor you). However they also have this Ebook (only £3.95) and several mindfulness based recordings to listen to (£2.99 each).
If you are unsure about how to get starting with the practice of gratitude I would highly recommend this ebook as a starting point to get you going.
Check out the LSW Website