Feeling overwhelmed? Just concentrate on one thing
Somewhere during the middle of shelter-in-place, probably around “friwednesday, the ninetwelfth of Maybruary”, I lost my exercise mojo.
I never really knew what day it was and was so caught up in the juggle of homeschool and work that I lost my rhythm and stopped working out so regularly. I could kick myself, because it seems to take so much effort to reach a sound level of fitness ... and then just a week or two to lose it. Well not lose it, but go backwards enough that you really feel it on the next workout. Ugh! It’s so much better to stay on a roll!
The question is, how do you get started again when you’ve lost your drive? The world’s a little crazy right now. There’s so much to consider and think about. First came Covid-19 rampaging around the globe, and then the atrocious murder of George Floyd. To say our boats have been rocked is an understatement. To say the boats of other people have been smashed into pieces, is also an understatement.
I heard a comment the other day that went, “We may all be in the same storm, but not in the same boat.” It’s given me a lot to think about. What to do next, is heavy on my mind.
On Tuesday of this week there was a social media blackout for the Black Lives Matter movement. It was a great opportunity to pause and listen.
I grew frustrated with people saying “all lives matter” ... of course they do, but just like we don’t need an International Men’s Day or a straight pride march, we don’t need an All Lives Matter hashtag because “all lives” — as a whole — are not the underrepresented, oppressed or victims of prejudice. We’ve got to stay focused if the world is going to change!
So, against this backdrop, with our minds spinning how do we go about bringing change within ourselves? I’m not here to give you a formula for tackling racism, I fear I would be beyond inadequate, but I do wonder if the same format works whether we’re trying to bring about action within ourselves — for our health, or likewise, for social reform.
When faced with overwhelm (where to be honest, I seem to find myself often) the trick is to pick one small thing you know you can do, and commit to it. When it comes to exercise especially, if you try to do too much, too quickly, you can injure yourself or feel too sore afterwards, which is demotivating and inhibits progress (this is why our Beat the Couch programme works so well, because we go up in careful increments)!
This week, I did a 15-minute YouTube ab thing every morning after making the kids breakfast. Next week, I’m going back to our livestream gym. I always think I don’t have time, but I know I do, I just have to properly schedule it so I don’t get thrown off by work deadlines or the crazy world of homeschool. (Right now, in the background, Belle and Chloe are painting spherical foam shapes and turning them into planets, suspended by coat hanger wires and lord knows what else from the tool box. It’s taking every ounce of my being not to interfere ... I’m sure there’s paint on the ceiling by now ... I’ll just continue sobbing into my coffee.)
And likewise, if you’ve let your nutrition slide, then try a similar approach. Next week, start every day with a glass of water and include berries at breakfast. Have them frozen in a smoothie, on top of plain yoghurt (seeds too) or instead of carbs at dinner time. The week after, make sure you’re getting a double dose of greens in with your evening meal. They don’t have to be expensive. Frozen greens are fine, just steam them instead of boiling them so you retain more nutrients.
Ultimately, the small changes really do add up and make a difference over time. If you’ve hit overwhelm on your health, start small or contact me for help to get you going. And if you’ve hit overwhelm on how to take a stand or contribute to #blacklivesmatter, again, just pick one small thing you can do and build up from there. Blacklivesmatter.com has interviews, resources, donation links and petitions. My advice — whether it’s your health or social change — is to do something. Just don’t do nothing.
• Catherine Burns is a qualified nutritional therapist. For more details: www.natural.bm, 505-4725, Natural Nutrition Bermuda on Facebook and @naturalbda on Instagram
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