Earlier this week I have had a major setback in my life. The week then seemed to just go from bad to worse. I didn’t get a job I wanted, I had a horrendous expereince travelling, I put on weight even though I’m on a very low calorie diet. I’ve started worrying about money and haven’t slept very well. I even managed to get bitten by something when I was in a café and have been in pain since. And, all of this has come after a very difficult few moths following a house fire. But despite all this, I am feeling OK. Actually I’m feeling even more than OK and I’m looking forward to next week. Because even when life is really really crap it is possible to try and make yourself feel a little bit better.
For me, feeling good about life and me is completely linked to my ability to manage my weight. If I feel rubbish then I am less likely to make good decisions about food because I can feel I’m not worth it. I’m more likely to think I should ‘treat’ myself with calorific food or a real blow-out. Plus I tend to stay in more and have less energy. And that again makes me want to eat more sugary food which, of course, is a vicious cycle because it actually makes me more sluggish. Keeping weight off is as much about how we feel as it is about the food we eat.
So how can you feel better when things are really hard? Well here’s my top 10 tips.
1. Allow yourself to feel sad or down. Have quiet ‘me’ time if that’s what you want, cry and get it out. But after you have, tell yourself its time to change how you feel.
2. Do it gradually. Don’t expect to feel positive overnight. Go for small steps and know each time you feel a bit better you are moving forward.
3. Smile and think of nice things, no matter how small or insignificant to help you feel better. Last thing at night is a great time.
4. Make a list of all the things that are good in your life, no matter how small. When you feel down get out your list. Keep adding to it.
5. If your initial response to a difficult situation is ‘chocolate’ or ‘take away’ or similar, just stop and think before you eat it. Think about it they will probably actually will make you feel worse. Instead, eat good foods, like blueberries, that make you feel fantastic.
6. Treat yourself and be proactive. If you know you are facing a tough situation plan something nice to do afterwards or to have the support you need ready in place. Treats don’t have to cost and don’t have to involve food. Try a lovely long bubble bath or a walk, or a great bunch of flowers. Remember taking exercise releases hormones that make us feel better too.
7. Think about the things you love in life and put them around you. Put on some upbeat music or watch a film you love that always makes you smile. Looking at art or images that you like produces brain hormones which make you feel happier. So really look at pictures you have on the wall or at photos of people or places in your life. Even have a scrap book of images you love to look at when times are tough.
8. If something goes the wrong way for you try not to be bitter and angry. As hard as this can be, when we are, it is generally only us that suffers. Instead, try to look at situations in a different way. Do a ‘that feels better exercise’. Write down what you are feeling about the situation and then do a tick, x or ? at the end of each statement to see if it makes you feel worse, neutral or better. As you start to find ideas that make you feel better keep going. Smile and you will find that you soon start to feel a little better.
9. Have an action plan for how you will move forward. Steps can be very small and achievable and this will help you not feel ‘stuck’.
10. Ask for help; it’s not a failure, in fact it shows strength. Ask your friends, family and colleagues, and seek professional help if this is what you need.
Lastly, remember there are always good things that happen even in the midst of rubbish if you look for them. A few months someone stole my husband’s golf clubs. I said before we buy some new ones let’s ask people on Freecycle if they have any they need to get rid of. So a few weeks ago I posted the request. No response initially, but this week we got an email offering us a set that were even better than the ones that were nicked. He’s been on the driving range this morning and it’s put a big smile on his face. No matter how rubbish some things can be, remember there are always nice, good people in the world.
Have a great week. Peg xx