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Riding the Health and Wellness Roller Coaster for Parents and Caregivers

I love the graphic for this week’s blog; dad is living his best, “Hold my beer” life, mom is trying to keep everyone focused, and the kids, as always, are along for the ride.

 

More and more, this picture sums up our daily health and wellness journey. We want to be in shape, we want to get healthy, but its so hard to keep it all on track.

 

Okay, maybe that eclipse did do a number on us because everyone, my clients, and me included, are a little out of whack this week. Could be the change in seasons too but for some reason, we are unsettled.

 

When we are unsettled, doubt, bad habits, and excuses can have their way with us and the ascent up the roller coaster starts. We see it, we feel it.

 

The click of the chains as we work too late, the jerk of the seat as we miss that workout or eat that next doughnut. We sit back and brace ourselves until we reach the top because we know what’s coming.

 

Down we go at top speed but we ourselves have no energy or inspiration to fight off what’s happening to us, and man did that safety bar (our pants!) get tight fast. What to do now?

 

You hold on tight and make a plan to get through it without barfing.

 

Yes, the health and wellness journey is always changing, and we find it frustrating when we think we are onto something and then the game changes, again! But as the roller coaster goes, so does life. It’s up to us to find a way to stay on track while still strapped in, and that's not easy.

 

But can you? It’s all moving so fast and seems out of our control.

 

There my friend is the first issue.

 

We have control over nothing, at all times, and the illusion of control keeps us in chaos. We respond with chaotic actions, thoughts, and choices in response to things that were never in our control in the first place. Therefore, the first step is to get good with being out of control.

 

A very scary prospect to most. Because if you strip everything else away, if you don’t have your control issues, what’s left? Hopefully peace.

 

You can master the health and wellness roller coaster ride with the right approach and skills.


Let’s find out how.

 

Managing Your Mood

 

If you’ve ever read the book “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck,” by Mark Manson (yes, that’s the title), you know that we tie ourselves into knots and ruin our own opportunities, relationships, and health by giving too many f*ck’s, about everything and trying to have “control.” And, as harsh as the message is, he’s right.

 

Think about how we let the issues, circumstances, and expectations of others derail our own happiness and plans. It’s not that we are cruel people, it’s not that we don’t care, but when it comes down to it, it’s not our burden to bear or our problem to solve, and then it impacts our mood.

 

It could be work, a friendship, your schedule, your in-laws, you name it. Let it get its hooks into you and you’re a goner. You gotta let it go.


Letting go is hard because we have been "ourselves" for so long. That doesn't make it right and it doesn't make it wrong but balance needs to be found in between. If that means you do little things to make you feel in control, to them. But don't beat yourself up over the things that are beyond your grasp.

 

Yes, if the issues or circumstances of others impact us adversely, there is reason for concern. But it’s not a reason to throw our lives out of balance. This is where we let chaos take us over and influence our mood. We can be preemptive and protective, but we don’t have to be actionable in any other way than keeping our own ship afloat.

 

When you turn the tables, and if it were us being tossed around by an angry sea, how many would agonize over our plight? Maybe a few kind souls but for the most part, it’s every man for himself. So why are you upending your life and mood based on a need to control?

 

Life will always move fast, we will always be our harshest critic, and people will always push our buttons and boundaries. It’s up to us to keep the boundaries, love ourselves, and spend more looking for the the positive in our lives than the negative.

 

Managing Your Meals

 

Mood and food a greatly connected. Have a bad day, eat a cake. That’s why it’s so important to shore up your mood and mindset to support your health and wellness efforts. Because if we don’t, our need to control our diet or food intake can take on a life of its own and solves nothing in the end.

 

Food is medicine and you can either build your body up or tear it down with what you choose to put into it. This is always in danger while riding the roller coaster.

 

How do you maintain good eating habits while moving as fast as you are? I’m not gonna lie, it’s tough, but it’s doable. Start with your mood and mindset to support your habits and choices.

 

If you’re staying positive and working from a place of “flow” and not “control,” you’re able to plan, make good choices on the fly, and show yourself some grace when the stars are just not aligned for that perfect meal. And for all our intents and purposes, those slip ups will happen. How you choose to move on from them is what matters.

 

Shop for healthy foods at a time that works for you and when you can plan long-term, not just a “fill-in trip.” Once you have what you need, plan it. Pre-pack meals and snacks for you and your family to take the guesswork out of things and answer that eternal question, “What’s for dinner?”

 

Know that timing will not always be ideal, identify the eating out “go to” establishments that support your good choices.  

 

Emotional eating will trip us up all the time. Stress, upset, lack of time, they are the key triggers for us to make a less than healthy choice. If you identify where you are in the “control” cycle and can make a good choice, that’s always option 1#. Option #2, it’s better to ask for forgiveness than ask for permission. Hey, sh!t happens. Rome wasn't built in a day and you didn't gain weight overnight. One bad day does not a failure make.

 

The roller coaster was moving too fast, and you made a snap decision. It’s not the end of the world. You don’t want too many of these, but you can’t dwell on them either. Show yourself some grace and use that lesson to pass the next test. Because there will be one.

 

Managing Your Movement

 

Along with meals, movement is one of the first items from the list to get cut when times get tough.

 

How do I know? I blew off my walk this afternoon to finish this post so how’s that for real-world evidence!  And no, I can’t make up that workout. However, I made a choice and I’m aware of the consequences of that choice. Tomorrow, I WILL walk.

 

If I blow it off tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day, giving myself the excuse of, “Well, you’ve already missed, 1, 2, 3 days…,” that’s when I’ve let chaos take over.

 

Movement is essential to mindset and mood and that’s why it’s so crazy important that you don’t miss out on it. It also goes a long way toward weight management, but the emotional and mental benefits of moving your body every day are what make weight management possible in the first place (we’ll talk about that in motivation).

 

When we make other things a priority (like I did), we’re setting ourselves up for double frustration, a bad mood, and a sluggish body.

 

As Dr. Stephen Gundry says, “Do what you can, with what you have, wherever you are.” Meaning, it doesn’t have to be an Olympic undertaking, just move your body.

 

Get down on the floor and stretch. Do some calisthenics. Try some wall Pilates. A little bit goes a long way and may make you want more. If so, take that walk, go to the gym, swim some laps. It doesn’t have to be daily, but it should be frequent, and you will see and feel the difference.

 

Managing Your Motivation

 

This is the last hurdle for many. What if you can’t even get going?

 

Yeah, that’s a problem. In this instance, it's time to go back to square one.

 

When the roller coaster has jumped the tracks and you’re lying in the wreckage, there’s only one direction to go, up.  You can hang out in the heap for a while but the clean up crew will eventually need you to move.

 

When you do, start slow. Think about why you want to get moving again.

 

Is it your health? Your family? Your future? What’s worth it to you?

 

Once you identify what’s worth it for you to move, you have the idea or the desire. Now it’s time to put that idea or desire into action.

 

As much as we would like it to, nothing happens without action. You don’t have to have motivation to take action either, just the desire, because if you have the desire, you’ll take some action and you’ll see a result.

 

Is it a good result?  A bad result? Regardless, it’s something.

 

If it’s good, you want to keep on going. If it’s bad, you want to fix it or do better.

 

And what’s that I see? Motivation? Motivation to keep going, fix it or do better!  There you go!

 

Remember: Desire → action → results = motivation.


Now, how do you keep it going?

 

You keep it going by repeating the same process and…

 

  • Using the good habits of managing your mood by letting go of control.

  • You feed your body healthy foods as often as you can and show grace when you can’t.

  • You move your body to support your mood, emotional, mental, and physical health.

 

Most of all, you understand that life and health are fluid. There are no absolutes and we do ourselves a huge disservice by creating barriers where there are none.

 

When the roller coaster stops, run around, and get back in line armed with this new information and approach.

 

Enjoy the ride, I’ll hold your beer!😊

 

Take care, hold on, and be well,

Courtney

 


Family on a roller coaster
You can master the health and wellness roller coaster ride with the right approach and skills.

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