My health has had a rough couple of weeks. It started with an overwhelming business trip to the West Coast and ended with the Thanksgiving holiday. There was good travel and bad travel. There was good stress (fun, family, cool experiences) and bad stress (airports, drama, family meltdowns, a flu virus, crowds). As a yoga teacher and wellness coach, you would expect that I would breeze through these challenges on unicorn wings and well-set intentions. Well, here's the truth -- that wasn't what happened.
Long story short, I fell off the healthy living wagon. For almost 10 days I practiced zero minutes of yoga. I ate food that has no right being called food. I drank way too much coffee and a wee bit too much alcohol. My sleep was intermittent and interrupted. When my head wasn't buried in my computer it was spinning with plans, to-dos, ideas and anxiety. I had sugar dunked in sugar for breakfast. While I did refrain from hookers and cocaine, it was still a dark, anti-wellness time for me.
The good news is I know that it's not the falling down that hurts us, it's not getting back up. So, the happy part of this missive is that I know how to get right back on track. I'm sharing these tips with you in the hopes that it will help you when you fall off your healthy living plan. Here are seven tips to getting back to your super sexy healthy self.
1. Clean, green and mean up your food choices.
This for me, means being very strict for a few weeks. To get back on track, I live on the no sugar, no grain, no dairy, no alcohol, no processed junk, no excuses, vegetables and lean protein love diet. The good people at Whole9Life.com have a great 30-day plan that has very literally changed my life. Taking a strict approach to my diet for a few weeks makes me feel in control and happy. I double up on greens, bake a lot of chicken and fish, and prep a lot of fresh vegetables. I also get to "enjoy" the major detox temper tantrum that my body will have over the lack of sugar and processed foods. I curse my bad decisions, but know that life will be so much better after some clean food, a few strategic naps, herbal tea and multiple green smoothies. It usually takes me three days of eating clean to feel like a whole new person and three weeks for eating this way to seem effortless again.
2. Shake, rattle and roll your body.
I am not talking about the "drag your hiney to the gym and just get it over with" kind of exercise. After a major derailment, I recommend super fun-tastic, happy, shake-your-booty kind of movement. I dance around my house. I blast music and do some vacuuming and karaoke (multitasking rocks!). I play football with my son. I run around outside and get some cold Midwestern air in my lungs. It's amazing how invigorating fresh air and sweat can be! Take away the "should" about movement and just make it about having fun.
3. Three words. Yoga. Yoga. Yoga.
I can't call myself a yoga teacher and not make this recommendation, however, I suggest you pick your class carefully. Sometimes you will need a rocking power vinyasa class to shake yourself out of your bloat. Sometimes you will need a grounding slow flow or yin class. After I'm particularly hard on my body, I want to sweat. A lot. It makes me feel like I am getting rid of what doesn't serve me. If you are new to yoga, find a class that looks fun and try it out. Be brave. Spend an hour with yourself, connecting to what feels real.
4. Smell some candles and find the silence.
Nothing makes me feel more on track than a warm room, my animals, a yummy smelling candle and blissful quiet. I may sit in meditation. I may just sit and pet the fur kids. This time to connect is critical to feeling better. Get out of your head and allow yourself just to be you.
5. Love up your closest friends and family.
When you are off track, it helps to fill your social time with people who love you, support you and want the best for you. Eliminate all toxic energy. I like to combine my other activities with this one. For example, my best friend and I will go for a walk or to a yoga class. My husband and I might dance around our living room. Surround yourself with love.
6. Unplug and sleep.
After going nuts with stress and food, I turn TV off, turn off my computer at 7 p.m. and try to use my rest and relaxation time carefully. Nothing critical is going to happen on Keeping Up with the Kardashians, and you can catch up on Facebook when you're feeling better. Get away from energy drains and nurture your own energy. Just by checking out of your digital life and checking in with your mind and body, you will find peace.
7. Practice gratitude.
I can't even begin to tell you how helpful gratitude is for overcoming challenges. Yes, you don't feel the best, but how great is it that you have the ability to make choices? How amazing that you have access to resources to get back on track? How did you get so lucky to have such a great support system? We all can find something in our lives to be grateful for and this feeling can lift us out of self-destruction, self-pity and crankiness. Gratitude only brings more good things into your life.
There is nothing explosive or new about these ideas, but by using them I always find my way back to center and feel healthy, happy and super sexy again. It's important to remember that perfection does not exist, and when we stop beating ourselves up for mistakes or derailments we can get back to feeling awesome, energized and exuberant lickety-split.