Give Yourself A Break During the Pandemic

Lifestyle Changes

In one of my past blogs titled Accountability Is Everything,  I talked about several circumstances that have occurred as a result of the COVID-19  pandemic.  These circumstances were out of our control.  The COVID-19 pandemic, social distancing, flattening the curve, unemployment, job furloughs, work from home (#WFH), online learning, online schooling, wearing a face mask, are all circumstances that have brought on many thoughts and feelings.  These thoughts and feelings can be positive or negative. The thoughts and feelings that we have experienced have caused us to transition into situations that we are not accustomed to facing.  The transition process made us feel uncomfortable.   

To make a transition, we have to make a change in how we feel, how we think, what we do, and how we respond to those circumstances. 

During this pandemic, our behavior had to change.  When you try to change your behavior, you will go through stages. The first stage occurs when you aren’t thinking about making any changes.  The next stage is when you are weighing the pros and cons of changing. The third stage is getting ready to make the change.  The fourth stage is key.  This stage is the action stage.  You have taken action at this stage.  The final stage is that you are maintaining that behavior change.  

Whatever the circumstances that happened to you during this pandemic, you had to change. You were forced to change. You were immediately put into the action stage  You had to work from home.  You had to manage the numerous interruptions from your children while working from home.  You had to strategically plan on when to go shopping for essential items.  You had to cut down grocery shopping trips to once a week. These are all roadblocks.  You didn’t have much of an opportunity to progress through those stages.  You were thrown right into the action stage.  You had to figure out very quickly how to handle the situations that the pandemic has caused.

You got through these roadblocks by facing circumstances that forced you to change your behavior and dealing with them.  Whether you liked it or not, you changed.  You accepted that you couldn’t control the circumstances.  Rather than just sit around and do nothing, you changed in some way.

When I coach clients in a health coach setting or a personal training setting, behaviors need to change.  These behaviors are impacting the client's health.  Under normal circumstances, it can be difficult to change those behaviors.  Snacking while binge-watching Netflix, eating white bread or pasta every day, buying cookies or sweets, eating out 3 times per week are just some examples of behaviors that I have seen with clients.  These behaviors need to change so they can start to look and feel better about themselves. 

Many ecological factors go into changing your behavior.  Your own knowledge, attitudes, skills, your social network, cultural values, etc are all ecological factors that can influence your behavior.  As a health coach, I help clients to progress through behavior change by understanding those factors.  I help the client work through those factors.  The client begins to feel empowered and build their own level of self-efficacy.  They begin to modify their lifestyles to reduce their health risks.  Not everyone will progress through those stages at the same rate. It’s natural to progress through those stages with a lot of ups and downs.  Expect that you will falter or fall off the wagon. 

You feel like you made a ton of progress and then something happened.  You got sidetracked and your progress came to a sketching halt. 

I spoke about this in a recent podcast that I was guesting on, America's Supermom. When you hit a slump, cut yourself a break. 

We are only human and we make mistakes. 

By mistake, you learn.

You need to continue your efforts to resume a healthy lifestyle by making SMALL efforts.

This takes the pressure off of you.

Recognize that these slumps are solvable. 

You can start to work on solving the small pieces of the puzzle.

These slumps aren’t indicators of failure. 

Remember that you are human!

Avoid all or nothing thinking when it comes to behavior change for your fitness goals. 

You can't do it all. Ask for help.

This is especially true during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Give yourself more slack if you are finding yourself eating more comfort foods or binge-watching Netflix.  The amount of stress we are all facing during these times is insurmountable. Remember that what we are facing is temporary.  Life will continue to go on and our daily lives will get back to normal.  Getting back to normal will be a very slow process but we will get back to normal. The sun will still come up tomorrow.

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