It’s easy to feel out-of-control when it seems we’re being pulled in every direction and everyone wants some of our time and energy. Even technology and social media is beckoning us 24/7. No wonder we feel overwhelmed and sometimes just want to run away and hide.
Early last year I made the conscious decision to take back some control in my life.
Life had unfolded unexpectedly, we had experienced some major changes, and there had been extra demands on me for quite a long time. I began to feel a little resentful that, working six days a week and with everything at home, I truly had no time for myself.
I was becoming aware of how the stress was expressing itself, in a number of ways – mood, irritability, low energy and gut issues. While I couldn’t control the circumstances life had thrown our way, I could take action with the things that were within my grasp.
I wanted to feel better. Brighter and happier. I knew I had control over what I put into my body, so I started there.
There were three things that I knew I had been relying on for comfort and reducing stress – sugar, coffee and alcohol. I didn’t consume massive amounts, but it was consistent and I noticed the effect they were having on my body and my demeanour, which I realised was not worth it. I was getting more and more frustrated with myself. I recognised they were satisfying and calming in the first instance, but then they had the adverse effect of leaving my energy dipping and my body craving for more.
I made the conscious decision to loosen the hold they had on me and took steps to minimise their impact. I started with ways that were easy to incorporate into my day, so I could get into a new routine.
What did I do? I made gradual changes. Baby steps.
- Made a green smoothie each day as part of my breakfast (as an easy way to incorporate more vegetables and leafy greens into my diet)
- Started substituting store-bought chocolate for home-made, raw chocolate
- Gradually replaced coffee with herbal tea
- Had ready supplies of healthier options for snacks (eg. Yoghurt, nuts, home-made muffins, fruit and vegetables)
- Replaced wine at night with a glass of water with lemon juice or apple cider vinegar or a cup of tea
Alot of it wasn’t easy. I did it really gradually and not all at once. I became fascinated with raw foods and explored what I could create for myself. This was perfect for a sweet tooth and most recipes are really easy.
My biggest tip would be to focus on looking for a replacement, rather than focussing on not having that food or drink and feeling like you’re missing out. You can have something, it will just be something different, you’re not missing out altogether.
It takes time but when you realise that it is within your power to make these choices, it has such a profound effect on your body and your mind.
Over time, I’ve been able to find alternatives that are more nutritious and satisfying, helping to minimise (and eventually eliminate) cravings and blood sugar swings. Having healthy protein and healthy fats at meals has been important to keep the body feeling satisfied.
It’s been small steps that have become part of a journey of discovery. The greatest benefit still comes from incorporating these consistently into my days.
I realised the powerful result of discipline, which I often fought in my head, was also a great gift.
Discipline in creating new, healthier habits enabled me to gain back some control in my life.
What have I noticed?
* I keep feeling healthier, brighter and more vibrant (most of the time!)
* I don’t get the energy dips I used to get.
* I’m more resilient and less reactive to situations and others around me
* Not as stressed and more consistent in my emotions
* If you can imagine a graph, I’m now a straight line running across, rather than a zig-zag running all over the place!
I feel more empowered, more resilient and like I am making the best choices for me in the long-term.
Instead of giving in to the addictions, I’ve taken back control.