Maintaining a healthy mindset is hard. Our mood can fluctuate even on the best of days. But what about on those harder days, when life just doesn’t seem to go to plan? What about when you’ve come home from a long day of work — tired and irritable — and that bottle of wine seems to have your name written all over it? What about that day when you’re stressed, anxious, and in desperate need of a little comforting, so you find yourself reaching for your poorly-hidden chocolate stash?
When your mood is low, the first thing that tends to happen is that you push yourself to the very bottom of the to-do list. Your own self-care takes a back seat as you focus what little energy you have on making sure the kids are looked after, the house is (somewhat) in order, and your work isn’t jeopardised. As a result, your progress toward your health goals can become derailed.
So how do you stay on track when your headspace isn’t where it needs to be?
The good news is that through a process of recognition and mindfulness, it can be very simple to turn things around and stay on track with your health goals. Here’s how:
Step 1: Acknowledge
On those days when nothing seems to be going right, have you ever felt yourself trying to just push through the day?
Well, step number one in staying on track is to not do that.
Step 1 is to call it what it is. Acknowledge that today is not a great day and that you’re feeling low. Remind yourself that it’s okay, and that bad days are part of what makes you human. Rather than simply pushing through, take the time to recognise that you’re not at your best right now, and that things aren’t going to plan.
Step 2: Pause
Once you’ve recognised that you’re not at your best, the next step is to pause. When your mood is low, it’s all too easy to be overcome by that emotion. What starts as simply being tired or irritable can turn into an argument with your partner, or snapping at your kids, and before you know it, you’ve become consumed by your mood and the energy it’s brought with it.
To avoid getting to that state – pause. Take a breath, and count backwards from 5. When you do, you’ll become more mindful and you’ll be able to think clearer, which will lead you into Step 3…
Step 3: Check In With Your Emotions
After taking a moment to pause, it’s time to check in and ask yourself: What is the emotion I am feeling? Am I stressed? Frustrated? Anxious? Unwell? By checking in with the emotion that you’re feeling, you’ll have a greater understanding of what you’re dealing with and how to move forward.
Step 4: Recognise
So now that you know what emotion you’re facing, it’s important to give yourself permission to feel it. This allows you to sit beside the emotion, rather than being absorbed by it. You’ll have a clearer mind to be able to regain control of the situation – making it far less likely that you’ll reach for the chocolate stash or that glass of wine.
Step 5: Refocus
You’ve recognised, recalibrated, and regained control of the situation – so the final step is to refocus. The best way to do this is to think about your WHY – the deep, emotional reason of why you want to change. Your WHY is the one thing that you’re going to get when you improve your health and become your best self. It’s what will drive you and keep you moving forward. If you haven’t uncovered your WHY yet, we have written a whole blog post on it, which you can check out here.
When you’re having a bad day or your mood is low, it’s all too easy for your health goals to become derailed. But, it’s important to remember that your moods will always go up and down. None of us have a level playing field every single day when it comes to our emotions.
So, the next time your mood is low and you’re motivation is lacking, revisit each of the 5 steps above and allow yourself to move forward from a place of mindfulness.
And if you’re still struggling to move past a bad mood, come join our community of like-minded women at LifeBuddi Lifers. Here, you’ll feel supported, encouraged and inspired to break the struggle of staying healthy every single day. To join for Free, simply click here.