…or in my case, a bad night.
What do you do when you kids keep you up at night? When you have a bad day at work? When you are stuck in afternoon traffic and are late to get dinner going and the whole family is hangry?
When you experience a brutal day at work or a terrible sleep, do you say “screw it”? Do you let your best intentions of working out and eating well get tossed aside because you feel you cannot possibly give any more energy to this crappy day? Do you feel you deserve to give yourself a “pass” for all the things you’ve dealt with?
This is a habit I’ve sometimes fallen into since I’ve had my sons. Last night I had such a choppy sleep tending to both of them at various points in the night that I woke up with a headache. And the first thought that crossed my mind was eating something unhealthy (visions of a McDonald’s Sausage McMuffin were dancing in my head). My husband, who was also affected, reset his alarm for an extra 20 minutes, then stumbled to the shower instead of going down to the basement and working out.
When we feel bad, our instinct is often to reach for things we think will make us feel better — caffeine or a sugary or fatty meal. This is often a habit that we picked up in childhood. How many of us were cheered up with cookies or ice cream? While we do get a short-term, positive boost or high after consuming such foods, they do not make us feel better in the long run. Consuming a venti latte at 4 pm to help me finish the day will only make me jittery and ruin all chances of having a good night’s sleep. And indulging in a heavy, fatty meal will simply contribute to the lethargic feeling I’m already experiencing. Logically that doesn’t make sense. After a bad night with my little guys, I should be reaching for the water (I’ve been sipping on my lemon water while writing this post and my headache is already disappearing) and a balanced breakfast so I can get through the day without feeling like crap, which will have an impact on how patient and relaxed a mother I am the rest of the day
If we are exhausted and beaten down, will skipping our planned exercise fix it? Even if you have to modify, lower the intensity, or change up your planned workout, moving your body and getting sweaty is a proven energy and mood booster. Don’t believe me? Check here or here. While we think a quick workout will exhaust us further, studies show that the opposite is the case. Try the ten minute rule (give yourself permission to stop after 10 minutes if you are not feeling better) to get yourself going. And crossing off your workout is a great motivator and mood booster in and of itself. It gives you a sense of accomplishment to do what you know many people would skip.
When we feel down and stomped on by life, why should we given? Why should we say screw it and throw in the towel? We feel bad already, why make it worse?
Like most things in life, our mindset is the key to success and happiness. How we view our circumstances and situations can lead us to make either positive or negative choices. If we feel like we are a victim, we’ll give in to our excuses and believe that our choices are out of our control. Instead, we should be thinking about taking care of our bodies so we can mentally and physically make it through this rough patch. You won’t be able to change your mindset overnight, but we can form new habits over time.
The next time you have a bad sleep and want to blow off your morning workout or have a bad day at work and want to indulge in a sugary caffeinated post work drink, think twice and do something that will make you feel good.
As soon as my youngest goes down for his morning nap, I’m lacing up my running shoes and making a post-workout shake. I’m going to do something that will make me feel accomplished and on-track, rather than wallow in my own tiredness and bad mood.
And I challenge you to do the same.
What’s your response to bad days or nights? I’d love to hear about how you feel or deal with this situation. Let me know in the comments!