The death of a loved one hurts. Regardless of the age, the relationship, the circumstance…the finality of one’s life strikes at the core. Then there is the physical and emotional stress the body endures…from the moment you hear the news to the realization that life will never be the same without this person in your life…it takes its toll. The passing of my father in May was not only a surprise but an event I was not prepared to figure out how to handle on short notice. While my nutrition practice is all about helping others stay resilient through stress, I was pushed to the limit of staying resilient for myself and my family.
I pride myself in eating well and taking care of myself. I drink plenty of fluid, exercise, and get eight hours of sleep most nights. After all, it’s what I encourage my clients to do. So when my world turned upside down six weeks ago, “normal” changed for me. And it was especially difficult to stay up on my usual good habits.
So how did I cope for 2+ weeks living out of a suitcase, sleeping in a bed that was not my own, preparing meals that would appeal to people around the “family table,” being surrounded by an abundance of sweets that were indeed enticing, and experiencing days so full I had little time to myself?
Staying mindful of my humanness and crazy-frequent deep breathing were key. Every few moments I needed to remind myself that I would be no help to others if I did not first take care of myself. And above all, I needed to tap into forgiveness, mostly toward myself, and do the best I could given the circumstances.
Staying well hydrated was easy. It’s so much a part of my life that it became a normalizing act throughout the day. Drinking a tall glass of water was an easy self-care step, even in a pinch. And because my emotions were running high, I was frequently reminded of the need to replenish the fluid my body was shedding through tears.
Sleep, for the most part, was replenishing…I went to bed exhausted most nights. Not every night’s sleep was completely restful. But then, I didn’t expect them to be. I did my best to maintain a schedule of going to bed at the same time each night and getting up roughly eight hours later. It helped but was not always easy.
My greatest challenge was holding to my preference to avoid sugar, gluten and dairy. How did I do on this front? The best I could. At a time like this, people share their favorite meals. It’s their offering of comfort and support. They don’t ask; they just do. And the meals were welcomed gifts.
I can tolerate gluten on occasion; less so dairy. In time, I know my body will overcome the burden. It’s the sugar that makes my head explode.
For the most part, I gave up sugar decades ago. As early as my 20s, I was aware of how excess sugar made me reel. When presented with dessert, I typically decline. Not because I have great willpower, but because I know, first hand, how sugar affects my mood, my energy, and my general wellbeing. That doesn’t mean I survived the intensity of those heart-wrenching weeks in May without it. A cousin makes a mean rum cake. When Sue delivers her gift, you know it is filled with love, butter, sugar, flour, and well….rum. Not my normal daily fare! Yet, in honor of my father, who loved his desserts, and the fact that cousin Sue delivered not one but two rum cakes, I was drawn to sampling. And sample I did. Yes, the sugar went to my head. Yes, it took a while for my body to normalize, but I’m not beating myself up over the fact that I savored the indulgence.
Why am I sharing this with you this week? Because life surely takes unexpected turns. And we can’t always “stay the course” as intended. Thank goodness the body knows how to be resilient and works to the best of its ability to help you stay balanced.
Healthful nutrition is a lifestyle. It’s a lifestyle I’ve chosen because I know how much better I feel when I stay well hydrated, eat balanced meals, get regular exercise, and avoid my known food triggers. Because I do my best to keep myself strong and resilient, I can tolerate deviations when life calls for them. It’s part of the balance of life.
I encourage you to honor yourself and your body by adopting a lifestyle that promotes resilience. Prepare yourself NOW so you can better handle those unexpected times of high stress in the future. You know they are coming! Eating for health not only supports your body, your brain and your nervous system, it puts you in a better position to manage the vast array of emotions we all encounter.
To receive personalized suggestions for how you can boost your resilience, contact me by phone (303-442-2492) or email. Take steps now to prepare yourself for when life throws that curve.
Here’s to your health, vitality and resilience!
I believe good health is as close as your kitchen. My nutrition practice is based on nutrient-dense, whole food and lifestyle choices that support health and wellness, especially during times of high stress and transitions. My role is to educate, guide and support individuals who want to break the stress-induced cycle of depletion and regain control of their health. As a Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition® (Candidate), I look forward to helping you create a vibrant life. To learn more, contact me at 303-442-2492 or by email.