People are bummed after reflecting on 2011. There’s Christmas aftermath – too much food, too much family, too much spending. Feelings of loneliness. Feelings of inadequacy. Feelings of helplessness about the upcoming year. Depression. Thoughts of just ending it all. Seriously – I’ve heard it all.
Call it what you want. Label it any catch-all, over diagnosed “disorder” you want. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Shit, call it PTSD. With the stress that we place on ourselves during the month of December, and the ensuing opening of emotional floodgates, we pretty much meet all the criteria. The fact is, it's messed up!
To date, this month has been a real eye opener.
This time of year isn’t supposed to be like this. We should be starting off the New Year excited. Ecstatic. Refreshed. Energized. Invigorated. Motivated. Determined. It’s intended to be the beginning of something new. Isn’t that why there’s such a big deal made out of New Years’ Eve - a chance for a new start?
In pretty much all of my discussions with people, I’ve started with ONE thought – ENJOYMENT! Do things in a way that will keep you happy and where possible remove the superfluous BS from your life. If you’re not enjoying something, figure out why the hell you’re doing it.
Below are some of the ENJOYABLE Suggestions and Tips that I’ve come up with for beating the blah’s, overcoming the overwhelming and pushing forward into the New Year.
“I just feel so blah. I have to get back into the gym.”
My advice: For the next month get your mind away from what you typically think of as “a workout“(1 hour, 3+ times a week, 3 sets, 10 reps, blah, blah, blah). The gym is crammed with people looking to “get back into it” and they’re pretty much all doing “typical gym shit”. Think of movement, and think of enjoying it. #MovementIsMedicine right?!?! What have you enjoyed in the past? Take 30 minutes and move - this is a heck of a lot more manageable than an hour plus, and can be just as productive, if not more. Whether it’s a walk, a jog, a run, some simple movements or exercises - get the heart rate up a bit and enjoy moving.
“I feel like crap after the holidays, I really have to get my diet back on track.”
My advice: For the next month - enjoy food! Steer clear of becoming obsessed with calories and fat and numbers. We know the basics of healthy eating (frequent meals, lots of fruit and veggies, not so much fat, 8 glasses of water). More damage is done by becoming consumed with - and stressing that we’re not eating the right food, or eating too much, or not eating enough. North American culture has fucked up our ability to simply enjoy food. We’re programmed from an early age to finish what’s on our plate rather than listening to our body’s needs. We’re guided by the Martha’s and the Rachael’s and led to think that everything we prepare has to look extraordinary and taste even better. TV has taken away from our ability to just enjoy experimenting with food, and our fast-paced, “convenience food” society has failed to expose many of us to Mom’s and Grandma’s preparing meals without a recipe, turning leftovers into solid, hearty and edible meals, and not stressing that everything is “just so” – except for Sunday dinner. It’s simple, food is supposed to be good and nourishing and enjoyable. Spend less time thinking about food and more time just enjoying it. Listen to your body. Enjoy each bite. Stop when you feel full.
“I’m just overwhelmed and don’t know where to start.”
As we set off towards reaching our goals we become consumed with a quest for “the best (and fastest) way to do it”. We Google “How to [insert goal here]” and are hit with “about 100,000 results”, and begin to plow our way through these only to become more confused with all of the different suggestions and advice that’s out there. More cardio. Less cardio, more weights. Less cardio, less weights, more intervals. No carb’s. Low glycemic. Blood-types. Shakes. High intensity. Super-slow. Hybrid this. Isolated that. GEESH!!
My advice: For the next month, reduce your “input sources” and stop all the reading! Find one or two sources, preferably the ones that you LIKE the most, and for the next month – this is all you read pertaining to your topic. Don’t click on the MSN or Yahoo link. Don’t buy the new book on the subject. Listen to the mentors that you have chosen but remember that following their advice must be enjoyable.
Yes, I know that this approach may be a bit laissez faire (and my clients are probably sitting there, jaws agape, saying “WTF?”), but a month of a more "enjoyable" approach may just provide you with enough decompression from 2011 to start to look ahead and see the rest of the year unfolding with a little more hope.