This has been an unusually stressful year for me. My son has been having health problems and has been hospitalized three times. We have been helping take long distance care of my mother-in-law through stage 4 lung cancer which required us staying on the road. Lastly my job had me add teaching a class onto my normal work load. They paid me extra which was nice, but it was very time consuming. Everything culminated in July when my son had major surgery and we went through m-i-lís final days. She passed away a week ago.
Through all of this I have been working on improving my health. I developed my own set of standards that I thought I would share. First I recognized that I am not going through anything unusual. It is called life. Illness, death, and job stress is a part of life and I have to learn to deal with it without destroying my health.
Of course I have had very stressful times in the past. I am sure that we all have. How I react is under my control. In the past, I have turned to food as comfort which has added to my weight and health issues. So now I have decided to try, at the least, not to hurt my health and, as much as possible, to still work on weight loss through stress.
My rules for myself:
* Number 1 rule - do the best that I can. I can not turn to food for comfort because my health is important but I also have to recognize that I may not be 100% on plan. I can not let slip ups derail me. If I have too many calories one day, I just follow the plan the next day.
* When my son is sick and in the hospital, I need to stay completely on plan food wise. The hospital gives caloric information on several meals and it is quite possible to eat within my calorie range. I also learned that I need to tell the person dishing up the food that I am calorie counting so please give me the portion size in the nutritional info. Not surprising, when portions were measured the serving sizes got smaller!
* I give myself a break on exercise but still work some in. I take the stairs instead of the elevator and walk the hallways a few times a day.
* It was harder to stay OP when taking care of my m-i-l. She needed high caloric foods and that was hard to deal with. I cut myself a break and allowed a couple of hundred extra calories a day. I also could only get very little exercise when caring for her.
* During the days after her death, I gave myself a little slack. In the south, when there is a death in the family people bring in food, tons of it and it is all high calorie. I made the best selections that I could and avoided the dessert table that had many of my old favorite foods. One person, bless her heart, brought a fruit tray that was a big help. I was not sure of my calorie consummation but I know that it was less than it would have been a year ago.
I was glad to learn that my comfort foods have changed! I really wanted some vegetables. I found some frozen broccoli in the freezer that I had left in a previous visit and steamed it in the microwave. I was really glad to see that broccoli. I was doubly pleased with my daughterís reaction. She was as glad to see that dish as I was.
I will weigh tomorrow for the first time in a week. I avoid weighing for a couple of days after travel because I always have water weight. We will see how I do!
I think some of the stress is over for now. We have to settle m-i-lís estate but I donít think it will be as stressful as her illness. My sonís surgery should end his problems. I will be teaching again but it should fit in my life better.
However, stuff happens in life so eventually stress will happen again. Knowing how to handle it helps me. How do you handle stressful times?