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Self-medicating ourselves with bad habits

It’s been a bit stressful for me at work lately.  Grant proposal deadlines loom and so things are always crazy around this time.  I’m also taking on more work responsibilities and possibly a promotion and I have mixed feelings about it.  Excitement, anxiety, a little fear – am I ready for it?

Anyway, after spending a stressful day at work yesterday, all I really wanted to do was go home and take a break from working out.  I could hear a bag of chips and pumpkin ale calling my name.  Instead, I put on my running clothes and did 3 miles on the treadmill while watching an episode of The Blacklist on Netflix.  I felt much better afterwards and I was so glad I didn’t opt for that stupid bag of chips and beer.

Which brings me to the reason I’m writing this post: what is it about stress that makes us want to eat crap, skip our workouts, and just generally not give a shit about our health?  We all have bad things happen in our life.  We all know that we deal with things better when we feel healthy.  We know that we deal with stress better when we eat healthy and work out regularly.

It makes absolutely no sense to me when our minds tell us, “I’m going through a really tough time right now, so I’m getting off of the healthy track for just a while until things calm down and I’m feeling up to eating healthy and working out again.”  WTF?  That makes absolutely no sense, and we KNOW it doesn’t make sense, and yet we listen to that voice.

What we really need to do is tell that voice to shut the hell up because it has no idea what the hell it’s talking about.  What we need more than anything during tough times in our lives is to pay special attention to ourselves and our health.  We need healthy eating and workouts during the tough times more than at any other time.  Why would we punish ourselves and make things worse by eating like shit and skipping workouts?  How is that helping anything?

The next time you’re feeling blue, sad, angry, or frazzled, think about how you’re choosing to treat yourself.  Think really, really hard.  And then ask yourself what you deserve.  I’m willing to bet that you deserve more than the crap you’re giving yourself.  We all deserve better than that.  We are rock stars and we deserve VIP treatment.

Do you agree?  What are some healthy ways that you deal with stressful, negative situations in your life?  I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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8 thoughts on “Self-medicating ourselves with bad habits

  1. Yep, I totally agree! Of course you already know that when I get stressed out I go for a run. And if I can’t run, I take Lucy for a walk. And when I get stressed out at work? I tune out and get on FB or read blogs (like right now ;)) And hey, best wishes on getting that promotion!

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    1. Running and eating healthy have literally saved my sanity! I recently started meditating, too, and although I haven’t gotten into the habit of doing it daily like I want, I’ve noticed that I’m able to be more in the moment, worry less, and not let my mind start freaking out about stuff I have no control over.

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    2. Also, when I get stressed at work, I walk away from my desk and go outside to get some fresh air. I take deep breaths, focus on the trees and the squirrels until I feel refreshed and ready to tackle work tasks again! I also listen to music at my desk and I’ll dance in my chair! It’s hard to feel stressed when there’s good music playing! 🙂

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  2. I love this post! I struggle with this also. It seems the first thing I want to do in stressful times is eat junk and skip exercise! Maybe it’s our way of pampering ourselves because we are going through so much? It gives us comfort in a time that we need it. You are so right…it only makes our situation worse. I know that nothing helps my stress better than a good workout or run. If I’m stressed and I start running, within half a mile..that stress is gone! I have no doubt about that but I always want to do the wrong thing. I am so much better than I used to be when I weighed 300 lbs. But still, I need to be better. I know better. Great post!

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    1. Have you noticed that we have this mentality when we’re on vacation, too? We give ourselves permission to eat crap and massive amounts of food, lay around like sloths, because we’re “on vacation”. I don’t know about you, but I don’t know how many vacations I’ve come back from feeling like crap because I was “pampering” myself with junk food, alcohol, and lack of exercise! We humans are such strange creatures, aren’t we?

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  3. I am so guilty of making unhealthy choices when I’m feeling stressed! I’ve been working on finding new ways to deal with stress that doesn’t detail me. Good for you for choosing a run over the chips and beer!!

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  4. This is such a great post, and so timely. I’ve been dealing with some stress (haven’t we all?) and have not been handling it in the best, healthiest way. I know that a long walk feels better and relieves more stress than junk food, but when in the moment, it’s tough to remember that..and act on it. Thanks, as always, for the inspiration.

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