Well, folks, as is the way of life my couple months of gleeful exercise was followed by a multi-week slump. I was doing really well with exercising regularly and eating healthy foods through December and January, but then February hit, which is when:
- I went to LA, which was super fun but definitely threw off my routine. Also involved lots of unhealthy foods and alcohol. Also had to deal with jet lag and feeling crummy after coming back (swearing off overnight flights from here on out omg).
- Work got super stressful. Everything I previously enjoyed about my job is now gone, which is pretty depressing tbh. Before I really liked my manager because she mostly let me be and focused more on the quality of research done rather than the things consulting companies normally care about (sales, unnecessary meetings, ridiculously complex formatting templates, working 50+ hours a week). My manager had just kinda let me manage myself, which was awesome. She also hated unnecessary meetings as much as I did. Recently, however, they brought on a new person whose entire job is to “manage” us and not do any of the actual work… and that has been really fucking annoying and stressful. And those who know me know I don’t manage stress…. well. So my health and also health behaviors like exercising and eating well really suffered. And of course it’s an endless cycle: stress –> sleeping poorly, not exercising, not eating well, drinking too much –> feeling even shittier/stressing out more –> and so forth. It’s difficult to break that cycle when you are in it.
- February is always, always, the worst time for me mental and physical health wise. It’s dark and cold and there aren’t any holidays (no, I did not get off for President’s day XD). I always reach my lowest point in February, but even while knowing this and trying to prepare in advance, there’s only so much I can do. Sometimes I just gotta ride out the month and remind myself that it gets better.
- I’m still attempting to wean off my meds. I stalled at half a pill because things got intense in life, and I didn’t feel ready to reduce it any more. Even though I originally felt good with half a pill, it’s making it harder to get out of my low points, and I’m wondering now if I should go back to my full dose.
- I got sick, which threw off my exercise and food routines even more.
- Many of my fitness deals that I had expired, and I’ve been too cheap to do any new ones. Pure Barre was great for me because it was right next to my work and easy for me to do after work 2x a week – but I did the free week trial and the $99 unlimited month deals, and the normal prices ($25 a class or some deals where you pay for 10 or 20 classes) is just too exorbitant for me to justify while I am paying so much each month for my student loans (really hating past me’s decision to pay for a 100k grad school). Similarly, I did a free month of ClassPass but canceled it (many of the studios around my work don’t actually offer ClassPass – even the Pure Barre next to my work even though it does at other places; also the cancellation policy is annoying – you have to cancel 12 hours in advance or else you get charged).
So, anyway, this post has become a monster, but I feel like it’s helpful to look back at why I’m feeling shitty right now and help figure out how to get back to where I was in Dec/Jan and feeling good.
Soooooo…. that brings me to my NEW CHALLENGE – THE SIX DAY SPRINT!!!! The purpose of this challenge is really to jump start me back into a good diet and exercise routine. After this is done, I’m hoping to come up with more concrete goals for myself and do a longer challenge.
But for this week’s challenge (Sunday-Friday):
- At least 30 minutes of moderate to intense exercise EVERY DAY FOR SIX DAYS, making sure that it includes a mix of cardio, strength, and flexibility.
- Added sugars
- Processed foods
- Red meat
- Lean protein
- Beans, legumes, nuts, and seeds
- Whole grains
- Healthy fats and oils
- At least 7 hours per night
- Maintain sleep schedule (around 11pm-7am give or take an hour in either direction)
Coming up, I will give an update on how my 6-day streak goes (already I had a yummy avocado and egg toast for breakfast and am about to exercise).
Also, coming up I will be reviewing and comparing meal delivery services (Blue Apron, Hello Fresh, and Home Chef) but am waiting until I cook a couple more Home Chef meals so it is a fair comparison (however, spoiler alert, currently Hello Fresh is in the lead).
Do you experience a mental and physical health slump in the winter? How do you deal with it?