“Clare, it’s just so hard. My baby was sleeping well and now at 3 months is never consistent and I can’t figure out any sort of routine!”
“My mother in law took a turn for the worse. I am traveling back and forth from their house to mine and it’s been hard to get to any of my exercise classes and plan my meals.”
“We just moved! Boxes are everywhere. I have no idea if we’ll join a gym or not. We are eating out almost every night. I’m going crazy!”
“My son just went away to college and I am just struggling with the practical and emotional changes.”
Sound familiar? This small sampling of comments are from what I call “transition moments” in someone’s life. They are times when the normal routine is out of whack–like, more than just the last minute, random twist of the schedule. They are times that you normally can’t avoid and throw you for a real loop. What has always worked for you in the past no longer works. You don’t have the time or emotional energy to put the focus there. (I’m primarily talking about health in this post, however, this really applies across many areas of life.)
So what’s a person to do when they find themselves in this spot?
My suggestion? Give yourself “Permission to transition”.
Oh, it pains me when I hear people beat themselves up for trying to keep to a certain schedule that was set up when circumstances were much different! It causes disappointment, defeat, and can even cause some to question their ability to “stick to it”. I think this is really unfair so if you are in this spot, I want you to take a breath. Relax. It’s OK that you are in this new, temporary phase. Give yourself permission to get through it.
When are some common times to give yourself “permission to transition”? Here are a few that I’ve thought of, although they are not limited to these!
– After giving birth
– Changing jobs
– Starting a new “season” of life
– Major schedule change
– After major sickness
– Major relationship change (break-up, separation, divorce)
– While caring for a loved one
– After the death of a loved one
Do you want to know how often I give myself the “permission to transition”? At least 3 times a year: the fall (starting back to a brand new family routine), January (yet another new routine), and the beginning of the summer (you guessed it..new family routine). In the past, areas have included changing jobs, pregnancy, and post-pregnancy. Just 3 weeks ago I was telling someone that while I was still “in the game” with my health, it definitely wasn’t at my normal level. January is a SUPER busy time for me and yes, I can’t always give my health the focus that I WANT to give it. I used to really get upset about it, but I have to take a chill-pill, realize the life God’s given me, and do the best with it. Once I give myself that permission, I am MUCH happier about my current situation. And per the norm, time passes and I’m back at it–without the guilt (and extra pounds)!
So where does this leave us? Does it mean that we are helpless, allowing the circumstances to dictate how we tend to our health? Of course not. Here is how I have dealt with it:
– Adjust your expectations
Allow yourself to do less. Sometimes, this means doing nothing, but most of the time, it just means dialing it way back. Once you’ve set a new expectation, then use that as your new standard until you can get back up again.
– Do what you can, when you can
There will be times during these periods of transition where you have a taste of the “previous” season. When you see small moments of time when you can taste the previous season, grab it. Don’t over-analyze. Don’t make it too difficult. Just go with it and be happy that you did something.
– Remind yourself that this won’t last forever
Perspective is so important. When you are going through the thick of it and you feel like your life is running you instead of the other way around, you need to be able to step back a bit and re-focus. (And if it is really lasting forever, this has become your “new normal”, so make a new plan off of that)
– Don’t forget about “self-care”
Wait, what? I thought you just said this is for when we aren’t able to take care of ourselves? While it’s true that taking care of our physical health is pivotal for “self-care”, there are other ways to make that happen. Listen to worship or uplifting music when you can. Pick up a book and read for 10 minutes. Write in your journal. Call a friend. Take a shower…a long one. Paint your nails. And of course, this goes without saying, keep yourself in God’s Word and in prayer. These “small” things will carry you through some days. They will be what keeps you sane when the rest of you wants to scream! It’s OK to take some time out.
I’ve got one final area where I want you to give yourself this permission to transition–trying something new in your health journey. Examples?
– Trying to eat clean/ cook more at home
– Journaling your food/counting calories
– Stopping a habit (no more pop, the 3pm snickers bar)
Ohhh–the emails I get from folks so disappointed in themselves when they realize that this new time of transition isn’t going well! They want to throw in the towel as soon as they hit a wall, which just brings them back to square 1! I ALWAYS tell people to give themselves a break!! It is a NEW thing and a NEW phase and just like anything else, give yourself a little grace! You cannot expect to just nail it your first go around. Practice makes better and more practice makes even better. Oh, please. Do not give up when you are just trying out something new in regards to your health. Give yourself the permission to transition here, and keep going!
If you tend to these transition periods with the right focus and spirit, it will make your transition back INTO the normal much easier. Those who are bitter and lose perspective about their life will struggle much more getting back into it because there will be a sense of entitlement to slip right back into the way it was. There needs to be grace, patience, and perseverance on BOTH ends of the transition.
I ‘ve been listening to this song a lot lately. I feel like it may encourage some of you who are in this transition phase of life. So while your life may feel out of control, and this time of transition feels never-ending, you are never alone. The chorus goes like this:
“Never once did we ever walk alone
Never once did You leave us on our own
You are faithful, God, You are faithful”
(Click here if you can’t see the video)
“Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.” Psalm 139:7-10
I would love to hear from you. Have there been times in your life when you’ve had to transition? Have you given yourself that permission to do so? How have you dealt with this situations?
This past year, I had become a true fitness buff. I went to the gym five days a week, I was in the best shape and was consumed with my passion for health and fitness.
Then in September, during one of my favorite classes, I stepped off a Step 360 improperly and badly sprained my ankle.
During my time of healing (which took until December), I hardly worked out at all, but the Holy Spirit woke me up to how much time I was committing to this new phase of life. Everything was coming second to my workout schedule: God, my marriage, my family, my home… I am not saying that I no longer value fitness and health, but I now understand that I did not have the proper balance in my life.
SO during that time, I got my house in order. I rested. I spent time with my husband & children and did other activities that no longer had to work around my workout routine. I joined a Bible Study and became focused on being Christ centered again.
Now, I am back to working out, my body wasn’t as toned as it was before, my pants fit a bit more tightly, but I had gained perspective. I truly do value health and fitness and know that I must care for this temple that God granted me, but there is balance now and my heart is full!
Romans 5:3&4 – Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.
I’m at a transition now, due to an unknown injury that is causing swelling in my right shin and ankle. I only remember my last run, 5 days ago my ankle being sore nearing the end. I am disappointed as I’m on track to break my time of a 10km in under 60 minutes. But I must rest in Jesus, rest my leg, walking at the moment and will have to swim too so I don’t loose too much fitness as the race is March 8. Like you’ve so rightly pointed out. I Need to concentrate on what I can do, while being kind to myself so I don’t further stress my injury. My hope is to run my first half marathon this coming July. I feel I can do it, If I’m kind to myself and let myself heal.
Thankyou for all your wonderful inspiration. I love your balanced approach with Christ woven through it as He should be. God bless x
Thank you Clare. Love you. :*)
Thank you so much for your words today…January has always been a hard month for me…and this January hit me hard…you have given me the permission and now I can give to myself the permission that it is ok that my routine has been off…THIS TOO SHALL PASS! February will be brighter and more on queue for me! And staying strong in my faith is a must…thank you!!!
This is the exact word I needed to hear. My son who was born with a unilateral complete cleft lip and palate is scheduled in April to have a maxillary distraction which is a two part surgery and a 6 week recovery. He is 11 (will be 12 in May). We also have a two year old daughter. I have recently develop a love of running and exercising. It developed through finally getting to a place of realizing I needed to make a difference, my medical doctor, and reading a well known book on craving God not food. I’m a SAHM so I work out while my daughter is in preschool or I take her to the gym but I also wake up every day at 6 or 6:30 to spend quiet time with the Lord. I have wondered since learning about this upcoming surgery, how would I have time for my quiet time? How will I have time to exercise? When will my house get cleaned? (I clean my entire house on Mondays while my daughter is at school.) I’ve literally worried myself and am already trying to create a plan. I researched to see if Scottish Rite in Atlanta had a gym (they do). Reality is that, I will not be leaving my son’s side until he says “go”. I will not be cheerfully waking up at 6 if I’ve been up with him because he was hurting. But reading the words “it’s okay to transition”. Our routine during this surgery will be so different from MY “planned daily schedule”. I am being stretched by God and that’s okay but I know the suffering of this life doesn’t compare to the glory of Heaven, I know that as I cry tears of worry for my son that Ryan’s life was ordained long before he was ever in my arms. I appreciate this blog so much. It spoke straight to my heart. Please forgive my rambling!!!
Thank you so much for this post. This past year has seen a new baby(our fourth), our first year of homeschooling, and a move to a new city so needless to say this transition time has been a tough one, and not just in the fitness area! A couple of weeks ago I allowed myself to let go of the exercise part and just focus on the immediate. The amount of stress that lifted off of me just by telling myself it was ok to NOT work out and just eat healthy and do what I can has been such a relief. I was struggling because everyone says that exercise will make me feel better and give me more energy but really it was just wearing me down even more because it was just one more thing on my plate. Anyways, this was a really long comment but I just wanted to thank you for “giving” this permission! I have always enjoyed your blog and always get such encouragement from it!
I’m amazed at how you’ve turned the light bulb on for me. 3 1/2 years ago our daughter-in-law set our home on fire with us in it (including her 4-month old son). My husband had surgery 5 days after the fire; we took custody of our 4-month old grandson; we moved; we were estranged for a short while from our son who was stationed in Kuwait at the time. I had pretty well conquered my eating/exercise routines before this and all of a sudden I couldn’t get a grip. For the first month, we were staying with friends and we were grateful. Then at the age of 52, I became a daily caregiver for an infant. I forgot that you forget to eat when you take care of a small baby. There’s so much to remember. Then there were the legal issues involving his mother and us. His dad came home and they now live with us. I’ve been struggling with what my problem was. We were in transition and now this is the new normal. Such a simple answer. Thanks.
Thank you for this post. I am somebody that loves routine and lately, I feel like I have lost control of my routine.
Mother moved in after a stroke, 90 years old. Quit work outside the home. Cleaning out her house that is a 2 hour drive away. Husband took a new job in TN seven months ago. Preparing to relocate selling and buying homes. Daughter graduating. Planning a wedding for August. On top of that the coldest most restrictive winter.
Thank you for this kind post. I was recently remembering the “good ole days” when I exercised on a very regular basis. Lots has changed since then. Marriage/kids/Cancer. I can’t recall the last time I purposely exercised. I say purposely because I figure going up and down the stairs a million times a day for various reasons must count for something, right???? And carrying around a one year old (especially in her infant carrying car seat) is like lifting weights, right??
Anyways, I really appreciate your heart on this and your taking the time to share it. The timing was perfect for me.
Thank you for such an encouraging post. I have been in transition. One after another recently. I am struggling. You post was refreshing and just what I need to hear. I want to be in control and tend to be very hard on myself. I need to receive God’s grace. That song has been on my playlist for the last couple weeks too. “Breathing in your grace. Breathing out your praise.”
Claire – this is wonderful. As women and moms – we need to allow ourselves the same amount of grace we show to everyone else! Today is a new day from Him – and it won’t look like yesterday or tomorrow! Being thankful for each season – even the busy ones – is the key for me.
Clare, Thank you so much for this post. Your compassionate and encouraging words have me in tears. I won’t go into all the transitions my family and I are dealing with at the moment, but suffice it to say my stress level is high and my self-care is low. The song at the end was so touching as well. Thank you.
I listened to this podcast this morning and I thought what Dr Ravi says about appetite is SO good!!
It’s worth the time to listen 🙂
Hi Jodie! Thanks for this!
3 years ago I started my journey heading into the age of 30. I began running which led to a full marathon a year later -I went from obese to thin, from 200 to 145. I got burnt out! I shifted into power lifting the next year and loved it! I gained muscle quick adding back some fat naturally =weight up! But, I was not “weighed down” by it one single bit. Between the 2 sports we began an adoption process and a very long hard winter and I have had to literally love myself through this, taking every thought captive. It’s been a year of transition and I’ve been using exercise and healthy eating as a way to love myself not beat myself down. It’s not perfect or nearly as “on track,” as it was during focused training but God is teaching me the truth of “permission to transition.”
I am so there. We moved Memorial Day weekend into an apartment while our home was getting built, and now we just moved again into our new home. While we are very blessed to have built a home. . …My body aches in areas I didn’t even know it could. I am feeling so worn out and have tried to go down to the treadmill and run, but my body is so tired. So I have been trying to tell myself that packing and walking all around this house is a lot of exercise. What I need is to keep eating healthy. Listening to my body is key. Knowing this whole summer has been a transition period for my whole family is key too. I have fit exercise in when I could. After writing this, I am finally going to relax and take a hot bath. I deserve it – I finally got our kitchen done!!
Such perfect timing-
That was very encouraging to me during a most difficult ‘transition’ in my life. Sometimes we put too much on ourselves. And I know I do- today a good friend reminded me it’s ok to not be ok. And you essentially said the same thing- in just a different way.