Jen Kates by Jen Kates
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Life isn’t always rainbows and unicorns. Things happen. Life happens.

Just when you think that things will calm down and you will have more time to attend to your health and wellness goals, it seems that things inevitably pop up. This is probably relatable for you since you have likely been there (or in a similar situation) before.

As with many things, there are seasons in training and in life in general, much like we see with spring, summer, fall and winter. These seasons are fleeting and progress through cycles, just like your willingness to train or stick to a certain routine with your nutrition.

Some seasons will see you training hard and having your nutrition and lifestyle dialed or in alignment with your goals. In other seasons, however, you may need to take some time off to balance your efforts with other stressors or life events you’re experiencing. There is nothing wrong with taking some time off to help give yourself some space to just be, to simply exist.

We all will have seasons in our lives when we may need to ease up on our health and fitness pursuits. We may need more time to relax or more space to tend to other things that are important. Here are some tips for learning how to give yourself a break and honor what you may need most during any given season of life.

What to Do

It may be necessary to take some time away from workouts or be strict with your nutrition to allow for more energy for other responsibilities, passions or priorities in your life. For example, perhaps you have a sick child or a parent who needs extra care. You might have a major deadline at work that requires longer-than-usual hours in the office, making it impossible to complete your usual morning workouts unless you sacrifice sleep.

Each of these things requires you to prioritize exactly what is most important to you at any given time. So, pause for a moment and take inventory of your available time and energy to focus on aspects of your fitness, health and wellness. Decide what you have the time and energy to follow through within that moment, recognizing that these are not permanent decisions. Then, implement what you’re able to give your energy and attention to, and be gentle with yourself if it means that you have to let workouts fall to the wayside, or if other aspects of your health and wellness pursuits need to be abbreviated.

When deciding what you have energy for in that moment, try to choose the simplest thing you can do for yourself. Instead of vowing to prepare all your meals for the week ahead, you may only have time to prep breakfast. Instead of thinking you need to exercise five days this week, maybe fitting in three short workouts is more realistic. Instead of reading 10 pages of your new book, aim to read just one page. You get the idea: Choose the simplest thing you can do in that moment, knowing that doing something is much better than nothing at all.

The act of being gentle with yourself is perhaps the most difficult part of respecting your season of life. This is because we tend to strive for perfection by considering things in terms of “black and white,” “good or bad,” or “on or off.” We may think we need to be “perfect” with our fitness and wellness endeavors. For this reason, it’s important to acknowledge that you are doing the best you can do in the moment or season you are in.

Respect Where You’re At

In your various seasons of life, acknowledge your intentions, priorities and how you need to show up for yourself. Recognize that this can change as various things change in your life. But the overarching goal should be to remain fluid with what you’re physically and mentally capable of bringing to this particular season of life. Know that each season is temporary, as the only constant is change. And most importantly, be gentle with yourself and know that you’re not “failing” anything in that moment.

Do YOU see a future as a fitness pro?

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