Reactions To Challenges and Stress (6-Minute Read)

It's okay not not have it figured out yet Connie Pretula shares her reaction to a bad day
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Connie Pretula

Connie Pretula is an inspiring health coach and Menopause Navigator to mature women, using a holistic approach to nutrition and life.

September 18, 2023

I hope you had a great week!

I was going to talk about a completely different topic today until, as each minute went by, I was faced with another challenge and my morning spiralled out of control. Well, that’s how it felt, sigh…

I will admit, ever since my mom’s passing in November 2019, I am far more sensitive when stressful situations arise. As I have shared previously, comfort or emotional eating, was also my vice when I was faced with stress after my mom’s stroke.

When I was unable to manage the emotional eating on my own, my friend Ingrid Barclay led me through her emotional eating course to help me get back on track. I’m so grateful for her friendship and her help and overall, I’ve been able to be mindful and not gobble down a whole dark chocolate bar or visit my favourite cafes for gluten-free cupcakes and cookies.

I shared with Ingrid this past weekend that I noticed I have been returning to my old habits again and was working at turning that around. 

It was at this time of year in 2019 that my mom’s situation was becoming more challenging for her. The weekend of Canadian Thanksgiving was when she asked me to make the call to start the process to be approved for an assisted death.

My mom deciding on an assisted death was not traumatic for me, I fully supported her decision and I will always see her as extremely brave for leaving this world on her terms.

Reality is, I still really miss my mom and this time of year is a reminder of those last months.

I don’t believe in pushing emotions or feelings aside, being a martyr or acting like superwoman and that I can get through anything type of attitude because I’m on my own and I have to. In saying that, I do need to be kind to myself, even if it means stepping away from technology and going for a walk and taking time to think about how I am going to continue to move forward.

This morning was a combination of events. Occasionally I change my passwords to keep my accounts safe. Two that I changed caused issues with my calendar and my email and I kept getting messages that I needed to authenticate and every time I tried it wasn’t working, ugh! I was also on hold for an hour and 45 minutes with my business credit card provider to dispute a transaction from a business that keeps saying they will cancel my service and still put the charge through every month. I was trying to do what I could while on hold but the issues with my email limited what I was able to do and I needed to call Apple support to see if they could help me. That meant disconnecting from my credit card call to use my phone.

I called another number for my credit card company and ended up getting no further other than being told I needed to wait on hold or call back at a time that was less busy, imagine the red emoji with the symbols for swearing being repeated a number of times.

We are living in an ever-changing and at times, challenging world which can cause frustration. We are more connected than ever and many people will say they feel lonelier than ever. 

In the past I would call my mom, not to vent but to hear her voice and find out how her day was going. Now, I have to resist the temptation to head over to social media and start scrolling to disconnect from whatever frustrated me. That is a very dangerous place to be as my feed starts to fill with accounts that are making all kinds of sweet things and it wouldn’t be long before I would be in the kitchen.

If I hadn’t messaged Ingrid on the weekend acknowledging I’m returning to some old habits, I may have whipped up a batch of my favourite cookies and quickly polished them off. I would justify making them because they are healthier than what I would buy at a cafe. They would be made with organic ingredients and no refined flours. Yes, temporary endorphin, serotonin, dopamine, and oxytocin hit and I’m feeling good! Then the guilt would set in and then disappointment and next would be the imposter syndrome, who am I to guide others when I eat emotionally at times.

I’m thankful the Apple support person was able to help me get things fixed. That helped to change how I was feeling. The credit card issue, I will deal with later and hopefully get through at some point.

I’m also proud of myself because I knew I wanted to eat something sweet and I said to myself, it is not the solution and will not solve the credit card issue and, it is not a good choice based on my health goals.

I also sat down and had a cry. I allowed myself to release all of the tension and frustration I was holding. After shedding the energy through my tears, I felt better and decided to share my experience with all of you which has made me feel even better and I have no desire to have something sweet.

One of the tasks I give my clients is keeping track of what they are eating for seven days. This includes tracking their sleep habits and exercise. I have had many clients tell me they need to start over and can’t send me the information or, they skip a number of days. When I ask why, often they say they are embarrassed because they had a bad day and ate foods they don’t want me to see.

I know how it feels when I don’t want someone to know what I have eaten, I’m the last person to judge what someone has done. But, seeing what is happening or what triggered the reaction to eat or drink certain things gives me so much information. It allows me to start to be empathetic and support that person so they can start to make the changes they want to make.

Changing habits takes time and it also takes a safe environment. For me, it is one of the most important aspects of my support to my clients. It’s also why I like to take the focus off of releasing weight and focus on what’s happening in my client’s world. Yes, there can be health reasons why they are holding onto weight. Being a holistic nutritionist means I am taking everything into consideration.

I can also empathize because I have had and do have my own challenges and need to work through them to stay on track with my health goals and release the need to be perfect. I’m a work in progress and I often say, as long as I am breathing, there is hope.

Thank you for reading my words.

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