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Watch Out for All-or-Nothing Thinking

All-or-nothing thinking often creates stress and sets people up to fail at their healthy eating and physical activity goals.  Many people conclude that they are a “failure” if they don’t follow their eating and/or exercise plans perfectly.  Several times a week I encourage our H3 guests to try to avoid this extreme thinking. 

I recently realized that I wasn’t practicing what I was preaching.  I am the volunteer Rescue Coordinator for a high-kill animal shelter in Darlington, SC.  This job entails spending several hours every day communicating with animal rescue groups to save dogs and cats who would otherwise be put to sleep for lack of space.  Burned out by the constant pressure, time demands (there are no days off), and the emotional ups-and-downs of this often heart-breaking rescue work, I was tempted to quit altogether.  Can we say “All or Nothing,” boys and girls? 

Then one evening I acknowledged that I enjoyed the interactions with the rescuers and would really miss them.  However, I was over-burdened by taking on too many administrative tasks.  In a moment of clarity, I realized that perhaps I could ask for help with some of those tasks so that I would have enough time and energy to focus on what I enjoyed the most (and was the best at).  I could step back a little without walking away.  Lo and behold, another volunteer offered to take on some of the time-consuming tasks and share the burden.  I will now be able to continue making a difference while still having time to take care of myself.

If you’re feeling over-burdened by work and/or family demands, ask yourself if there is some way to step back a little (perhaps by asking for help and/or delegating) so that you can take better care of yourself physically and emotionally.  Remember: living a healthy lifestyle is all about balance and moderation!

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