How To Recover The #FEELGOOD you after a few tough years.

One of my favourite topics after having had a very serious nervous breakdown, a good while ago now, when I was in my twenties. But you know, it’s coming at a good time because everybody’s been through a tough time. I mean, with this pandemic and if it’s not pandemic for you, you may have been through a divorce or suffered a death in the family, addiction, poor mental health, financial trouble, sudden loss.

I know how difficult it is when you’re going through those years. My breakdown, it was a long time coming, not taking care of myself properly, eating really badly, smoking, drinking too much alcohol, staying up too late, having no routine, having nobody really trusting that I could trust in my circle, loads and loads of things, poor self-esteem, a lack of confidence.

Everything just built up and it just crashed. And it’s really bad when through a tough time, you don’t feel yourself and it’s just a really, really awful time. I felt so bad in that time, really, really bad. Like I couldn’t even… I had no peace of mind at all. I had no calmness in my life. And when I say calmness in my life, it’s really in your mind. From the second woke up in the morning, it was just worrying. It’s very hard to explain. It’s not that you’re thinking about things too much, it’s that you feel like you don’t even have control over your mind. You’re that far gone, stressed out and just horrific, really horrific.

But it’s one of my passions and you know what? I’m so grateful for that breakdown because I rebuilt and I was able to have new people in my life that I trusted. I was able to start again. And that’s how I got into helping other people feel good. And it’s why it’s a big passion of mine to help you feel good and feeling good comes from the inside out. And that’s why I’m really passionate about exercise and fitness and fresh air.

I love, love, love, my passion is the inside out, my absolute passion. I love it. I think you can and have the best life in the world if you work on what’s inside. And it’s for me, the only way going about things. No amount of makeup or clothes is going to get you feeling good, but what’ll get you feeling good is taking care of your body and taking care of your mental health.

I’ve meet many women on a daily basis that have been going through hell or they’re having a really tough time and the recovery process is always the same. It’s black and white. There’s no real gray area for recovery. It’s all about taking care of your mental health, taking care of your exercise and taking care of your good food. I know the steps now that are required to bring you back up from absolute hell. And even if you’re not going through hell, even if you’re just going through a tough time, you’re off track. This is for you, regardless of whether you’re really struggling or whether you’re just a bit struggling. When you’re going through a dark time as well, like dependence on alcohol, lack of exercise, bad food choices, a lack of sleep, for some a dependence on medication can all start to become your habit.

When you’re trying to get back on track, you have a lot of other old bad habits to break, late night snacking, drinking too much alcohol. Like for me, I had so many bad habits to break, I didn’t really know where to start. So I had a lot of false starts and these bad habits that can escalate and get out of control. And you find yourself detoxing, like trying to get off alcohol and sugar and trying to get good sleep patterns. It’s going to be horrific, first of all. And it’s absolute hell.

And I’ve been there, I’ve been through it all, coming off alcohol. I was drinking an astonishing amount and coming off cigarettes and just changing all those habits can be so, so, so tough. But when you’re in that bad place, all you’re doing is making it worse because you feel very, really bad.

And you’ve got very bad stuff going on in your life. When you’ve added this whole extra layer of badness, you’re overweight, your clothes are too tight. You feel so fat. So huge. So disgusting. You can barely look at yourself in the mirror. You’re depending on alcohol or sugar, chocolate, your bad habits are so bad. So you feel like shit and you’re doing everything to make yourself feel worse. And then you’re kind of going around with all these problems and then also calling yourself fat every three seconds. It’s a pretty, pretty low point to be at.

Feelings of failure, groggy, even just being sweaty from the alcohol is disgusting. And hatred for the mornings, that used to be a big thing for me. Just like you’d open up your eyes and you’d be like, oh no, here we go again. I’m not sure I can do this day.

And then you just lie there and takes you about an hour to feel like you can face anything. And then the sweats pouring out of you. And you’re trying to put your clothes on but you’re so fat and you just feel so disgusting. And then you go downstairs and it’s like, well, I won’t eat very much today because I feel so fat and blah, blah, blah. Cycle goes on. You get to four o’clock in the evening and all of a sudden, you’re looking forward to having a drink again. Horrible, horrible, horrible. It’s just absolutely horrible. I feel good in the mornings now, but they were just so bad. They were just so bad, horrific stuff. Just that feeling of dread and the thought that you had to do the day all over again, would just be put me off, put me right off. When you’re ready to make a change, you know you’re ready.

And that’s what I want to now talk about, the positives, the making a change and you should make you… A great idea is to pick a date and start that date. I think when you’re feeling that bad, it needs to kind of be this like one big epic date in your calendar. For me that works like cold turkey with everything, it doesn’t work to kind of like slowly work yourself up and tomorrow… Just go right, on the 15th of this month, I am going to go for it. And this date is going to mark a new chapter in your life. So you’re going to like write this down in your journal and be like all the ways your life is going to change on this date and what they don’t tell you about that date is that it’s going to be horrific.

You’re going to feel like shit, because you’re going to be withdrawing from potentially sugar, alcohol, and you’re going to have withdrawal symptoms. And I remember chatting to somebody there a few months ago who wanted to give up alcohol during the week. And they did. And I spoke to them the next week and I said, how’d you get on? They were like, oh my God, I’m so shocked that I didn’t sleep well and I feel so horrendous. And I was like, oh my God, of course you feel horrendous. I’m so sorry, I thought you knew you would feel so bad. And it surprised me so much and it made me want to let everybody know that because it could put you off if you’re like, why do I feel so bad when I’m not having a drink or I’m going off the sugar? Know that you’re going to feel really, really, really bad, like so bad.

Like you’re not going to sleep at all. You mighty even only get two hours of sleep because I read something really, really interesting about alcohol that when you drink so much of it, like consistently over a period of time, that what it does is it kind of slows down… Oh, how can I get this right? Because of what it does to your brain, your brain then works overtime to compensate. Okay, so let’s just say that. So when you stop drinking, the suppressant or whatever, it means that your brain starts to work, go into overtime with your thoughts. And haven’t you ever experienced that at through a weekend away or a wedding or something? You come back and you can’t sleep because your brain is going like 90 miles an hour. That’s it, that’s withdrawals. So you’ll have that for like three days, at least.

And you’ll have massive headaches. You’ll be irritable, tired, and cranky. And this is even just with giving up comforting eating. If you’ve been comforting eating late on the snack, late at night. But you’re committed. And that’s the wonderful thing that when you commit to something and you decide you’re going to give something up, you don’t mind feeling really bad because you know you’re doing a really positive thing and you’re going to commit to exercise in this day too. And know that that will also be hell because I often find that when you start working out, it’s when you feel like shit. Because when you don’t work out, you don’t really realise how unfit you are and how overweight you feel. Well, you look in the mirror. But for me, when started working out and actually experience with clients as well. I sometimes meet clients when they first start and they say to me, oh my God, I can’t get over how unfit they are.

And they beat themselves up. Whereas actually know that it’ll be horrific, but know that you’ve taken steps to getting fit. So actually you should be really proud of yourself, but anyway. So you pick your date in your calendar. That’s the date you’re going to get rid of all wine, biscuits and cakes from your house and that’s also going to be your first day of exercise. You’re going to drink two litres of water on that day. You’ll go to bed at 10:30 PM and you won’t sleep a wink, but you’ll go to bed at 10:30 PM. And you won’t go down and have that glass of milk or check your phone or walk around the house. Don’t worry, it’s not insomnia. It’s not any of that, you’re just not sleeping because you’ve been eating and drinking too much crap and you’re just, your body’s full of toxins and your mind can’t calm down.

So you just have to get through that. That’s no bother, don’t complain about it. Get up the next day, three meals, two snacks. You won’t be hungry, you might even feel ill. You get it into you. The snacks going to be a banana and a mandarin, but you have breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And remember you’re doing all this feeling woeful, but you’re going to do it because this is how you make, force a good habit. You’re going to sip water all day. You’re going to journal for five minutes, get out from some fresh air and that’ll help calm your mind. You will that for seven days religiously. So you pick a date in the diary, that date is set in stone. On that day you wake up, that’s the day where your house is cleared from the night before of alcohol and sugar.

That’s the day you’ve stopped that stuff. You exercise 30 minute walk, 30 minute cycle, 30 minute workout, whatever it is, you drink two litres of water, you have three meals and two snacks and you go to bed at 10:30. Done. You do that for three weeks, nothing else. You do 30 minutes of exercise, five days a week by the way, you take off the weekend. You’re going to feel like hell, really hell, real hell. You’re not going to want to do it. You’re going to feel so bad, you’re going to want to have a glass of wine, chocolate bar, not workout. You’re going to be sweating like crazy, not like nice post exercise crazy, like disgusting gloopy sweat. You’re going to feel worse than when a week ago, when you were still drinking and eating. But you’re going to do it. And then you’re going to have a breakthrough. This’ll happen around day 10 to 14 and you’ll start to sleep better, the headaches will go, you’ll stop sweating.

And you’ll start to be able to look at yourself in the mirror because that’s you, authentic you with two weeks of workouts under your belt, fresh air, three meals, two snacks, two litres of water. You’ll have gone through hell and back, and then you’re going to start feeling really good. And once you feel really good and your mind is calm, that’s when you come up with your rules of engagement going forward for your new life. And your rules of engagement are what you are going to do for the rest of your life to feel good permanently. And these guidelines are going to help you not over drink, not overeat. And they’re going to keep you in line and these are the guidelines. I’ll tell you my rules of engagement actually. Eat clean, healthy five days per week. No processed shit, no takeaways, no chocolate, sugar, alcohol, five days per week.

Now, I nearly do that with alcohol nearly all year apart from holidays and some bank holidays. And if I have a very rare night out because I rarely, rarely, rarely go out with friends and stuff. Alcohol is only on a Friday and a Saturday night. Sometimes, it’s once a week if I want to continue to feel brilliant. But I have to say most of all it is for Friday and Saturday. Workouts, I workout five times per week. I do resistance training with interval training. Now, I work out five times per week because I’m also coaching clients five times per week online. So I do five 30 minute sessions with my clients, every weekday. So if you’re not doing that and you’re tired and you’ve got a bit of wiggle room, four to five sessions, three to five sessions per week is terrific.

But for me, it’s five sessions per week. I do resistance training with interval training with core work. My clients know the exact type of training I do. It’s the exact same workouts they do. It’s the best, best, best, best type, because you’re building lean muscle, you’re burning fast, you’re turning into a calorie burning machine, you’re working your core and you are giving yourself a workout that’s purely results focused. But it’s results focused with a little bit of fun thrown in if you’re constantly mixing it up. It’s the best type of training. And yeah, you drag yourself to your workout, but you feel so good and you’ve done and it’s just part of medicine, anyway. Fresh air, most days per week, journal on weekdays five minutes. Now, I let this drop sometimes, but I always, always come back to it. Water, two liters every day and reading a good fiction book or a good growth book, that’ll work on your mindset.

I used to be amazing at reading the growth mindset books, but I just don’t read them as frequently anymore, but they’re still in my life. Like I used to have one on the go like 24/7, 10 pages every night religiously. I’ve gotten to the point now where I feel like I’m just really want to use what I’ve learned. You know, that kind of way, where you like learn, learn, learn, learn, learn, okay, let me implement for a while. So I don’t do it as often, but I still do do it. But I either have a fiction book or a growth book now on the go and 10 pages before bed is my rules of engagement. Anything extra is brilliant. And sometimes if it’s a really good book, I pick it up during the day, instead of picking up my phone, which really helps. But the rule for or me is 10 pages before bed, every night.

Because without that then if you’re not mood to pick up the book during the day, then you haven’t read it all. And I think it’s really important that you read, because I think it’s the only thing that can really help you wind down. That’s not a movement or meditation or a relaxation if you still want to be like doing something effectively. So know your rules engagement. So you’ve picked your date in your calendar. You’re on that date. You’ve cut out the shit. You’re not drinking or eating crap during the week. You’re you’ve started your exercise. You feel like hell for two weeks. At the end of the two weeks, you write down your rules of engagement. Rules of engagement, eat healthy five days per week, two treat nights at the weekends, workout three to five times per, fresh air most days of the week, journal for five minutes, three to five times per week, two liters of water every day and read a good book, 10 pages every night. That is it.

And that’s your rules of engagement for the rest of your life. And that’s how you can balance eating healthy food, working out, feeling healthy with indulging and relaxing and what it is that you want. I hope you found this helpful. It is my mission in life to help you feel good. It is possible. It is 100% possible. I am living testament to that.

Jessica Cooke.

P.S Get in touch by commenting below, I’ love to hear from you, yes YOU.

About the author 

Jessica Cooke

Over 7000+ successful women over 40 have benefitted from going through my Thrive Coaching Program since 2008.

When I'm not coaching, I love spending time with my family, playing pickleball, and reading. Every chance I can get, I'll take my two Miniature Schnauzers, Buster and Ozzy for a walk in nature.

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