The witching hour
You get home from work. You are mildly hungry, mildly tired, and dazed during the transition from work to home. In search of a boost of energy or an escape from your restless unease, you open the fridge door, searching for something. Not sure what, but you know when you find it.
The worst part of this scene is that after eating something that didn’t even taste that good, you are still hungry, tired, and restless, plus you added on a layer of guilt/shame/self-reprimand for “not having enough control.”
This is the dieters saboteur hour. For so many of my clients, this leads to thoughts such as, “I have no self-control, no willpower”. This thought leads to the emotion of helplessness, eating more, and having no control over their eating. Feeling stuck and helpless is no fun, and the truth is that often overeating is the least of your worries, but it may be a convenient distraction from the larger picture. Perhaps you feel stuck in other areas of your life (work, marriage, house, and parenting duties), not just your own head about eating habits.
So, good news, there is a way out of this tired/over-snack/shame cycle, which only takes 5 minutes a day.
Normalize and acknowledge this difficult hour first
Before we get to the 5 minutes, you must embrace acceptance and forgiveness. Hello! Of course, you are tired after a long day at work, driving the kids around, etc. As long as you think you “shouldn’t be tired” at this hour, it only creates additional stress and suffering. Yes, you should be drained and tired at this hour. That is NORMAL. It is not fun, comfortable, or easy, but it is OKAY to be tired. (It would be weird not to be tired, honestly)
Set the space and time to take a quick break.
The second step, before you open the pantry to solve your numb exhaustion, give yourself 5 minutes. Honestly, I know the kids “need” you, but unless someone is bleeding, everyone will make it out alive if you shut a door for 5 minutes. If you want to actually take these 5 minutes, you will have to plan for it ahead of time. It will never happen if you try to arrange this in your head. When you walk in the door at 6 pm, you will forget and immediately jump into the old habit of pantry diving, wine sipping, Instagramming, or whatever is your favorite numbing routine. Decide what, when, and where you want to take these 5 minutes ahead of time. If you PLAN to lie down, take a walk, listen to music, write down your plan, set up the stereo in the morning, warn your kids/spouse/nanny, whoever needs to know, ahead of time. I know this sounds excessive. Planning for a 5-minute break, but this is super important. By using your executive brain ahead of time and writing it down in your calendar, you are much more likely to follow through during that brain slog hour. You are also creating a healthy boundary with your family to create the space for your own healing from burnout.
Don’t be surprised if sitting still is both uncomfortable and transformative.
Third, pay attention to your body and thoughts for these 5 minutes. What emotion is coming up for you? What thoughts are coming up? If this stillness feels very uncomfortable, then get curious as to why? These moments of silence can be transformative. If you are brave enough to face them with loving care, discovering what is within your brain would never have been possible if you were on the treadmill and stuffing it down with food.
Journaling can be beneficial to unload your brain at this time, so you don’t have to hold on to so much of the ping pong game in your head.
Humor yourself and give it a try.
If you are curious about working with me as your RapidTransformation Therapy specialist and life coach;
Where hypnotherapy can help:
With hypnotherapy, we can give your brain permission to rest, to be bored, and even to be restless. It enables you to get in touch with your humanness, and the belief that nothing has gone wrong may actually be true.
Where life coaching can help:
This is where we talk about creating those 5 minutes for rest and then picking through what comes up for you once the numbing eating goes away.