Our beautiful template for infinite variety of greens and superfoods in your smoothies— print this and eliminate the need for recipes!

get it now for free!

How You Stay Healthy in a Life Crisis

By Robyn Openshaw, MSW | May 17, 2015

A longtime GSG reader came to my 12 Steps to Whole Foods class recently. (Which I’m teaching again on June 6. In Orem, Utah.) She’s just been hit with a double whammy—literally the two biggest life stressors there are, all at once. An unfaithful spouse and consequent divorce…and loss of a full-term baby.

She’s depressed, devastated—and those around her have no idea what to say. Or how to support. Her children are reeling, too.

My background as a therapist (my advanced degree is in social work) merges with my nutrition background, which merge with my own similar challenges in life. That explains my next comments…..

She asked me how I survived my own crisis related to losses much like hers. I told her, “The main thing is, I never let go of my nutrition, and some basic self-care. Sure, take care of the kids, but put the oxygen mask on yourself first! Yoga is non-negotiable. Ditto running. So is a daily quart of green smoothie, and no free-fall into junk food hell. Show up at social events. Even if you’re not feeling it…just go anyway. You’ll get through it, and be happy again—and those things will help. Depression lies to you and tells you it’s permanent. There IS happiness on the other side of this, and I found it, and so will you. It’s just hard to visualize it right now.”

I checked out with her if she’s doing X, Y, and Z, to make sure she’s functional instead of spiraling downward, and I learned she’s let go of some important self-care that will get her through. I asked her if, before she went to bed that night, would she just text me that she made a list of the things she’d LIKE to be doing, if she weren’t so depressed.

She did so, that night. It’s a starter step.

I’ve been through those biggest life stressors—divorce, and loss of a child. (Though mine were just several miscarriages—not loss of a full term baby. It’s also important to note I wasn’t married to a cheater, and my divorce was my choice. Thus, both of her losses dwarf my own, not that anyone wants to compare. Hard to imagine hers as worse, since both were devastating for me. My heart is hurting, for this GreenSmoothieGirl friend.)

I hope you’ll take note of this, if you’re suffering, too. I’ve climbed out of some of the hardest things people go through, things I’ve talked about on this blog, and things I haven’t. The mighty little green smoothie has everything to do with HOW.

I hope when life hits you hard—as it does, now and then—that you tend to these important things:

  1. Your self-care is more important now than ever.
  2. Always get your endorphins—break a sweat every day, however that looks for you.
  3. Do yoga. Period. I mean it. You’re literally wringing toxins out of your nervous system.
  4. Pray, or meditate, or both.
  5. Drink a quart of green smoothie a day—more greens, less fruit.
  6. Avoid sugar, alcohol, caffeine, and other things that exacerbate depression.
  7. Find things to be grateful for, and turn your thoughts to those, every day.

If you’re in a really tough place, right now, please make a list of this kind of coping, rebuilding, and self-love stuff you know you need to be doing. Tape it to your mirror and don’t take it down until you’re doing all of it.

LOVE to you. I’m praying for you.

Posted in: Exercise, Mind/Body Connection

11 thoughts on “How You Stay Healthy in a Life Crisis”

Leave a Comment
  1. Marianne says:

    Been there too. I agree wholeheartedly with Robyn. Exercise (an amazing stress reliever), nutrition, support of close family and close friend, and faith got me through. AND the determination to get through! There’s no way around, only through, but happiness IS on the other side!

  2. Tori says:

    Thank you for sharing this, it’s always a good reminder. Self care is so important during times like these but dang, how hard it is to be “good” to ourselves when the world seems to be falling down all around you. Much love goes out to your GSG reader who is struggling right now. I haven’t thought of Yoga so will be giving that a try this week.

  3. John S says:

    Allow yourself to grieve – just as you would the death of a close friend. If you have ever had anyone close to you die, you already know that grief comes in waves and takes time to process out of your body. Move THROUGH your grief, do not get stuck in it – more importantly, do not get stuck in your “story” of how you were wronged. You may not understand it right now, but there is a higher purpose for your life change. Ask the Divine for wisdom and just live in each day, not the past, not the future – just Right Now. All life happens in the now – be present to it and your life will be transformed. Have total acceptance for what IS. Stay in the present moment – listen to (with an audiobook – it’s like being read to as a child – very healing) or read “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle.

    Pain dissolves when you open yourself to crying as therapy, it will release the pain energy, but do so in the presence of a caring friend who witnesses your grief – that is all they have to do – be present and a witness. (Think of a baby that falls down, bumps it’s head, cries for a while, then goes back to playing – you will also, or you might need to relearn how to “play” in your own life and rediscover the joy of a child – it is within you.)

    All loss creates sadness energy within the body in the chest, back ( “stabbed in the back” ) and heart area. All pain and suffering can become a catalyst for spiritual growth and actual healing. Pain is a teacher. Listen to your pain, embrace it and be completely present to your pain and heartache. Remember that crying is your bodies way to grieve and release the painful emotional energy from your body. Avoid wallowing in “your story” and self-pity, and instead honestly grieve the loss as a death and look for the lessons the pain is trying to teach you – Listen to the pain in your body, right now in the present moment, not your story in your head from yesterday or last year or 30 years ago – that is just a story of the past and not alive like your current emotions are right now.

    The most important thing besides crying is to awaken each day, stretch and then sit upright with both feet on the ground in bright sunlight, even for just 10 minutes. (Your posture totally affects your mood, energy and thoughts/emotions ) Then with each inhale, think of loving light and total acceptance (compassion) energy coming into your chest (heart/lungs) Inhale deeply all the way down to the bottom of your stomach. (wear loose, comfortable clothing) Inhale compassion love energy into your face, heart and all the way down to your pelvis, then with each exhale, breath out gratitude (say “Thhhaaaaaannnnkkss) drawing each breath out slower and gentler. Relax into your being. If grief comes up, and it will, allow yourself to cry or sob, just let the energy out and bask in the compassionate light. (If it helps you, imagine a loving Deity/Jesus/Mother sending you the compassionate light) Inhaling compassion and exhaling gratitude is a basic meditative practice that is thousands of years old, and it embraces your emotions and bodies physiology. Meditation is all about RECEIVING. Receive light, receive Divine acceptance and compassion, receive forgiveness – which is basically just acceptance that “What Is, Is.” Embracing your current emotions and reality allows you to learn from them. And you will see that you will move THROUGH this emotion of grief and sadness, instead of it becoming lodged and stuck in your body – or it fermenting into resentment and hate like bad vinegar in your stomach and chest. “E-Motion is Energy-in-motion, emotion is meant to move THROUGH you, and it is your body’s “feedback” to your thoughts (good or bad)

    A daily practice of receiving and inhaling total acceptance, love, light and compassion and then exhaling gratitude will absolutly and totally transform your “stinking thinking” and old stories in your head – the stories that you tell yourself that keep the painful past alive today, even years after your original painful moment. Think of it like sunlight on ice, it dissolves and melts the painful emotional memories that are stuck in your “Pain-body”, including hurt, anger, resentment, which is fermented hurt, and even hatred, which is sour, fermented toxic hurt.

    A daily practice of Receiving and Gratitude will not only dissolve your “Pain-Body”, but it will also quiet your “Anxiety-Mind” which when left to it’s own, will spiral into negativity very easily. Once you “Open the Door” to your heart center, you will discover that the Heart is the true energy center of your body – led by intuition and Divine Grace, and trust (Faith) in the Universe. The wisdom teachers of the past have understood this for over 4000 years. The heart is electrically 100 times more powerful than the brain, and 5 times more powerful magnetically than the brain. Within all trials of life, there lies within your current pain, the seed of something equally good or better for you. Pain unfortunately is a part of all human life, but suffering is getting stuck and then living in your old pain(past) and not moving through it and past it into the present and your new life – which only happens in this present moment. The only way to do this is to honestly feel the pain when it hits you, become present to it and then open your heart to receive compassion and light, breath and look for things to be grateful for. (Look up instead of down)

    1. Robyn says:

      John, thank you so much for taking the time to write this. I’m on it. Wonderful advice.

    2. Tammy says:

      John, I too want to thank you for taking the time to write this. Even though I “know” and agree, seeing it in writing is what I needed. Bless you friend!

  4. Carmel says:

    I especially needed this right now! Thanks!!! 🙂

  5. Tammy says:

    I am so grateful for this post and thank you for your prayers! ♥

  6. You hit the nail on the head: 13 things you do for self care. Without doing all of them you can’t help someone else. Thank you for posting this. Depending on the person(the whole person) it takes a step by step to getting there, but it WILL work.

  7. Cheryl says:

    Hi Robyn,
    I receive you emails but I have not been able to go to a gsg conference. Six years ago I received a diagnosis of Lyme disease and a year later CLL, chronic lymphocytic leukemia. At that point in my life I decided it was time to change what I ate. I became a vegetarian then vegan (raw). This has been an adventure because of very low energy & fatigue. I live on smoothies but they are mainly fruit, only one has spinach in it. All organic. I’m just now starting to gain some energy so I’m walking but I’ve loss a lot of muscle because of bed & couch time. (Years) I’m also frustrated because I don’t feel like I can eat enough food to sustain my energy level. Where do I find your smoothie recipes and anything other help would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you Cheryl

    1. Marianne says:

      Cheryl, Robyn has many recipe books you can purchase, including one with just smoothie recipes. You can also get her “12-Steps” book that is a wealth of information as well as recipes. Have you read her “Green Smoothie’s Diet” book? Most libraries carry it here in Utah. It explains her journey and it is what she spoke on during her speaking tour for years. Good job getting out to walk. Maybe you can find a good stretching DVD from the library or NetFlix. Best wishes!

  8. Lynda says:

    I just wanted to say “Amen” to what Robyn posted. I also have dealt with a cheating spouse and consequent divorce and have experienced the depression that goes along with it all and have been a single mom for several years now. During my divorce and healing process my treadmill was my best friend…the sweat would come, then tears would follow. Release it all. A good friend recommended yoga at that time and that really helped me cope and led me through a period of self re-discovery. Divorce is like dying and going to heaven…you just have to go through the mourning part first. Things WILL get better my friend.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.