1. Ask the tough question.
When something comes up in your life, you have to determine whether the event facing you is important enough to take a priority position. The simple fact is, we all have limited capacity to prioritize. Everything can't be important; something inevitably has to take a back seat. If this is one of those things - really - then you have to acknowledge that for what it is, and therefore acknowledge the necessity to re-arrange the other priorities in your life.
For us, this was one of those times, and we stopped going to the gym so we could devote our attention to the issues at hand.
2. Give yourself permission.
When an event in your life reaches that threshold and you've made a decision, you exercise a choice. That's an important point. Too often, we feel like we're painted into a corner, the victim of circumstances outside our control. But if you take the time to recognize your priorities and your conscious choice to make a change, even a temporary one, that puts you back in control again. So take advantage of that control and don't constantly beat yourself up if you have to set the gym aside for a while. Believe me, it will be there when things get back to normal. You're not doing yourself any favors by resenting or constantly re-living the decision.
3. Don't go "All or Nothing".
Okay - so here's where you have to draw a line. Giving yourself permission isn't the same as a "Get out of Jail Free" card. Cutting back the workouts is one thing, but that doesn't give us a pass to scrap the nutrition too. For the last three months, we put our training on hold, but I'm pleased to say that our eating has stayed on track, and our sleep too. It's actually been a source of strength from week to week to know that we are still doing what we can to stay healthy.
4. Set a firm end date.
Nothing lasts forever. Certainly anything that keeps you from taking care of your health should not be allowed to linger past its time. From the moment you take on that new priority, have a specific date planned to wrap it up. Or, at the very least, to revisit its impact on your life. And STICK TO IT! I know that, for us, it took a long time to reach a point where training was a staple of our routine; it's way too easy to let that slip away.
These steps aren't just empty platitudes. They're essential to managing the stress involved during a challenging time in your life. The stress of things feeling like they're out of your control puts your body in the mode of naturally consuming more and retaining it too. Take ownership, take control, and stick to your decision and you'll be fine.