I don’t know about you, but I’m still kind of in shock about everything that’s happened over the last two months. I’m sharing this vulnerable post with you in case you’ve been in a similar boat as I’ve been in. ?
It was actually kind of fun at first to know I had to stay home and I could eat and drink whatever I wanted. I honestly thought we were looking at a couple of weeks or a month at most. Here we are passing the 2 month point and obviously things are going to be very different going forward.
Over the past two weeks, that reality has started to set in for me, and I’m having to think about things differently:
What will I snack on if I don’t want to gobble down an entire bowl of popcorn anymore?
How will I create sustainable exercise when my gym is closed and I’m not sure I’ll even want to go when it opens again, since I’ll probably have to wear a mask while exercising and the sauna will likely be closed for a long time?
How do I keep myself busy and not feel lonely while we’re still supposed to continue to shelter-in-place in my county without binging on tv on the couch or drowning in social media (I’m SO sick of social media right now, aren’t you? Bleh!)?
Mostly, though, how will I deal with all of the emotions of all of this without my numbing out go-tos, like carbs, tv, and social media.
In case it helps, here’s what I’m choosing to do:
~I’ve totally cut out alcohol. I didn’t drink for 1.5 years because of the way it made me feel. I tried experimenting with it again for about 6 months. It’s alienating not to be part of alcohol culture, and yet, it’s just not for me. I don’t enjoy the weight gain, inflammation, headaches, and grumpiness I get from even a small amount. My energy and truly, my life overall, is SO much happier and vibrant without it.
~I’m eliminating foods that I know bother me and cause inflammation (if you’re not sure what I’m talking about with inflammation, check out this blog). For me this includes sugar, grains, beans, and dairy. I don’t eat a lot of these normally anyway, so it’s not too hard, but does require more planning and well, I’ve the time right now. I’ll go back to eating all of these in small amounts in about a month, but stopping them for 30 days or so will allow my gut to heal from overeating them all.
~Instead of going straight to coffee in the morning, I start the day with some warm water with lemon or apple cider vinegar. Wow! What a jolt you get from this. If you only do one thing from this list, try this and see what happens, and tell me what you think. (The coffee comes after…I’m never giving that up!)
~I’m not checking social media or email for at least an hour after I get up. I started doing morning quiet time many years ago, but recently, I’ve let myself check things on the internet when I wake up. When I do that, I immediately get into everyone else’s stuff before I even have time to get into my own. When I make time to meditate, do some deep breathing, journal, read, or something else inspiring first thing in the day, I’m better able to handle all the madness that is our reality right now.
~I let myself rest when needed. This is stressful. Whether we are experiencing extreme difficulties from this virus or not, we are all feeling extra stress. Instead of jacking up on afternoon coffee to keep going or feeling like I have to work all the time to have some control, I’m saying ‘screw it’ and I’m sitting out in the lawn chair on a nice day or just lying down on the couch and doing nothing whenever I feel like the need. And truly, I’m getting better work done rather than busy work.
~I’m being extra nice and compassionate to myself. I’m not judging myself for any of the choices I made up until recently. I coped with everything and I survived. And, I can’t sustain that lifestyle forever and get to feel the way I want to feel, so it’s onward and upward with no looking back. I’m not perfect and I know I’ll continue to numb out sometimes, so instead of beating myself up when I do, I forgive myself and get back to it.
~I’ve held off on heavy exercise while I made these changes. Change can be hard and healing is exhausting. It takes a lot of energy for your body to re-regulate after overindulgence, so I’ll worry about that part later.
I know that list might feel overwhelming to some of you. For me, I do most of these things anyway in my normal life, but when things get stressful, I forget. I go the easy way. I want to numb out rather than deal with the emotions that come up.
It’s really normal to want to push away the things that make us uncomfortable. It can feel so much easier to pour that glass of wine and keep going than let ourselves break down a little. I’d often rather eat that popcorn and butter (God, I love butter!), then cut up some veggies or fruit or satisfy my fat craving with avocado.
So, what do you want your new normal to look like? Maybe write down what your new ideal schedule and energy will look and feel like. Then, start with 1-2 things that will help you get there. Drink some lemon water in the morning, choose a food that makes you feel great over one that makes you feel like crap. Read an inspiring health book (I have a long list if you need a suggestion), reach out for help in all the amazing groups out there, find an integrative/holistic provider to see, seek counseling if you’re really stuck, take a nap, go to bed early, say no to a drink when that’s what you really want to say, call a friend when you feel sad or lonely, take a stroll instead of a power walk,.. you get the idea.
If I can help in any way, please let me know.