Yesterday was what a favorite children’s book calls an “all bad, no good, very bad day.” Of course, in hindsight, I can see how my thoughts spiraled to make it seem like that, but in the midst of it all…I lost that perspective. It all started with my daughter having some very painful complications from her oral surgery. Then, work hit me with one of those “last straw” kind of things that really hit me hard on top of some burnout I’d been struggling against. Then…I just kind of lost myself. I felt like everywhere I looked my life was just out of control. A bunch of bills coming at the wrong times had me feeling poor. My house needed cleaning and I didn’t want to do it. I missed my son, still out of state and I worried about how I was going to handle driving to get him in the midst of my daughter’s pain and my husband’s upcoming surgery…not to mention Passover looming. I just…didn’t want to face any of it. My vision darkened and the whole world seemed so hard and cruel and my dreams and goals so meaningless in it all.
I fell into a pit of self-doubt and self-pity…and I sought solace in any way I could think of.
I took the rest of the day off as a comp day, which was a good idea and a healthy thing to do after the hours I’ve worked in the past few weeks. Then, though, I followed that with an all-out emotional eating binge that included nothing with much nutritional value and everything that made my stomach feel like an over-inflated tire and netflix marathon on the couch that left me feeling sicker. Last night I began to realize that I really was coming down with something, probably a sinus infection and I was in bed before 8pm, missing a class I’d been looking forward to. Essentially, I took everything out on my body, treating it like the enemy rather than doing things that might have helped lift my spirits, like taking a walk in the sunshine with my dogs or doing some yoga. In the midst of all this, I also realized I had been missing days here and there in my daily medications, forgetting to take it in the morning rush. I’d been working out as planned and eating better, but I had been letting other aspects of self-care slip. I was unprepared for just a few more straws placed on my camel’s back, so it’s no wonder I broke down.
I share this because I want you to know that I think we ALL probably have those days where we don’t treat ourselves with the most love and care. Maybe there is some instagram model out there who eats kale when she’s down, but I think most of us are mere mortals who do still fall into these traps from time to time…and it’s ok.
It’s ok because today is a whole new day and I can choose differently.
I don’t need to beat myself up for yesterday…the way I treated my body was punishment enough. I don’t need to swing to the other extreme and starve myself or overwork myself. I can choose to treat myself like I would a good friend and do the things I know will help my body recover. I’ll eat like yesterday never happened, going back to what I know fuels my body and makes it feel good as if I never slipped up. I’ll work out to the intensity that feels good. If my sinuses are still messed up…that might just be restorative yoga to kindly unwind any tight muscles. If they are feeling ok, then it might be something that gets my heart pumping and sweat flowing to release the stress.
Days like yesterday happen, but it’s ok. It’s what I do after they happen that makes or breaks my goals. We’re each human and sometimes life can be overwhelming and we can make mistakes and treat ourselves unkindly. Sometimes, I think we each need to give ourselves a break for the things we do on days like that.
What’s important, though, is that we don’t let that become the reason we give up on making the next day a little better. Today, I can clear off my dining room table of the clutter that’s collected, sit down and eat something with vegetables, and move my body in ways that help me feel better. Today I can choose to face my problems and have a heart to heart with my boss who is a great guy who wants to help make it easier for us to do our work and probably has no idea about the roadblocks that have been put in my team’s way. Today I can remember to take my medicine and when things are difficult, I can remember to slow down and breathe or cuddle a dog.
Today I can remember to be a better friend to myself so that I have more in the tank for those I love.
The difference between the people who we look up to and admire and ourselves when we don’t reach our goals isn’t what we do on days like yesterday…it’s what we do after a day like yesterday happens. It can be easy to let it become a pattern or admit defeat and just give in to old bad habits…or I can just let it go, dust myself off, and start again.
Every single day is an opportunity for a fresh start…if I allow it.