Sounds deep and depressing but it is all entirely (well, mostly) the exact opposite. I feel as if in just a matter of a few months my life has been flipped around, all in a positive light. Why? How? Well…
I recently realized that:
- I was drinking too much
- I was not sleeping enough
- I wasn’t feeling good about myself, both in terms of my physical being and the choices I was making
- I was constantly dragging
- I was easily irritated
- I felt out of touch with my body…and sometimes my mind
- I was at a stand still debt wise when I could’ve been slowly decreasing my financial load
Changes had to be made. There was a good bit of time where I just sat overwhelmed with feelings of ‘ugh, why even try?’. I would attempt to change one aspect, say cutting out alcohol, but then find that I replaced my late night activities with sitting at home, alone, snacking on a jar of peanut butter creeping on Facebook. This would just make me feel even more lost and out of touch with me. It turns out that in order to work on this list of issues I had to find me.
Finding me has been a process, and will continue to be. I had to ask myself questions that sometimes you don’t want to ask cause they reveal answers that you may not feel comfortable with yet at that moment in time, at that particular point in your life.
For me one of the most difficult observations/questions/realizations has been that I can not tolerate alcohol. Putting my finger on why this is a tough one to swallow is still somewhat difficult. Part of me wants to say that I should just suck it up and deal with being the sober chick 24/7 and put it behind me. Another part of me wants to understand why I am having a hard time coming to grips with the reality of the situation. I feel confident saying that I simply enjoy the taste of various alcoholic beverages. I love trying craft beers. Love. Love. Love. So it’s the idea of never tasting something that I enjoy ever again that was/is hard to accept. I suppose it would be comparable to me finding out I was allergic to peanuts. That would be so unbelievably hard for me. I was sober for over 2 months and then just last week, took a sip of a fine craft beer. That sip led me down a path of my own destruction. Blackout drunk. Wait, excuse me: blackout drunk & kicked out of a nightclub for passing out. No one, including myself was hurt that night, thank buddha. No, instead, the destruction I speak of is of my body and hard work that I’ve been putting in. Being as lean and clean as I have been, my body took about 4 days to fully recover. Needless to say, I am accepting of the fact that I can no longer tolerate alcohol. If I can’t implement a ‘stop’ button then I shouldn’t indulge. No indulging for me.
I believe that most of my above issues were related to not being my true self: a cleanly-fueled athlete. I was running around like a partying college kid, eating junk and barely working out, just being like everyone else. Yet I was constantly asking myself why I felt like I didn’t belong or fit in cause I wasn’t actually enjoying myself. Ever since I made the choice to prepare for a figure competition, my days seem brighter and I feel better. I may not even like competing in Figure (soon we shall see!) but I am so thankful that I made the choice to try because I have learned so many things about myself. I am a natural born animal. I could never sit at a desk, I can’t eat McTrash, and I would rather be in a gym than in a movie theater. Now I know that I need to strive to live an active lifestyle. No desk job for me!
Sleep has never been a strength of mine, just ask my mom. She would tie me into my crib cause I refused to be put down for the night, never mind a nap. I consistently get by on 5-6 hours but I know that I need more. In an effort to change this I have started a nice little ritual. At 8 pm, computer is off. I start a bath with super hot water, turn on the kettle for some tea, pop a melatonin tab if I still feel wired, and turn on some relaxing music. I try to stay in the tub for at least 15 minutes but usually I am steamed out and need fresh air. This hot environment is I swear what knocks me on my butt and really gets me all cozy and snug and ready for slumber. I try to hop into bed by 8:45 and open a book only to read two lines and I am out like a light. The ritual is working…only when it doesn’t I get really angry at myself lol. Then I just stay up til about 12. Seems logical right?
To lessen my irritability I have realized that I need to manage my stress levels better. Getting more sleep is definitely going to help. But another trick is to have bits of down time or as Sara Gottfried MD calls it ‘tiara time’. Taking 15 minutes for myself each day sounds so simple but I know it’s going to be a challenge. I always have so much to do!! But, I figure I can kill two birds with one stone here…I will extend the time to 20 minutes twice a week and practice yoga. Viola! Cortisol levels shall be reduced!!!
There are certainly other items on my list but reducing my stress and irritability, cutting out alcohol, getting more sleep, and figuring out what makes me happiest all seem to add up to a pretty good start in the right direction when it comes to re-prioritizing my life. Try to make some small changes daily in your own life. Think about what is going on in your life; what you are happy with and what you are not happy with. Then decide which things you can control or influence. Address these items/issues first. The rest will fall in line in due time. Be patient and persevere. You’re worth it.