Why do mini-vacations seem more draining than relaxing? I feel like I came back from California more aware of the impending doom of forgotten assignments and responsibilities than I have ever been. Like… I felt completely out of whack and without any form of stability in my life (an exaggeration, but only slightly). One would think doing nothing but eating, drinking, and being otherwise merry is the best form of destressing one could find but yeah… Not so much.
While standing in the TSA line in San Diego, I realized that my brain and body rely on scheduling and planning and bopping to the same groove every day to the point that I missed having to drag my body to my Finance course. For many people, that’s normal, right? A regimented plan for the day makes life predictable and easy despite the challenges or tedious tasks presented within your schedule. I definitely catch myself feeling anxious when I have nothing on my Google Calendar for the day which is, now that I mention it, absurd because I should definitely take advantage of what very little free time I do have but I digress.
In my recovery, I’ve found that a lot of my life still revolves around this restrictive mentality that spans much farther than the food I eat and the amount of miles I walk in a day. I want to plan out every second of the day in order to make sure I get everything I need to get done completed, which used to include scheduling when and what I ate as well as exercise to keep myself accountable. But 90% of the time what I wrote wasn’t what my body and mind needed. In fact, I always felt more guilty because I couldn’t fulfill this insignificant promise to myself that I’d run a certain distance or eat a certain pre-planned meal.
When things get rough, I still find myself wanting to fall back on those behaviors and actions because they provide comfort and stability when the rest of my life is messy and disorganized. But more often than not, and especially the farther along I get in my recovery, I correct myself before I can turn to those regressive choices because those little comforts are what can quite easily hold me back from moving along in my recovery. As Kylie Mitchell of Yeah… Immaeatthat said in her post about her new relationship with change in regards to pregnancy,
Sure, those maladaptive coping strategies can bring a short-term sense of control and a fleeting sense of pleasure to your life for like 10-60 minutes…but disordered food/exercise behaviors/body manipulation can’t bring lasting fulfillment.
Getting my groove back meant making an active decision to challenge myself so I could find a groove that was healthy; instead of relying on an old, dangerous groove, I found a new groove that gave me room to be intuitive with my plans and choices in day to day life and ultimately is helping me be more in touch with my mind and body and what they need to keep me groovin’.
Trust me, I am by no means going to say I’m consistently good at this. Getting into a groove isn’t a straight line towards a perfect life. It’s running that errand while you’re already out instead of waiting till the last minute when you don’t have a single minute to spare. It’s making time for yourself to be mindful and evaluate what your body and mind needs to get you through a really shitty day. It’s transitioning from negative behaviors like procrastinating to the point of pulling all nighters every other day to maybe turning off that episode of Will and Grace to finish an assignment so you don’t have to rely on Red Bull and triple espressos to survive (this is very specific to me but to each their own).
It’s a hard thing, learning to challenging yourself to move past potentially harmful behaviors that you’ve found comfort in for so long; it’s much easier said than done to completely throw away how you navigate the stressors in your life and a lot of the time it’s the little things you do to improve your mental and physical health that can help you inevitably take bigger strides towards bettering your life as a whole.