Friday, September 6, 2013
Pushing And Accepting Limits
Autumn is here. I know it in every cell of my body because I've slowed down to a stop. I knew it was bad as I sat on the edge of the tub brushing my teeth with my Sonicare debating if I could finish the task lying down. Coming to my senses about the potential risk of choking and ridiculousness of the internal debate, I willed myself through the rest of the two minute exhausting endeavor. I then took a 15 minute break lying down before embarking on washing my face before bed.
This experience occurred at 8:00 pm on a Monday evening after working an eight hour day, doing 20 minutes of Zumba, and eating leftovers for dinner. The weekend just prior wasn't extremely busy. I had dinner with friends Friday night, enjoyed lunch with girlfriends Saturday, and had rested at home Saturday night and all day Sunday. It was only Monday night, and I still needed to make it through the rest of the work week.
Clearly, I needed to do something to feel better.
These are the times when I want to treat myself. Coffee, chocolate, ice cream, and crackers taste great and soothe me emotionally. Unfortunately, they don’t make my body feel better or help with fatigue. I need to take care of myself, but what does that mean for me? Eating even better than I normally do, avoiding alcohol, resting, reducing exercise, and budgeting my energy help.
Unfortunately, taking care of myself at times feels like I’m a parent grounding myself from going out, doing fun things, or enjoying regular food. And the two-year-old in me wants to push my limits as far as I can while hoping I won’t have to pay for trying to live an active, normal life. I resent feeling this way and am working toward thinking of taking care of myself as a treat.
It’s funny that things I love to do can seem like punishment when I’m not physically able to do something else. I love to read, nap, watch movies, prepare and eat healthy food, and relax. But when I know I physically need to take it easy, I’m frustrated it means I shouldn't go out with friends, go hiking or biking, have a drink, or do too many tasks around the house.
I've found I can make the most of my limited energy by approaching everything in intervals. With exercise I've learned I’m able to bike hills but not a long, steady non-stop pedaling ride. With hills I can work hard riding up and rest while coasting down. It’s counter-intuitive, but the flat ride with no breaks is brutal for me. With my work week, I need to include downtime. Lunches and breaks alone and away from the office recharge me to make it through the afternoon. Housekeeping fits in when I do it in small chunks of time throughout the week. A load or two of laundry gets done every day. Tidying up is done throughout the house each morning and night in a few minutes rather than saved up to all be done on the weekends. And a full day with no commitments is a must every week.
This Friday night, I approached needing to rest as treating myself. I came straight home after work, ate a light dinner of leftovers, did a short Zumba workout, and showered. While journaling, I did laundry. And instead of eating chocolate or ice cream and drinking a martini, I sipped on mineral water while snacking on a ripe peach. I know I’m going to feel better in the morning, and I’m excited for a Girls’ Day Out tomorrow!