It's Monday, raining and day 22: Give yourself a break!

Posted by Jennifer Hatt on 16 June 2014 | 13 Comments

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Here we are on a weekend of self-nurturing and the lunch conversation is paused by a participant's plaintive plea: could she smell the coffee? No, no, she didn't want one, well, actually, she did but was on a 30-day regimen of no caffeine, no sugar, no junk ... you get the idea.

I responded that I was on a 30-day regimen, too, one of adding to my life rather than taking from it. She replied that she was using food as a distraction, and the only way to get back her control was to quit and cleanse. I wish her well. As with every conversation, this one yielded nuggets of knowledge. Every person has a different path to wellness. Only you can know what's truly best for you. It takes courage to listen to yourself and act on your instinct, especially when it's out of your comfort zone. 

And for me, I am doing exactly the right thing.

I am exhausted on the outside and empty on the inside, slowly drained by years of self-denial, self doubt, and self-deprivation, placing my needs and desires second, third, or fourth or lower to everyone else's. Drop by drop I have lost my curiosity, sense of adventure, love of surprises, sense of humour, and voice. I cannot at this moment take anything else away.

But I can be creative in how I change my habits. 

In my 30-day exploration, I have chosen to add things - extra glasses of water, one more serving of veggies, more sleep, more alone time, a playlist of favourite songs ... all good things that support physical and spiritual healing. Not once have I told myself not to have something. Chocolate, potato chips, cheese ball ... it's all readily available upon my word and I have thoroughly enjoyed them.

Just not as often or in as great a quantity. After sloshing down my eighth glass of water of the day and crunching through a carrot, I really don't feel the need to attack the Doritos as if they are the last food on Earth. I do have a need to savour the crunch, taste the cheese melting on my tongue, and I do. but now I'm satisfied with a few handfuls rather than the whole bag. Some nights, I don't crave them at all. My body wanted me to listen and I have. Now it is rewarding me with the gift of instinct and moderation. Food is not just a substance of survival, it is a medium of pleasure as well. Unbalanced and saddled with unprocessed emotions or negative messages, eating can become an unhealthy pursuit, but removing all pleasure creates just as great an imbalance, too often tipping us off our path into unrealistic expectations. 

So, if I'm tired I breathe deeply and rest, even just for a few moments. If I'm hungry I snack on something and more and more, the desire is for something unprocessed or at the very least unsalted. Monday, heck, life can be tough enough. Take a moment to be gentle with yourself. You hold the door open for strangers and would share your lunch with a co-worker in need. Give yourself some kindness, too, instead of taking something away. See what happens.

Thanks for being here. Talk to you tomorrow.

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