Friday, May 28, 2010

Letting Go

At our blog we talk about being healthy and often focus on categories like healthy eating and healthy exercise. Today the most important categories for me are physical and mental health. Mentally, I’ve taken a beating this spring. On the one year anniversary of my mother-in-law’s death I buried my best friend from college. A few weeks later my grandmother passed away. Now, as if that stress weren’t enough, I’ve started a new day job and in another month I’ll be moving.

My physical health is better than it has been in some time. Healthy eating is suddenly a habit to me. I remember my vitamins on more days than I forget and I regularly get enough sleep. Thanks to Trish’s challenge I’ve had a streak of running every other day going since late March.

That streak ends tonight. Tonight, I’m choosing mental health over physical health. I made the same choice this morning when I put caffeine in my body. I normally avoid caffeine and high fructose corn syrup. I consider both of them to be about the same as alcohol and cigarettes. Still, today, dealing with all that stress, I know they’re the lesser of the evils in front of me.

There comes a time when you realize some transition, some battle is so hard you can let the other things go. You have a moment when you pray for strength to get through something or ask yourself if you really can do it. At that moment, when the darkness is so deep that you think dawn will never come, I urge you to focus on one promise, to focus yourself, and let the others go.

I’m not telling you that every torn-stocking-missed-the-bus-forgot-your-lunch bad day justifies going off your diet. I’m not giving you license to skip your writing goal for the day because your car broke down. I’m asking you to look at your circumstances and decide if this is a truly stressful time where doing things, even healthy things, will just make the situation worse. I’m giving you permission to take stock of the situation, evaluate your priorities, and say no to some things. Free yourself from guilt, set a date to come back to the habits you set aside, and move forward, focusing on what matters most. Sometimes you have to let go, let yourself drift, so you can come back stronger and better.

4 comments:

Sally Kilpatrick on May 28, 2010 at 8:19 AM said...

Rachel, thanks for such sound advice. I think one of the keys to success is what you say at the end:

Free yourself from guilt, set a date to come back to the habits you set aside, and move forward, focusing on what matters most. Sometimes you have to let go, let yourself drift, so you can come back stronger and better.

For me, falling off the wagon used to be an excuse in and of itself. It's healthy to realize that you can return to good habits after a lapse whether the lapse was intentional or unintentional. Surprisingly, if you hang in there, you will come back better and stronger--I would even venture to say more confident because you conquered the moment that took you down.

Thanks for such inspirational words!

Sally

Michelle Butler on May 28, 2010 at 10:42 AM said...

Rachel,
Best wishes! I hope your summer is much better than your spring.

Bex on May 28, 2010 at 11:29 AM said...

Hugs to you, Rachel. Have you ever heard Susan Elizabeth Phillips say to protect the writing? My friend, Katy Cooper, says that protecting the writing means protecting the writer, too. Please take care and do what you need to do to keep yourself functioning. Stress is a lot to handle, so if you need some creature comforts along the way to help get you through these stressful events I think you are smart to recognize what those are and what they can't be. Thank you for sharing such personal stuff as a way to teach this important lesson!

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) on May 29, 2010 at 9:23 AM said...

Rachel, I think it's very wise to know when you're approaching your breaking point and to do whatever you can to relieve the stress before you get to that point. A few years ago, I didn't heed that advice and actually broke. Took me about three months to get over it. Not good times. But I became much more conscious of my stress levels and try not to over-do or over-commit now. And life has been better for it. Hope you have a wonderful, stress-free summer.

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