I have always looked at my journey toward “A Better Me” as taking steps to increase my AWESOMENESS! because it frames the journey in a positive light and lessens the focus on the negative behaviors and energy I’m trying to adjust. I like the idea that I’m working to become MORE AWESOME as opposed to LESS EMOTIONALLY UNSTABLE. I like framing the same journey in a manner that focuses on a positive goal instead of focusing on dealing with negative habits. This, for me, helps on days I feel a little lost and hopeless.
But, it is exhausting.
I’ve been finding myself lately really trying to be mindful so I can catch a spiral before it happens. I’m trying to be aware and in tune with my needs (emotional and physical) and try not to let anything go unattended that could possibly push me into a negative zone of stuffing my face in a box of donuts and crying in my sleep.
I have to check in with myself regularly. Some days, if I’m feeling really fragile or anxious, I check in several times an hour. I stop and stretch every 30 minutes. Maybe I’ll walk around the building 4 times in a work day. I take deep breaths at my desk regularly and close my eyes to re-center myself. Some days it’s a constant dance of Keep Calm And Be Awesome, trying to prevent my anxieties or my sadness for pulling me away from myself.
Like I said…EXHAUSTING.
And most of the time I’m okay with this level of effort because I’m seeing how much it helps keep me stay level or stable. I have been seeing the payoffs. If I stay mindful and check in regularly and ask myself, “What do you need, RIGHT NOW?” then the overall mood and feeling stays in check (not always YAY! JOY! but at least not BOO! JUMP OFF A BRIDGE!) and I become MORE AWESOME as a result. The downward spirals are much further apart (as opposed to daily) and it’s actually been a while since I had a major one. The effort – it produces results.
But some days? Some days I just wish it were easier. I wish I could ignore the twinges of anxiety and not end up falling into a pit of self-hatred and despair. I wish I could overlook the pangs of sadness and not end up curling up with a bag of friend fries and a 6-pack of beer. I wish I could experience an embarrassing moment and not fall into a shame spiral destined for wallowing.
Maybe some day I can. I don’t know. It feels so important right now – to stay mindful in the moment – that I can’t imagine there ever being a day that can end well without that habit. I guess any act of “habit building/breaking” requires this type of focus; whether you’re breaking and addiction trying to eat better. Hell, I know some days I still want a cigarette and I quit smoking in 2003. The act of change is inherently exhausting, I’m learning. And while it’s a good exhausting (like after a race, not like after a night up with sick kids) it’s still exhausting.
That’s okay, the more awesome I get the more naps I earn. That’s a decree I’m putting forth in the universe starting today.