my favorite day of the week. no work. no work tomorrow. just easy bliss.
sundays allow me to ground myself and quiet my mind. i usually laze around and wake up dreamy slow. brunch and coffee always follow suit (though, i ate at the farmer’s market today and still need to pick up a coffee…!). generally, sundays provide me a healthy, happy time to reflect.
early in the week i spoke with a friend. in our conversation we discussed the frantic, self-created need to constantly be on top of all the things we feel we should be on top of: school, work, exercise, our social scenes. we both are born from the instant gratification generation, though, personally, i think our technologic age bridges the generation gaps. america, it seems, lives by the beat of its pulse. every moment feels planned, every day mapped out. we go, go, go till we crumble beneath the unattainable concept of perfection. success and failure become our only two options. no one wants to fail so we berate ourselves into achievement, motivating ourselves with harsh self-talk, particularly if we do not accomplish what we set out to do immediately.
but what about the concept of ease?
for a long, solid time i lived in the black and white world of perfectionism. if i attempted something and did not reach the (impossible) goals i paved out for myself, i abandoned said something almost instantly. or i pushed and pushed and pushed myself unhealthily till i reached the end i sought. who wants to feel like a failure anyway?
however, living in such a rigid state set me up for “failure” more than it did “success”. it’s how i ended up with a compulsive exercise problem. it’s how i ended up with an eating disorder. it’s how i ended up depressed for so, so long. i never stopped to consider the time it took to reach the goals i molded for myself. i never eased my body into anything. i wanted to run ten miles so i did (without proper training or long distance running knowledge). i wanted to become vegan (after only a handful of months living as a vegetarian) so i did. i wanted to bend myself into asanas (requiring years of practice) so i did. i simply wanted to instantly be the best at everything i tackled, regardless of whether it took ample time or not.
yet, we do not live in such a black and white world. for the majority of people approaching anything, whether it be eating healthier or moving more (or even reading more!), requires baby steps. it sounds silly but how often have you burnt yourself out after a few weeks of trying your new “thing”? how often have you shrugged and said “forget it” for no real reason other than the results you wished for did not happen immediately? building healthy, positive habits asks for patience, time, and forgiveness. there are no “slip ups” out here in the grey area. just choices. and life.
ease into new beginnings. you want to eat better and move on the regular? try not to do slip into “all or nothing” mode, particularly if eating well and moving frequently are new concepts to you. perhaps try adding them into your life one by one. you want to eat better? try adding more vegetables to your plate for one week and focus primarily on that goal. see what happens. do not judge the results. the following week, address your second goal: move more. make it a priority to move say, at least three times during the week. move when the moment strikes you. move in the manner you enjoy. again, see what happens. see how you feel, how your body feels. and again, try not to judge what happens.
i all but dropped healthy eating and moving a few months ago. if i couldn’t manage to eat well everysinglesecond of everysingleday, clearly i sucked at eating well and didn’t need to bother trying. if i couldn’t manage to move more than three days a week, i blew it off altogether. when i decided to rebuild my life though, i eased into healthy eating and moving. i added more veggies to more meals. i took walks and did yoga and rode my bike because i liked to, not because i felt i “should”. i’m finding the more i ease into healthy, positive habits, the more natural it becomes. i crave regular movement and vegetables again, not because i feel i “need” these things, but because i want there things. they help me settle into my most happy and balanced self. when i feel panic-ey about my progress,i am quick to remind myself that i am in a process. and processes take time, patience, and unending compassion for yourself and your situation.
whatever journey you are on, just remember to be gentle. move with ease. remember to breathe. remember to laugh. and remember that, above all, that perfection does not exist. you’re always good enough, even when you feel you’re not.
do you ever tangle yourself up in the black and white web? what happens? have you given up something you enjoy because you felt you weren’t “good enough”?