Back on Solid Ground
It’s been awhile.
I have been taking it easy for the last several weeks, trying to finally get my feet back under me after our Italy trip. I had no idea it was going to take so much out of me mentally and physically. It was a blast, but wow. A six-week vacation is hard to recover from. Who knew?
When I got back, I was a mess - exhausted, frustrated and overwhelmed. Luckily, I was able to recognize the signs, so I slowed down and asked for help - a lot of help. I am very proud of this, since a few years ago I wouldn’t have: I would be struggling and never would have even imagined asking for help! Yay me!
First, I called Shawn, my life coach/friend/lifesaver and asked to make an appointment - boy, am I glad I did. From the moment we got on the phone, things started spilling out that I didn't consciously know were bothering me. She made me realize that even though I had a great trip, it conjured up a lot of grief and sadness that I hadn’t had to deal with in a long time. While I was there, I struggled with fatigue, arrhythmias and things I could no longer do because of ARVC, and I got shocked. When she put it into perspective, I realized she was right. So I paused and did exactly what she said I had to do.
Then I asked for help from my husband and his parents. I devoted the next week to self-care. I was lucky because it was Thanksgiving and we had plans to go to the beach. My mother- and father-in-law were staying in the condo next door and asked if Andy could sleep in their condo…amazing! It was more than I could have hoped for. With their help, I was able to spend the week sleeping in until 8:00 or 9:00 in the morning, drinking my coffee on the porch by the ocean, meditating and doing yoga. Then, I would spend the rest of the day with my family biking, playing in the sand or walking on the beach. I really took time to rest, eat healthy food and reflect on what I was feeling, By the end of the trip, I felt great.
Once I was able to get over the hump and get to a better place, I was able to start helping myself again.
I have been making a point of recognizing that when I am feeling overwhelmed my tendency is to do more, and what I really need is to do less. So I make a plan. I do what I can instead of obsessing about what I “should be doing” then I close my computer and go to yoga or walk my dog.
I have been sleeping more. I track my sleep on my Garmin watch, and I was noticing that I got into a bad habit after my vacation of going to bed late and getting up early in order to “get things done.” Wrong. Instead of being productive, I ended up making some bad decisions and feeling more fatigued and overwhelmed. Sleep is so important, and I feel so much better when sleeping 8-10 hours a night. Adding a few extra hours to my night was a game changer.
I have been saying “no” to things that I cannot do. It seems like a novel concept, but saying “no” is very difficult, and people don’t like to hear it! It took me a long time to be okay with the negative reactions people sometimes have to the word “no,” even if it has nothing to do with them.
Lastly, I have been focusing on losing my Italy weight, and so far I have lost 12 of the 15 pounds I gained. Eating well, walking every day, going to yoga and decreasing my stress has helped me get back on track. It hasn’t been easy - in the past I would have added a few extra miles to each of my daily runs, and I wouldn’t have had to worry about it. This time, I have had to watch my calories, walk two to six miles every day and track my progress. Yuck, but it works. I am almost back on track. Check out some of this yummy food!
So many of us struggle with feeling fatigued and overwhelmed, as well as the need for perfectionism and to do too much. I hope that sharing some of my struggles along the way helps you to see that you aren’t alone, and sometimes the simplest thing - like walking your dog or saying no - can help.