Having a toolbox full of options to pull from when days are hard, or workouts seem impossible, healthy eating feels…dumb, and connecting with your children seems impossible, is paramount to feeling like I can pull out of those trenches.
I’ve tried a lot (A LOT) of tools. And keeping all of them fresh and in my head helps me most. Having an arsenal of options to try is integral to keeping on the path I want to be on. I’ve shared some of them here before:
Today I want to talk about a different way of sifting through the slumps. It’s something I feel with every part of me, and in every part of my life. I feel it hormonally, and with my body and rhythms. I feel it in relationships; friendships and romantic. And also with food and fitness, and diet.
Embracing the Seasons in Life.
A sweet friend of mine, Spooky Foodie, wrote a post about Cyclical Living (check it out here!) and it reminded me of how thoroughly I believe in and experience that. Also? Now I super want to read that book!
It’s unrealistic to assume that we will feel motivated, strong, capable, and full of the agency to make exactly the decisions we want to make every day. Realizing that your routine faltering for a week does not mean it’s a failure, is immensely important! Not feeling defeated when you try every tool, but you still just want to Netflix/cake/sleep/repeat, and instead feeling capable of riding that seasonal wave, and trusting that motivation will return.
I come to that belief with a caveat that is important for my own personality and experience. If I am in a valley with my food/exercise/relationship, I don’t embrace it wholesale and fall in too deep. Because for me, that means I just dig in deeper and deeper till I make it nearly impossible, without herculean strength, to pull out. Instead, I use my tools, and when they don’t work, I have grace for that day. And I try the tools again the next day. Sometimes that means that I try and falter for a week. I still give it a mental momentary heave-ho towards positivity and change. If I maintain at least the attempt, at some point the season shifts and the tools work again.
The mental change that I have embraced along with acknowledging cyclical motivation, is brain-grace.
Having brain-grace means that I non-judgmentally try each of my tools, and if they work; hurray! And if not, I keep moving through the slump, and not freak out about it. This means sometimes I miss four days of working out, and we eat granola for dinner more times than I’d care to admit. Without shame in my brain. This can be. . . hard. But like any other brain changes, it’s a practice and gets easier and more doable every time. The positive trend I have noticed about this is that the more I experience those stretches where I am in the groove and feeling empowered to direct my life the way I want to, the more I set myself up for being able to coast through the times when making those decisions is beyond the motivation I have in those moments.
Lately, working out has felt great, it’s relatively easy to move through my routines, and each night I remind myself ; I’m a person who wants to be working out. And, then I do. But two weeks ago? SUCH A SLUMPY SLUMP. So? I danced a bit, did more yoga, and when I felt up to a workout after employing each tool, I did it. And when I didn’t? Well. . . I’m almost through the entire series of Gilmore Girls, so obviously I was dedicated to something.