“Anyone can hide. Facing up to things, working through them, that’s what makes you strong.”– Sarah Dessen
I recently got in what I can only describe as a “funk.” Anxiety, sleepless nights, feeling irritable. It wasn’t difficult to get in this state. Perhaps my winter blahs were triggered by less sunshine in January. Or maybe because I skipped a few runs due to cold days and slippery roads. Was it triggered by the frustration of feeling trapped in a volunteer position? Or by worry about how to deal with some personal situations?
It seemed like one step downward led to another until I had spiraled into this funk. Skipping a run on the bad-weather days meant I’d be even slower next time I went. Since I didn’t want to slow down my running group, I didn’t go even when the weather and roads were OK. Staying home meant sitting at the computer with close proximity to the refrigerator, and I gained a few pounds. Then I stopped going to Weight Watchers meetings because I didn’t want to keep paying. (You have to pay if you are two pounds above your goal weight.) Without the meetings, I had little support or motivation to watch my weight. Less exercise and a little worry led to insomnia. That made me irritable and lethargic during the day—and not in the mood to do much. Do you see what a vicious cycle this is?
As the librarian at my church, I am aware of a lot of funerals. Yesterday, five notices were posted, each regarding a funeral this week. Seeing these and other recent deaths makes me realize how very short life is. I have a feeling that even if we live to 100, we will look back and say, “That was over in the blink of an eye.”
Anne Lamott says this, “Oh my God, what if you wake up some day, and you’re 65, or 75, and you never got your memoir or novel written; or you didn’t go swimming in warm pools and oceans all those years because your thighs were jiggly and you had a nice big comfortable tummy; or you were just so strung out on perfectionism and people-pleasing that you forgot to have a big juicy creative life, of imagination and radical silliness and staring off into space like when you were a kid? It’s going to break your heart. Don’t let this happen.”
We only have one life, and I want to make the best of mine. I have started walking outside again, which is literally a step in the right direction. Even short walks lift my mood and make me feel less stressed. But sometimes we need more than exercise.
I decided to seek additional help with handling anxiety and have been seeing a counselor for the past few weeks. Perhaps you wonder why someone who is trying to be a Woman Making Strides would admit this. Actually, I hope I’m setting a good example in reaching out for support. This is a way to take care of my mind, which includes emotions. Talking to the counselor gives me a new perspective, and improving my mental state will improve my physical state. It’s all tied together.
As we take little steps to take care of ourselves, we begin to climb up an upward spiral. Every day, we have the opportunity to make the day what we want it to be.
What is going on in your life? What steps do you need to take for good self-care? Do you need support?