As you know if you've read my blog for a while, I made a list of commitments that I was absolutely going to keep every day. They were very basic and things I really should be able to stick to. I had a physical list that I checked off daily and I did wonderfully with them! A few weeks ago, I'd been doing so well that I decided I now had formed the habits (it takes 6 weeks, right?) and didn't need to actually check off the list - I'd keep with these items because they were now part of my daily routine. Well, we all know which road is paved with good intentions....
I could use the excuse that I've been traveling for work a ton lately on quite a rigorous schedule. In between times, I've wanted to spend time out with friends because I haven't seen them as often. These factors also account a bit for the fact that my healthy eating habits and workout schedule have not made an appearance too recently either (these aren't on my commitments list but they were goals I was striving for). It's tough to complain about travel to places like Hawaii and Las Vegas with a busy social schedule in between time. However, since my commitments and healthy habits have slacked, I've noticed some changes I don't particularly like.
When I was meditating and writing daily, I noticed I was calmer. Things that traditionally upset me seemed easier to handle. I felt more at ease, happier, like I was in a good place with myself and with my life. Don't get me wrong, everything wasn't perfect, but I seemed different, in a positive way. Perhaps I'd just unconsciously learned to take a deep breath before reacting. Maybe I felt more in control because I was taking the time out to do these things daily, to get into patterns, which is so crucial for mood cyclers. It's possible that just doing these few things for me and no one else was having a positive effect on my day to day life. In the last few weeks, though, I've found myself bringing up old demons - getting angry and/or sad about situations I had been dealing with well before, becoming jumpy and anxious, battling more negative self talk about myself and my life, not sleeping well.
Physically, I just haven't felt healthy. I've been exhausted, constantly seem to be battling some type of cold, dealt with a persistent pain in my abdomen for several weeks (gone now, thankfully), my skin is breaking out, the list goes on. In fact, I'm writing this instead of being able to attend a closing event at a conference because I feel chills and a potential fever coming on (perhaps it's not best to write with a fever, but I'm antsy and words are coming to me). I realize I'm not painting a pretty picture here. I suspect that much of this physical reaction is due to a less than healthy diet, lower activity level and higher stress level.
As much fun as I have had traveling around and spending most of my free time going out with friends, I realize that I need to slow down. I absolutely love to travel, and I'll obviously continue to do so - it's part of my business! But even when traveling, I need to be kinder to myself. I need to get back to my commitments and some sense of routine. I must sleep more, with fewer stress interruptions. Clearly, life in the fast lane doesn't work for me. At least not for extended periods of time. One of the things my therapist has stressed most with me is that mood cyclers need routine. We need our habits, our sleep, our reliable patterns because there is so much change going on in our brains one a regular basis that throwing in a bunch of external curve balls is only going to make it worse. I plan to start printing out my commitments list again and checking if off daily. I want to cook at home more and be more active. I look forward to settling back down into my home life. I love adventure, but my brain does not always feel the same way about it. I'm learning that the best way to handle these conflicting needs is to compromise. This time, at least for a little while, my brain wins.