Just when you have it all figured out
Ever get that feeling that maybe, just possibly, the weather is trying to kill you?
I had that feeling Monday when I was out running around the city in the middle of a heat wave, as one does. I was also battling a cold and sore throat, and did I mention the last event of the day was a dance class? By the time I made it home I had nothing left. I flopped down on my bed and let the heat slough off of me in waves. My upper body was vibrating with stress. I mean, I was really feeling it -- it nearly made my teeth chatter. And because I have unrealistic expectations for myself, I was kind of shocked at how fried I felt.
Aren't we all hot? How come I can't handle it?
I belong to a fitness accountability group on Facebook where we share what we've done that day. Lately I've been reporting that I went lighter on my workout, or that I took a recovery day--with increasing frequency. I started feeling embarrassed about that. But then I wondered, what is this story about my fitness routine telling me?
Here I thought I was doing everything "right" -- the right mix of nutrition, exercise, sleep, mindset, meditation, connection, stress management, all of it. And now I'm confronted with evidence that my perfect formula of wellness isn't working so well anymore.
Well, welcome to the pivot point, Adriana!
Here's the thing--and it's something I forget. We all have to adjust our wellness programs from time to time. What works for you right now isn't necessarily what's going to work for you 6 months from now. That doesn't mean your wellness plan is crap. There is no perfect diet, no perfect workout, no perfect anything. There is only: what's working for you now, in the context of your life.
Right now there's a lot of heat and pushing and exertion in my life. I'm planning a wedding, launching a business, pitching stories, working with a therapist on my ADHD. And it's so hot out. So the last thing I need is to go into the gym and do another AAAAAAAAAAAAGHHHHGHGHHGHHGH CROSSFIT YEAHHH ALL OUT AAAAAAAAAAAGHGHGHGH workout. Right?
Oh man, it's so hard to listen to your body when it's telling you something you don't want to hear.
But listen I must. So I'm shifting to a chill strength training program, which I will perform slowly, focusing on my breath and quality movement. Maybe more yoga. And walking, when it's not hot as hell outside.
Also, something I've learned recently from my new therapist is that I shouldn't be aiming for 100% #goals. Instead, I should aim for 80% there.
So what would 80% wellness feel like? It doesn't just mean I eat ice cream sometimes. (Although that's definitely a key component. Just saying.) It means I expect to have days when I feel crummy. And that doesn't mean I'm failing or doing something wrong.
This is the story of perimenopause, and of aging in general, for that matter: constant adjustments and managing your expectations. Feeling a sense of well-being every single day is an elusive goal. You reach it for a few days, and then suddenly you don't. And you feel badly about that. And then you remember that wellness isn't a zero-sum game. You haven't lost. You may need to adjust a few things and get back on with the business of living your life. Or maybe shit's out of your control and you're going to have to hold onto something or someone for help. We all have to do that from time to time.
Can we dig that? Can we ride that wave of uncertainty with flexibility and grace, most of the time? This is what life asks of us.