(Re)fresh Start

P1040103{warning: this is a long, introspective one}

One of the many beauties of life is that there is always the opportunity to begin again- to reboot- to reassess. Whenever I reach a period in my life where I feel stuck, overwhelmed, or like I’m banging my head against the wall- I have to remind myself that refocusing and grounding myself again are options. It’s so easy to forget for a hot second that I can make changes in my day to day life to be happier- I don’t have to keep doing the same thing and I don’t have to be miserable.

Lately I’ve been feeling bogged down- without direction- slightly lost- and without any sort of ability to concentrate. In all areas of my life- eating, exercise, writing, professionally, personally/emotionally, creatively, and in my relationships. This has happened before (and it will happen from time to time for the rest of my life).

It’s been building up for some time now. But it all smacked me pretty hard when I was running in a 5k race on Saturday. I was expecting the 5k to be a breeze. I envisioned myself running that thing no problem- wicked fast- and feeling really strong.

Welp. I felt TERRIBLE. I ran it and it happened but it was a force. I felt awful throughout the whole thing. Physically I just wasn’t performing the way I wanted to, I felt clunky, and I felt slow. All this got to me mentally and I just couldn’t stop beating myself down. Instead of listening to Iggy Azalea rapping hard in my headphones, I was going over all the things I was unhappy with and all the changes I wanted to make and all the things I was scared/upset about- again and again and again. It shows you how intense this all was because I take Iggy Azalea PRETTY seriously. For me to ignore those sick beats? Hell, there’s gotta be something crazy happening.

What I do in times like these, after much thinking and contemplation, is remember that I can either keep doing things the way I’m doing them and be unhappy OR remind myself of what my aspirations in life are, make actionable changes that correspond to me being able to have a life I’m absolutely thrilled to live, and just have a fresh start.P1040111

Well. It’s not exactly a “fresh start.” I’m not starting from the ground up or doing anything monumental. This year isn’t about big changes- it’s about polishing (It’s about taking advantage of all the huge changes I’ve made in my life, honing the skills and knowledge I’ve learned, and working in smaller ways to make myself better/happier every day). So it’s like a “refresh start.” I know that is so far from being grammatically correct but its the only way I can put what today signifies to me into words.P1040109

Refresh start. I took the past couple of days to put into perspective my goals, ambitions, aspirations, desires, dreams, etc. and to reground myself. I journaled a little bit. Made a bunch of lists. Tried to get every ounce of thought out of my brain and onto paper because that just really helps me understand where I am and where I want to be. It helps me figure out what is really bothering me.

Refresh start. I’m not starting anything over completely. I’m just making a restatement to myself to stay true to me and what I want to do. It’s the same idea behind those wedding vow renewal ceremonies. Continuing to remind myself of what I am committed to, recognizing how I could be better, discussing new challenges for myself that I can take on in order to better position myself toward reaching goals, and remembering to cherish/honor the most important relationship in my world (the one I have with myself, in this case).

Refresh start. No, May 12th doesn’t have any significance. There’s no particular reason why I chose today. It just felt right. I just felt ready to put a proclamation to paper. And well, to be honest, Monday’s are always a good time for me to mentally accept change or feel like there’s something different about the day as opposed to the day before. Mondays are good for renewal.P1040113

Refresh start. I never really did a “spring cleaning” of my life. I cleaned the crap out of my apartment and now its time to clear the crap out of my head.P1040112

The results of my spring cleaning that came out on paper as I sorted through the clutter:

  1. You Can Do Anything, But Not Everything– I always bite off way more than I can chew or feel unaccomplished because I never feel like I’m doing enough (even though I’m doing my absolute best every day). I need to realize that it’s awesome to dream big and want to do a lot, but to be realistic and not be so hard on myself when I can’t do it all. Because that’s impossible.
  2. Remind Yourself of 2014 Expectations and Your Big Ideas: Don’t forget these. They will bring you clarity when you feel all over the place. You want to trust yourself more, embrace your physical self more, and appreciate your mental self more. You want to really grab the reigns of your new job and excel at it. You want to continue to share what you love with others in order to help them and better their lives. You want to simply be consistently good.
  3. Remind Yourself of Your Skills, Passions, and Values: Don’t focus on what you’re not and remember what you are {family oriented, homebody/nester, informed health/wellness adviser, full of heart} and what you’re good at {writing, articulating, goal setting, planning, organizing, motivating, strong, adaptable, smart}. Remember what you love {history, food, creating, writing, sharing, cooking, learning}. Remember what is important to you {family, relationships, taking care of yourself, being perceived as a hard worker and someone who cares (and also knowing you are those things), your work, and what you put your name on in terms of creative content both at work and in your personal life}.
  4. Dairy Free (mostly) May and Gluten Free June: For the past month or so I’ve been mostly dairy free. I still have ice cream from time to time (once a week at most) and have yogurt 1-3 times a week- but I have stopped eating large quantities of greek yogurt (I used to consume close to a cup a day) and cheese (and in terms of milk- I haven’t consumed cow’s milk for quite some time now so that’s no biggie). It’s been hard and a big challenge for me- but my stomach feels A LOT better. If it didn’t- I would ditch my whole anti-dairy thang. But because it’s been making me feel less cloudy in the head and a heck of lot less bloated- I’m sticking with it for now. And starting in June, I’m going to go gluten free for a little while. My reasoning behind this is that I still have ongoing IBS issues and pain that seems out of the ordinary in my joints. After listening to lectures and interviews and podcasts about how eliminating gluten can help improve gut health and eliminate joint pain, I think I’m finally at a place where I can recognize that it would be worth a shot to see if it would make things better for me. I’m contemplating going Whole30 in June… but as of right now I’m just committing to going gluten free for the month to see if I feel better. It’s going to be one of the hardest things I’ve done in a while. I’m working on transitioning now and reconfiguring meals.
  5. Rest From Running Until Sunday, July 6: Did I tell you all that I’m officially running my 2nd half marathon in September?! BECAUSE I TOTALLY AM. On Sept. 27 I’m running the Cape Cod Zooma 1/2 marathon WITH WILL. YUP. He’s doing it too! We’re both really excited! But I know that for me, if I want to run that thing and feel good about it, I need to take it easy on the running until it’s time to train. I’m doing a 12-week training plan starting in July and I feel at ease about it. I think that will give me time to focus on other fitness things for a while, rediscover my love of running and come back to it with a relaxed mind. I’m not going to stop running completely- I’m still committing myself to two runs a week in the meantime (as opposed to 4-5 runs per week that I had been doing) so that I stay in an okay “running shape” but I’m going to try really really hard to embrace alternative forms of exercise.
  6. Being Okay With Rest: Speaking of alternative forms of exercise… post cherry blossom 10-miler, I’ve been taking things a lot easier in terms of my workout plan and honestly- it’s just been working for me. Not having a plan to adhere to every week, choosing to walk the four miles to work instead of getting in a run or AMRAP session, going to spin multiple times in a week because its just what I want to do, going to bikram yoga THREE days in a row (yeah that happened)- literally, my workout schedule/plan has looked different every week for the past couple of months. It stresses me out to some extent because I’ll always be worrying about whether or not I’m pushing myself enough, doing enough, or training as hard as I used to- it’s been really nice mentally to cut myself a break. My sleep is continually improving as is my overall relationship with exercise. I never want it to be something I dread, hate, or resent. I always want it to be something that feels good to me. So that’s that.
  7. Not Attacking Myself in the Mirror: I’ve noticed that literally every morning when I wake up, one of the first things I do is look in the mirror and zero in on the things that I’m self conscious about. I really need to start saying positive affirmations every time I start to have fat thoughts and self hate thoughts. Because ain’t NOBODY got time for that.
  8. Being Open About the Future: Hey Allison- It’s totally okay that you don’t know what your next step professionally is. Keep doing the job you love and do your best to do it flawlessly. That being said, be open to new opportunities and keep an ongoing journal of things you think you might be interested in and the directions you could potentially see yourself going in.
  9. Recipe Page on Blog: One of the biggest complaints I get in regard to my blog is that all of the food I’ve made can’t be easily searched or looked up. I’ve hesitated toward creating a recipe page where I link to things I’ve cooked 1) because its a lot of work and 2) because most of what I cook is out of the brains of other talented bloggers/chefs- I don’t make up most of my own recipes. But I can definitely see the value in having something like this- even if it is more of a roundup of my favorite recipes online that I’ve also made and taken for a test spin. I’m going to start going through my old posts and creating a recipe link page.
  10. Checking In Every Two Weeks: With so many loved ones living in a different city than me, staying in touch can feel impossible. It’s not. As long as I make the effort. I’m going to make a solid effort at conversing with the people most important to me at least once every two weeks so that we don’t become distant. I think it will make me feel a greater sense of family/community/closeness that I crave.

Whew. That was a lot. Did you get all of that?P1040093

So that’s what all of my journaling and thinking to has amounted to. And trust me- this is the cliff notes version of everything buzzing in my brain. But hey- it’s a start.P1040091

It’s a refresh start.

And it’s making me feel a lot better. I know I can’t control everything, but I can grab a hold of some aspects of my life and start to improve things. And for as much as I try and plan, I recognize that there are some things that will just fall into place the way they’re meant to be without me even realizing it. For passionate, hustling, go-getter people like yours truly, I feel like things just sort of prioritize themselves. You naturally end up making time for the things you want and dropping the things you don’t care as much about. It just happens over time.P1040102

I like to see times like these as one of the benefits of being a crazy passionate person- someone who is forever seeking to be doing exactly what makes them happy, feel fulfilled, and bursting with joy every second of every day. Someone who won’t stop until she feels like she is doing what exactly what she wants to be doing. My passions will always be there to challenge me to do more and be more. They’ll always drive me to keep creating and working and waking up every morning with a sense of purpose and meaning.P1040110

Will recently told me that my never ending passion is one of my greatest assets. I think I agree with him.

Refresh start. I’ve reassessed, refocused, and regrounded. Now all that’s left to do is pick back up and start pushing forward with a brushed off slate.

What’s up, Monday?

Keep it wicked healthy xoxo

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6 thoughts on “(Re)fresh Start

  1. I need to do this IMMEDIATELY. I’m struggling majorly and as soon as I get home, I’m pushing the refresh button. Thanks for the inspiration 🙂

  2. Great post! – I consider #1 an important motto of mine as well, and I’m just like this:
    “Tried to get every ounce of thought out of my brain and onto paper because that just really helps me understand where I am and where I want to be. It helps me figure out what is really bothering me.”
    too. Best of luck with the (Re)fresh Start! – N

  3. Pingback: Clean and Simple | Wicked Healthy Washingtonian

  4. Pingback: Food and Fitness Realizations | Wicked Healthy Washingtonian

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