I have found over the past 9 or so years that my life and what I call self love has evolved so much that I, oddly, find myself more confused then ever. What do I love about myself? Do I love myself? At times I am not so sure anymore what it is that I love…what makes me happy. I was always so sure of myself. I did what I wanted, was confident in my decisions, in my way of life and the path that I was on.
Life gets busy, circumstances change, we change… its just the way it works. I for most of my adult life have felt very connected to myself. I know what I want, what I like and I live that way, until recently… perhaps one would call this a slump, a phase of uncertainty or confusion. I find myself knowing what I want at any given moment but then doing the opposite or at least attempting the opposite.
For example I love doing yoga, it makes me feel centered and self aware. Its good for my body and mind and I know it. I tell myself every Monday, on my “rest” day from my training week, I will do yoga at home and stretch. Yet when Monday rolls around I find every excuse under the sun not to do it. I will choose to eat something lazy (I call lazy food something packaged or something I’m craving) over fruit or another food I love even though I know it will upset my stomach or its not the best to eat for my performance. Acts like this are where I find myself choosing to betray what in my heart I know makes me happy or feel good. Self sabotage I’ve called it.
I think a lot about how self sabotaging behaviours can relate to my running ultras. My long weekends of training hard, weeks in and weeks out I am pushing myself, hours on hours in the mountains. My big weekend adventures of training the mountains are what give me a high. But its such a quick high… in the forest…ohh and now back to work. Can such quick drastic highs be leading to such quick lows. When I feel “low” (tired, depressed, un motivated) I tend to steer away from self love and head toward those self sabotaging acts. I at times feel so low and tired that I just don’t care…I don’t give a shit… about anything. I really stop caring about what is going on around me and about myself.
I have been running ultra distance long enough now to know that these lows that I feel and experience happen in cycles, it is the roller coaster affect. Its all part of the journey. However, I can feel alone, unsure, confused and stuck in the moments that sometimes last a day, a week or a month. I also know that the slump that can engulf me on any given day is also a reflection of an ultra race. During ultra distance races you will have the highs and lows like a roller coaster and you learn to deal with them and keep going, such as life, push on.
I do know that it will go away, however what I wanted to address was the fact that despite my amazing happy loving life, I myself do still slip into these “lows”. This could possibly be the worst thing to complain about but the life of travel, adrenaline rushes, excitement, accomplishment, adventures, all of these great things that I do on a big scale are what I believe to influence the lows. The boredom that leads to uncertainty and to self sabotage.
I have kept myself so busy in life, always moving, training, doing, working, anything I just can’t sit still or let my brain be calm. The second I am not doing something productive I find myself feeling useless, a slacker, I am wasting time, I say. I mean I am not even a mom, my job is a 5 minute drive from my house, my responsibilities don’t extend much farther then me, my husband, our house, my family, training and work. I am selfish in the sense that training is in my top 2 priorities. But have I pushed to far?
Why do I initiate acts of self sabotage, why don’t I do what makes me happy all of the time… I mean running makes me happy and I always run no matter how low I feel but perhaps thats not enough…
I once told someone that my new goals were to focus on the little things in life because I am always achieving the big picture goals. What is so wrong with that? I think that a lot people are struggling, doing the opposite of me but to me its the little goals like, getting out of bed, having a shower, brushing my teeth, doing meal prep, cleaning my room, stretching (wow I do not sound like a 27 year old lol) that get lost. These little goals, these little things that make a day function get forgotten about. What if I can get back to grasping the little things that make me feel good…
I have been able to look beyond this phase of a low and drag myself out of it… with the determination and ambition I know resides within me. That fire thats in there for living, discovering and feeling. I actually find these low days to be helpful, they turn into rest days, days of bed or TV or nothing for that matter. It is perhaps my mental state creating a reason for me to self sabotage because I need it, and not that eating chocolate or “unhealthy” foods for one day is self sabotage but they are just little things that can slowly spiral in the wrong direction.
These are things that I have learnt and practise when this cycle of sabotage begins…
1. Give yourself time to adjust to circumstances in your life… and sometimes a lot of time.
2. Remember the one big thing that makes you the happiest and do it. For me its running. So I will always run no matter what.
3. Give yourself a break before you explode or have a meltdown. Treat yourself to happiness. Even if in little ways. Drinking tea makes me happy.
4. Practise self worth, you are worthy of being happy, having what you want and feeling good. No one or anything should stop you from pursuing this… especially not you.
5. If you don’t feel its right in your heart don’t do it and trust yourself.
6. Let yourself try something knew, maybe you are bored or not happy because it is time for a change… so go for it!
7. Look back at photos, I like to reminisce through past memories to remind myself of everything I have amazing in my life.
8. Seriously, just do it. What is your self sabotage? For me one example would be to not train or exercise and telling myself not to or making an excuse not to is sabotaging because they make me happy. If you are thinking this way try a different activity instead that day… go for a walk, do yoga at home etc.
9. Make a check list. I live by lists. If its not written down chances are I won’t do it and ill forget. If you write it down it gives you more responsibility to do it and check it off! Also its a nice little reminder.
10. Sleep. Sometimes I just go to bed. To rest, to be in peace. Sleeping is the best thing for your mind and body. Sleep it off. Tomorrow is a new day.
11. Most importantly… do one of these in the mirror!