Setbacks Suck & Getting Over It

Ah, I recall just over a week ago I was full of hope and excitement for the new year. I eagerly wrote about the great and attainable things I want to accomplish in 2018.

I spent time breaking down those goals into manageable steps and was on the right track. I had done everything I could to prepare myself for success: ordered my textbooks before the semester began (for the first time in the six years I’ve been in college), planned a running schedule to keep on track with my half marathon goal, looked into recipes that were healthy, quick, and easy that I could prepare and grab during the busy week, talked with my psychiatrist to set a good self care plan and went over coping skills for when things got more stressful, and I spent a lot of time hanging with the friends and family that I likely won’t see over the next few months of madness.

Despite my best intentions, I ended up over indulging with food on my birthday weekend and made myself miserably ill. I’ve missed two days of work and the first two days of the semester. It has been defeating. As I rested I found myself ruminating on how well I set myself up for success and how quickly I failed in execution. One of the biggest things I struggle with is “all or nothing thinking.” It was so easy to feel that this week’s misstep equated my being a worthlessly weak waste of space. I felt myself sinking into that sad and lonely place that is so comfortable and damaging.

The world did not end because I took two days off, though I’ll admit for a while I felt like it did. I felt like I let everyone down, when in reality it minimally affected a few people… if that. It’s so hard when I get into this space of shame to bounce back. Go figure, after hours of beating myself up I lack motivation to get back on track.

Before getting too deep into my pity party I changed directions. I meditated, did some yoga, and wrote out what I was feeling in my journal. These three things were crucial in changing my mindset. Meditating forced me to spend some time focusing on my breath allowing me to silence that negative self talk I am so familiar with. Yoga helped ground me and relieved the physical tension that comes with stress and self sabotage. Writing my feelings down in a journal forced me to face my internal cruelty and challenged me to move forward with one question: how did this happen and what can I do to change this in the future?

I know a big part of this setback was my diet, but there is a nasty stomach bug circulating that could have contributed. My month of paleo was over and it was also my birthday week so I overindulged on all of the bad things. The last sentence I wrote is full of excuses. I am well aware how bad my stomach can get when I make bad food decisions and I recall several times ignoring my inner voice (should you be eating that?) in favor of instant gratification. In the future I should take that voice more seriously, but I’m not making any promises.

Another contribution to my setback was trying to do every single thing before the semester started. Sure, I accomplished a ton and set myself up for a great semester, but I forgot to take time to relax before the stress hit. It’s so important that I spend some time alone relaxing to re-charge my batteries for both my physical and mental health. This is a something I think will really help me avoid setbacks like this in the future.

It’s time to wrap up this long post with a suggestion:

Stop focusing on the setback and start focusing on how you can move forward.

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