I had an incredibly stressful week. It was one of those weeks that began with devastation. Events in my personal life left me feeling sad, scared, angry, frustrated, and defeated. We’ve all been there.
Sometimes it’s hard to get out of bed when you feel that hurt. When you’re that devastated, you don’t have the care nor energy to take care of yourself. There is a very fine line between staying functional and ending up stuck on the couch with ice cream and bottle of wine. In an instant, your health disappears.
Every time I felt myself crossing that line this week, I tried something different. Habit replacement.
Here’s what I mean:
On Tuesday, as I sat in a work meeting at the end of the day, all I could think about was having a drink. Anything to calm me down. My mind was racing. I was barely holding it together. I didn’t trust myself (ever had that experience?). So instead of being alone that evening, I called a good friend before leaving the meeting. A friend who I knew would make me laugh. We went for sushi and a drink. But just one drink, and at the end of the night, he made sure I arrived home safe. Instead of drinking alone, I ate and drank with a good friend.
Wednesday I was working at home. I kept tearing up, and all I wanted to do was crawl into bed. I couldn’t focus. Facing a work deadline, I packed up and went to work at a cafe. A local place where I knew many others would be working too. Two guys were sitting near me, and they kept laughing. It was awesome, it made me want to laugh. I remembered a video my brother once shared with me that made me laugh so hard I nearly peed, so I watched it. I channelled that energy into my work, and was super productive. Instead of working at home, I went to a cafe. Instead of focusing on sadness, I focused on laughter.
My Thursdayschedule wasn’t due to start until lunch time. Worried I wouldn’t get out of bed until I “had” to, I planned an early morning hike. Instead of laying in bed, I exercised.
As I was working at home on Fridayafternoon, I felt my throat tighten. Even though I had been working well all day, I started feeling anxiety in my jaw…I had a hard time breathing. I took deep breaths. I tried to relax my throat, but couldn’t. So I poured a glass of red wine. Sipping while I worked, one glass soon turned into two. I was happily fuzzy in my head, but my throat hadn’t really relaxed. I wanted another glass of wine, but instead, I went to a yoga class.I could breathe freely by the end of class.
I used health habits to keep myself on the healthy side of the line. Like Nike says, Just Do it. Sometimes you have to fake it ’til you make it. Each day I feel a bit more resilient. Habit replacement is empowering.