Re-Learning How to Live: Giving Up Routine & Turning off My Thoughts

So I’ve been doing something thinking lately…

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1. It’s that time of year. The weather’s getting better, the sun’s shining longer, and yet there are a million things to do. Finals and big projects always make me feel like I’m drowning. Due dates overlap, and I never know what to start on when.

Stressful times like these are when we need to remember to take care of ourselves though. It’s so easy to let everything consume us. We’re too busy to just sit, to eat something delicious, to take the time to check in with our own thoughts. As a perfectionist, nothing I do is every good enough, so why should I care for myself?

I need to remember that I’m a work in progress. That no one–no matter how seemingly calm and beautiful and perfect on the outside–is completed. I don’t know I’ll ever be okay with making mistakes, but I can start making it a habit to breathe. To accept that I don’t have to be constantly doing something 24/7. To just be content sitting, curled up with a good book. To allow myself to truly be there with my family.

2. Going off that topic, I’m loving this quote from one of the bloggers I follow:

This feeling will not take over. I will not let it break me down and instead I will do everything in my power to break it down into tiny pieces, to defeat it and to come out on the other side so much stronger.

Relapses in eating disorder recovery, or just any recovery your going through, are going to happen. But how you know you’re recovering is that you can recognize those thoughts for what they are: irrational and not a part of you. Mental illnesses might never really disappear, but we don’t have to become them.

My dad’s told me during rough times: “You are not these thoughts. You are stronger than them. You have the power to control them.”

I guess that’s what I always forget. It can be easy to fall into the trap of bad thoughts, allowing them to taint your life. What’s harder, what’s the sign of a fighter, is when you acknowledge these thoughts, but then let them pass. You act in spite of them, not because of them.

I will recover because I know I'm stronger for this.

3. Okay, routines are my life. I like knowing things for certain. Gym, classes, dinner at 5, homework, bedtime at 10. If something pops up to disrupt that routine, I get anxious. Especially if an event pops up and then I don’t know when I’ll eat next. Or if something runs too long, and I can’t do what I thought I’d be able to get done. Any one else ever feel like that?

But then it happened. I went to the movies the other day, knowing I wouldn’t be able to eat until later and I wouldn’t know what restaurant we’d be going to afterward. Enter the mental battle: should I eat more for an afternoon snack? What if we go out for some food I don’t like and I’m so hungry? What if we don’t get back in time for me to finish typing that essay (that isn’t do for another week, and yet I feel the strange obligation to have done right now)?

Then I thought, who cares? I ate the food I was craving, despite not knowing what I’d have for dinner. I laughed in the car ride, knowing these are the friends who respect me for both my strengths and my flaws.

I gave myself permission to enjoy myself because life can’t be mapped out. No matter how much I pretend it can be.

Worrying about every little thing? Not worth it.

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Being happy and healthy is more than working out, knowing what you’re going to be eating every second of the day, and getting all of your to-do list done.

I will admit, I’m still anxious about what I can’t control, especially for I go on vacation in May for the first time out of the country. No family, no gym, no idea what food I’ll be eating, when I’ll sleep… for ten days.

But now I recognize it’s okay to step out of routine. Days of routine will always be there, but then there are the days and weeks we need to just experience the world. To simply breathe and live.

It’s okay to have negative thoughts. It’s okay to be anxious.

But knowing those feelings, embracing them, and acting despite them is a step in the right direction.

How to you accept when you have to step out of your routine?

What do you do when you recognize that you need to take more time to care for yourself? 

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3 thoughts on “Re-Learning How to Live: Giving Up Routine & Turning off My Thoughts

  1. I whole heartedly agree with number one! My type A personality likes to ensure that I am busy every second of the day, but I have come to the conclusion that this is not healthy for me. I am doing my best to be very self aware of it all, and I really am making progress. It is great to hear that you are trying to do the same thing. Let me know if you need a good book to sit down and read with!

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