Being forced to break habits

I am back from my trip to Ireland, the trip I was going to use to help me reset and let go of my tightly controlled schedule.  Ireland is a beautiful place, super cold and rainy but still beautiful.  It was amazing to be with my family, squished into a small van driving around the country.  We saw many cute little towns, farms and magnificent castles.  Any time with my family I treasure and this was no exception.

Because I have been recently dealing with lots of changes and trying to be less rigid with my schedule, I decided this trip would be the perfect way to embrace these changes and just go with the flow.  I knew this would be tough for me, but sometimes you just have to put yourself into a situation where letting go of control is the only option.  This trip turned out to be just that.

When I arrived in Ireland Sunday morning I was picked up by my family and we immediately were on the go.  This was the first morning in a long time (besides being sick) that didn’t start with a workout.  At first my brain was going crazy, I needed to move.  I had just been on an airplane for 12 hours and my level of restlessness was through the roof.  As these thoughts were racing around my head, I found some new thoughts to focus on.  I was with my family, I was in a new country, I was going to see things I had never seen before and that is what should take precedent.  I asked myself “would you rather be at the hotel alone while your family explores so you can get a quick workout in at the gym?” the answer to that is obviously no.  I had to let go of my typical schedule and just go with it.  Of course, we ended up having a great day and walked around a ton so my body did get the movement it was craving, just in a different way.

Our first dinner in Ireland was also another big step in letting go of control.  If you have been following along with my journey you may know that I was a vegetarian for many years and my doctor recently told me that I really need to be adding way more meat into my diet.  Since that appointment, I have been cooking myself chicken, beef and trying to make fish that is decent.  For dinner that first night we went to a typical Irish pub and the old me would have been horrified by the menu.  Fried fish and chips, cheeseburger and fries, chicken wings, Guinness beef stew, everything screamed unhealthy.  At first I felt a little stressed, not only did I miss my typically scheduled workout but now I was going to have to eat something that would have been considered a “bad food”.  I took a few deep breaths, took in my surroundings and took another look at the menu.  I saw that they had grilled salmon with vegetables and rice and decided that was perfect. This was also my first-time ordering fish at a restaurant.  What helped me through this was acknowledging where I was.  I was in Ireland, in a pub, something super authentic that I should be appreciating.  Putting myself into the present moment was a very helpful tool for me.

The next morning, I woke up and I knew my parents had to go back to the airport to get my final sister to join the trip so I decided to hit the hotel gym.  I had a pretty bad night sleep so I knew a little workout would give me an energy boost.  About half way through my workout I started getting really over it.  My other 2 sisters were upstairs in the room, sure to be waking up soon and I had such a strong desire to be hanging out with them instead.  On previous family vacations, yes I would want to spend as much time with my family as possible, but I always felt I needed to get in an hour of morning workout me time.  This was a whole new feeling for me, I was being drawn away from my norm and to do something different, so I did.

Each morning for the rest of the trip I would get up and evaluate the time I had and how I felt.  Since I usually sleep pretty poorly on trips, I was feeling extra tired.  My mom would let us know our itinerary the night before so I knew what our morning departure times were.  At home and on previous vacations, I always set an alarm so I can wake up and get in a workout.  I decided this trip to not set my alarm for that, but to set it with enough time to get ready for the day.  I naturally wake up early so I did find myself waking before I needed to and the first thing that would pop into my head was “okay workout time.”  Instead of jumping up and following that urge, I took a moment to really notice how I felt.  If I was tired I stayed in bed and if I felt rested I did a little yoga flow or a 20-min workout video in my room. 

My schedule and routine was completely off, not just off, it didn’t really exist.  I didn’t force myself to work out each morning, I didn’t force myself to be super strict with the meals I was eating (honestly healthy meals weren’t really an option anyway) and I didn’t give myself a hard time about it.  Sometimes we try to do things for ourselves that we know we need but then end up beating ourselves up about it.  I would have my inner voice in my head saying “you should have gotten that workout in or you should have picked that salad for dinner.”  This trip I didn’t let that voice have the power.  It still came up each day but instead of worrying and feeling anxious about it, I just let it have a moment and then let it go.  It wasn’t easy and at times I felt down on myself but what helped me through that was taking a moment to stop, look around and appreciate the experience I was having.

This trip was such a huge learning experience for me.  It showed that everything will be okay if nothing is scheduled and planned.  It showed me that I won’t lose all my fitness progress just from taking a few days off. It showed me that I don’t always have to pick the healthiest thing on the menu. This trip showed me that there are much more important things in life than keeping yourself on such a strict routine and for me the most important thing was time with my family. 

Now my goal is to keep this mentality, to keep making progress towards being less of a control freak and more of a go with the flow kind of person.  I want to be more in touch with my body and how it is feeling and what it actually needs over what I think it needs.  I know this is an ongoing journey and some moments will be tougher than others, but in the end I know it is whats best.