Bounce


Bounce. When a run is easy I bounce like I’m on springs. When I bake I check by pressing a finger and watching the baked goodies bounce back. To me resilience is bounce and that is not about never falling and not even about how quickly you bounce back or even if you bounce back all the way. It’s about the determination to do so. We all have good days and less days and all around crap days. Sometimes the days are connected. Sometimes the wind changes so dramatically you get lost in the tailspin. Combine those and you wonder what the heck you did in a previous life to have this karma beat down. That has been the past month for me. I started December wonderfully fresh with 21 and loved Christmas right up until the morning of and then slowly I started slipping. So slowly and slippery I didn’t even realise at first.
It started with tiredness. I have just the one setting; tired, but with rounding out the work year and doing Christmas by myself took a toll. And then a unexpected remark about my person blew a hole in the core of the person I am striving to be. By midday on the 25th, I couldn’t find a scrap of energy left on the bottom of the barrel. I remember then having to scrap the ice of my car the next morning and cart my kids off for the second day of Christmas with eyes so wide I looked like a startled deer. And then I got home and looked at my beautiful, empty home and wanted to rip the decorations down. That feeling lasted all the week in varying degrees despite my determination to make good use of the free time. I go into nesting mood like you wouldn’t believe, cleaning, sewing, editing, reading, rearranging. Yet come night time and my body is tired but my mind is abuzz. Repeat not a morning person and never will be. Sleep evades me, much less quality of sleep. I also have the worst body regulation and therefore multiple bedding sets because I make angel imprints every night despite no pj's and an open window keeping my room at fridge-like temperatures. I won’t even go into detail about New Year’s. Typically there is that one person who you want to see first and say Happy New Year’s to when the clock strikes twelve and if you’re lucky your that one for some else, the first thought in their mind and the one they look for through the fireworks. 
After another drenched night, made worse by a cold, came the first Monday of the New Year. I got my kids ready to take my daughter to school and my car didn’t start. I had to walk my daughter with my son on my arm in the morning frost to school. Despite having car calamity I still got a hefty bill for a simple battery jump. I dawned on me how odd it was to have no one to ask for such a small favour and despite planning still a hassle. Then I realised I needed to get the tree undecorated and out for the trash collectors. A sucky job at best but that day, dragging that 3 metre tall shedder through my home and out across the road and cleaning up the pine needle explosion instead of just being able to spend time with the kids or sit down after the crappy morning was maddening. From there the night shift of dinner, showers, hair, cuddles and books and the start of the week’s exercise routine and still no sleep.
Tuesday, first workday of the week and I was already swearing. Wednesday first run of the week; crap but faster and then I crashed like I do sometimes where it takes me an hour or two to get my temperature regulated. Thursday and back at power yoga after the holiday break and my first thought was back on the negativity train of ‘you’re fat’ when faced with the floor to ceiling mirrors and for the first time I bowed out of a pose because my knee popped painfully. I had a headache all that week. I get chest pains sometimes followed by a weird tingling from my fingers travelling up my arm back to my chest and blurred vision and it freaks me out and that week they came again. By the end of the week I fell asleep at 7 am, only half an hour before I was meant to get up and go running. Not even a long run but halfway through I was already sweating like I was at a bikram yoga class and I just didn’t see it anymore. The point or the will. Funny nothing major, just all the little things wore me down and I couldn’t see past the moment. My body strained, my mind stressed and feeling in my core that there is no safety net. I can, yes I can became simply I can’t, I don’t. I said to myself because I truly felt it "I’m beaten". I’d lost my bounce. More like a manky limp..at walking pace.
I guess that’s exhaustion because despite not being in any way a good night’s rest, I finally slept, sweaty, filled with bad dreams and head pounding just for moving it on the cushion but nonetheless for nine hours. And when my kids came home that night and we played for that last hour before bed time, I smiled again and for the rest of the night. The sweetness that is my daughter when she looks at me and says ‘I wanted to pick flowers for you, purple your favourite, to make you happy’ or the giggle explosion as I do the nighttime routine of tossing, spins and tickles from my son. His laugh is the most amazingly pure sound. These were my triggers to reset.
Mediate
After Christmas I started with daily meditation. Just ten minutes, if possible in the morning but usually at night and often right before bedtime. Those few minutes help me focus and take it as is. From life without a safety net to being able to see the clouds, the birds, the sky better because there is no netting to obstruct from the view. I use the app Headspace on my iPhone and it works for me. I love that you can choose the length of the session and that there are single or themed sessions like the one on sleep.


Sleepy time
Bedtime is completely renewed and is a ritual of routine & calm a as is the recommended way in the Netherlands for kids (Rust, Regelmaat & Reinheid). I try for a standard downtime, I spritz my pillow and sheets with a calming zen scent, I put the screens away and leave them even when I wake in the middle of the night. The biggie is sound. I keep the window directly across from my bed ajar for the crisp air but the white noise is what does it for me. It has been storming and windy for about a week and the sound of the wind works better for me than stillness.

Eat (well)
My weekly shop now includes meals for the days the kids are gone, where I used to make no effort. I start the day with breakfast, even if I have to take it with me, because nothing runs on empty. I’m slowly switching out the caffeine drip that is my fluids intake for rich fruit juice, tea and water. I am planning a detox week where I hope to give the sugar but also the lactose dependency a good butt kicking. I am lactose intolerant yet my greatest pleasures are Starbucks and creamed butter in everything. I know both are kicking me each day repeatedly in the gut as well as bloating away my hard-earned abs but how much good can that be doing on the long-term on the inside where you can’t see it?

Plan the fun
I keep meaning to do more fun and relaxing things but then when you leave it to the end of the week, you risk not doing it because it is no longer an option or because tiredness sets in. Either way come weekend and I’m usually curled up in ball by 8 pm and trying to get some rest. And so it goes week in, week out. So why not plan the fun just like any other commitment? One fun activity a week, from going to the movies again to simply reading a book with a big mug of tea in my rocker. And while just taking the time to read is a push, the goal is to go out. I love dancing but rarely do. The last time I danced was probably a year ago and before that years but I remember how happy I was shaking my tail feathers despite it not being my music. It was about feeling young, fun and free. I need to do the things that remind it’s not all chores and routines. Sometimes it is simply smiling.

Fighting fit
Exercise is a major part of my life. Everyday I do something for my body. I try and do more reps or harder stances each week. I go for fit when I'm stiff, stuffy and sick. I know that I can be fitter while I am already fitter than I have ever been in my life and probably fitter than most in the winter. My daughter went "woah, mom, how do you dare do that" while I was showing off on the rings.. But I also know when I should take it easier but don't. Constant knee pain, chest pains, shaking for hours and all the other signs usually happen when I needed to take a step back, at least for a day but I hate backing down, even for a day. I rather struggle and shake than not do the exercise. But I want to move for the rest of my life and that means pace. Who cares if I got extra reps on my one-legged push-ups this week or how fast or far I ran? The question is how good I feel, before, during and after. It´s not killer fit, it´s fighting fit.

P.S. the photo is an old Instagram of mine but when I think of resilience this little curbside strawberry springs straight to mind. Solitary, delicate and strong can come even from the rockiest and unlikeliest of places. Determined to grow. Bounce, baby!

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