I have, my entire adult life, struggled to find balance. No matter how many times I try to tell myself to take it easy, see how you get on, don’t overcommit, I always start something full pelt, fail to stick with it and then feel dreadful about yet another failure.
I make to do lists and then feel upset and anxious about my failure to tick everything (or anything!) off it. In reality I shouldn’t be surprised by this, I talked at great length in my last post about the paralysis caused by my anxiety and depression. But that doesn’t stop me beating myself up over it all, causing even greater levels of anxiety…. and on it goes.
I’m all or nothing.
I’m either Whole30 or I’m eating my own body weight in crisps, cake, scones, bread, washing it down with a small lake of Pepsi Max. I’ll try to be sensible with my food, but then I’ll eat something unhealthy and I’ll think FUCK IT, I might as well just eat ALL OF THINGS now and for the rest of the week because I have already RUINED IT.
I’ll exercise every day for a week and then I’ll miss a day and then a second day and then a third and then I’ll think FUCK IT, I can’t stick to ANYTHING, what is WRONG with me, it is all so POINTLESS, I don’t know why I BOTHER WITH ANYTHING.
It has to stop. There must be a balance to be found. And I’ve made a start. You remember those monthly goals that I’ve been working on? I’ve decided that having a pass / fail attitude towards them is only exacerbating my all or nothing outlook. After all, if your goal is to walk 7k steps every day for a month, what’s the point of carrying on if you fail to hit that count on day two, right? Because you have failed already. Why bother? Not a very helpful thought process at all.
So instead, I’m giving myself a grading system, with grades A+ → F based on how much progress I made towards completing each monthly goal (in percentage terms). For March, I found this worked really well. It’s helped me to see that even though I might not do all of the things, all of the time, the effect is cumulative. For example, I didn’t complete my channel swim distance goal, but I completed 17% of the remaining distance. I may not have completed the 7k steps every day, but I did do it on 27 out of 31 days. I did at least two NTC workouts on three weeks out of the five.
Because I’m such a nerd, I have a little spreadsheet to log all of this and I found it helpful to update my progress on the goals throughout the month. I used this information to persuade myself to go for a walk around the block to get my step count up, because at the moment, you’ve only got a C. No one wants March to go out with a C, kid. Get out there and do some walking. I could also see which activity would help me to increase my overall monthly percentage the most, helping me to prioritise that activity, when I knew that I didn’t have capacity to do everything. Wow. That’s a little bit of balance, right there.
March went out with a B grade. I’m happy with that. And I’ve set my new goals for April too:
Goal 2: Don't buy food or drink in London
Goal 3: No sleeping during the day
The second goal is to try and focus on more healthy choices, forcing me to plan and make choices ahead of time, rather than just throwing stuff in a basket and eating enough food for three people (which happens a LOT).
The third goal may seem a little........odd. But I sleep a lot. I mean really A LOT. Sleep is my escape from the world. It passes the time without my brain having to do much of anything. Often I spend an entire weekend sleeping. Sometimes, on my work from home days, I'll have a nap at lunchtime and then another when I finish work, before I make dinner. I love sleep. But I recognise that what started as another symptom of the depression has become a habit that is stealing my life away and I'm going to try and break it this month.
Stay tuned to see how I get on!
PS, in other news........