Hi friends. I hope this time of the year finds you well.
I love the energy this season brings. Although everyone is back to grinding out their daily routine, there is a certain static energy running through our veins. Whether it’s the cool crisp air we have been longing for all summer, the cozy autumn traditions that bring about past memories, or the reserved energy we have gained from summertime relaxation, everyone is charged.
Since the beginning of the school year, I have felt as though I have been thriving in my daily duties. I am a sucker for a daily routine, productive work sessions, and scheduled down-time. To be frank, I love the busyness that goes with a day. I love being around people, hitting deadlines, completing tasks, and making money. It feels good. We all know this.
But, this season, I am keeping a cautious eye on my religious “following of routine”. With my past history, I tend to take it into a bit of an unhealthy realm.
As school is back in full swing, work is picking up, and workouts and meal plans are back on my calendar, I have to be especially careful that I don’t rely too heavily on these routines.
And this is why…
As I am writing this, I am struggling with the reality that I will, in fact, not be getting in my scheduled exercise today. I am on campus with a school backpack and a bag full on gym clothes…but no sports bra.
“Shit! I now have to reschedule my whole day in order to implement this exercise session”.
I thought about how I was going to get access to my sports bra before the day was up, but all of my ideas were either unrealistic or simply didn’t sound appealing. Something was telling me to drop the gym. It wasn’t coming to my day very naturally so I have decided not to push it.
And believe me, I have plenty of other things to fill that time with. Insert calling my best friend and wish her a happy birthday, check in with my partner, read microbiology homework, completing statistic practice problems, and cozy up to my book and tea.
It feels like I caved to an opportunity this day has presented. Aka, it feels like I am being lazy. Like a don’t deserve to eat as much. Like I have to work extra hard tomorrow to make up for my extra rest today.
However, this day, sans a workout, will not be any less of a day even though it is going askew to what my planner says.
If you are a planner-freak like myself, you understand the importance and satisfaction of checking off the boxes. I begin to entrust my life to these “to-do’s”. I begin to lose my sense of self, and the pleasurable aspects of life.
Why is it that during this season, not exercising two week days in a row brings so much more guilt and shame than a week of no exercise during Christmas vacation?
Why is it that a post-class milkshake on a Wednesday afternoon is seen so much more negatively than a milkshake on a hot July afternoon.
Why is it that sleeping in is seen as lazy during the school week and completely accepted during the weekend?
Who decided that we can’t be flexible with our work life–that it has to be strict and orderly?
This is your reminder to step away from your schedule, your routines, and your expectations of your day, week and year. This is your permission to nix the workout after a mentally taxing day, to eat leftover cake for snack, and to take Tuesday night off to go to a movie with friends.
This year, I am trying to change my addiction with routine.
When I say that to myself, it still sounds like everything is going to tumble into a ball, roll down the hill, and fall into the canyon.
But I am determined that letting go of routine does not mean letting go of all my life structure. I believe there is a way to be productive, successful and fulfilled without checking off every single box on the physical OR mental to-do list.
Straying from the planner will enable me to be more creative and natural with my time.
Straying from the planner will enable me to satisfy my sleep cravings, food cravings, movement cravings, and knowledge cravings.
Straying from the planner does not mean I am unorganized, lazy, and forgetful.
It means I am honest, tolerant, and flexible.
And having suffered from an eating disorder, these things are the golden tickets to recovery.
Flexible is productive. Flexible is ok.