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I want to talk about setbacks… Have you ever made a plan, a goal for yourself and been super fired up, totally motivated and get to the doing part full steam ahead then… BLAM! Life happens and it happens hard. That has been my experience over the last couple months and OMG has the struggle been real. Dealing with setbacks is never easy but self-care and mindset shifts can go a long way.
But as they say, a setback (or multiple) is the set up for the comeback and once again I find it’s all in how I look at things. My perspective is what makes or breaks me. I’ve certainly had my share of shit in the last few weeks but looking back what shines through all those setbacks are the strides I’ve made when it comes to self care and personal growth.
It has been a hard several months for this household no doubt, but the last 4 weeks, holy shit, it’s like I’ve been in an alternate universe, a painful one. Let me explain… I am a goal oriented person; a strength at the best of times, a weakness in the worst. I make a plan and go for it 100%. Nothing, absolutely nothing, pisses me off more than not being able execute my plan. Unfortunately, left unchecked that anger can turn inward and result in behaviors like negative self talk, self sabotage and even depression.
I’m gearing up for my first century ride in April. As I write that’s seven, no scratch that, six weeks away. My training starting in January and things were going great. I was getting in three rides a week, two of which were on my trainer at 4 am, then one long ride outside on the weekends, coupled with two days of strength/core training. Pretty smooth sailing, minus the 4 am wake ups. But then things went a little sideways.
It started with a freaking rain storm that seriously lasted three weeks, then two colds back to back, each lasting about 10 days and of course in this house we share…so my daughter got it first and then me. This was followed up nicely by red eye rubbing goopy good ole’ conjunctivitis for both of us.
Now all you moms out there know that a sick kid equals no sleep and a sick kid, sick mommy combo equals double no sleep. Add in the stress of loved one dealing with episodes of crippling anxiety where you need to hold space for them to just be, oh and manage a toddler at the same time plus work, plus basic life sustaining activity, plus death of pet (as of last edit)… A recipe for derailment for sure.
It’s been a solid month since I’ve been able to train in an true sense of the word. I did get one day of sunshine combo-ed with feeling decent enough to hit 50 miles in the saddle but other than that it has been a big zero. And it’s been at least 3 weeks since my fingers touched my keyboard to work on my blog… at topic for another time.
All this is to say I’ve pretty much felt like shit physically and mentally…. Things were getting kinda ugly upstairs… aka depression creeping in. My squire cage was getting pretty messy.
Now the good news is that the rational side of me knows that nothing lasts forever, not colds, not conjunctivitis and that we will sleep again… eventually. Being flexible is clearly not one of my greatest character strengths. When there is so much out of my control and I can’t move in the direction of my goals I feel stuck and stuck for me is stifling, almost unbearable. But over the years I have learned than when I am upset and finding my situation unacceptable there is a lesson to uncover.
Lessons Gained in Self Reflection.
As I come to the other side of this mess I am able to do some reflection. Yes, there were plenty of rough moments, tears included, but looking back I can see how far I have come, how much I have changed over the years. I see that I paused more, I let go more, I reached out for help more than I would usually. I listened to my body and did what felt right instead of what was on my training plan for the day. At the very least I didn’t beat myself up over the unchecked to do list. Well as much as I used too anyway.
What Self-Care and Growth Have Looked Like For Me Recently.
- I asked for help. My mother-in-law/savior, watched my little so I could catch a nap and be supportive for those closest that needed me.
- When my daughter slept, I slept.
- I said eff it to house work, the laundry pile was epic.
- I leaned into my friends and cried on their virtual and literal shoulders.
- I took a break from the blog hustle and social media hustle.
- I went to therapy.
- I focused on the things I could control, like my environment (de-cluttered a bit when I was feeling better) as well as what I put in my mouth and did my best to focus on healing/healthy foods.
- Accepted just how much has been on my plate, how high my stress levels have been, honored and allowed for it.
- Moved my body more gently. I did yoga when I could and opted for a 1 hour spin class instead of long outside ride.
- Made a gratitude list.
- Expanded my mind with some new podcasts (A Healthy Curiosity by Brodie Welch is freaking awesome BTW), got a new book on the principles of Chinese medicine (The Web Without a Weaver) and healing yourself with food (A Mind of Your Own).
Getting To The Other Side of Setbacks.
Then something magical occurred, well magical in mommy speak…. My baby girl slept through the night for the first time in weeks and I slept for 9 hours solid. Then it happened again, another full nights sleep, and then a third night… and well we’ll see if we make it four… fingers crossed HARD. (update while editing, we didn’t LOL).
Here I am on the couch at 4 am typing and processing the last 4-5 weeks of my life.
Has it been pretty. Hell no. Have there been setbacks in my century training? OMG yes! Does it matter? In some ways yes, some ways no. It doesn’t really matter that I haven’t made the rides I planned. I’ll get there. It may look very different than what I had originally planned but I’ll show up and do my best. What truly matters is that I was able to do self-care even though in the moment everything felt intolerable.
Perhaps the biggest lessons are actually to just appreciate myself more and try to to take things one day at a time minus the mental battle. I mean, it would have all happened and passed anyway, struggle or no struggle, so why make things harder than they need to be?
That is where the true rift is, the one that lies between our hearts and our minds. It’s in the little voice within that says “How can you accomplish anything at this rate? See I told you so?” It’s in that negative self talk, which thankfully I am much more aware of today than in my younger years. If we could just catch it sooner how much easier would life be?
This morning was a good example of listing to my body, doing what felt right and letting go of the negative self chatter. I was all set to hit a trainer ride this morning. Bike up on the trainer, water bottle and clothes out, headphones where I could find them. But when I got up I honestly just wasn’t feelin’ it… Still… I’m still coughing, still a snogging snot factory although better and I honestly had a desire to write for the first time in weeks.
But there again was that voice saying, “Get going! This is your chance to ride, even if you don’t feel really up to it. This is you being lazy, you gotta push through it” But do I? Or could I listen to what my body wants and trust it? Maybe it’s not a fair question at 4 am. I mean who really wants to roll out of bed with no coffee and sweat for an hour? Not this girl. But I’m so used to pushing past it and honestly beating myself up a bit if I don’t.
This time it was different. This time I decided to just let it go, trust the wisdom of my body and chose to quiet that negative voice with some quick fact checking.
Fact 1) I am not a lazy person. Fact 2) I love to ride by bike and exercise.
Fact 1 + Fact 2 = When it’s time and my body is ready I will want to.
It’s all about self trust and mindset. Listening to your body, not your mind. Being kind to yourself. Exploring new stuff, staying open and curious. Everything is an opportunity to grow. Lessons Learned.
This dark night of the soul is coming to a close and I am truly thankful for the gifts of self reflection, good friends, family, health and sleep.
So For all You Amazing Mamas Out There Chasing Dreams & Dealing with Setbacks, Myself Included.
- DON’T BE SO DAMN HARD ON YOURSELF MAMA.
- GIVE YOURSELF SOME GRACE.
- 90% OF THE STRUGGLE IS BETWEEN THE EARS.
- THIS TOO SHALL PASS.
Now back to kicking ass… but a little more gently 🙂 The way out is always the way through.