The first work-week is over! The calendar slowly gets filled and my to-do list is once again a fixed feature on my coffee table. The vacation is now really in the past. Luckily I managed to hold on to some of my good intentions. I’m more successful in leaving work at work and letting go of mails, tasks and appointments. Who knows, maybe the mindfulness exercises are already paying off. Nevertheless, as a result I still feel quite relaxed, happy and optimistic.
I only now grasp how much I needed that vacation. Not only am I better in letting things go and finding enjoyment in the small things, I also noticed that I’m less critical of myself. Which made me see the connection between my energy level and the voices in my head. When my battery hasn’t been full for a couple of days, those voices start to become more critical. Thoughts like “that’s something I can’t do, again”, “why do I do that” and “what will they think” will start to pop up more often.
They might look like innocent questions, but when they are a daily occurrence they’ll slowly start to subvert yourself. By repetition these kind of questions will turn into doubts, uncertainties, criticisms, until you start to judge yourself. I now see how this can even mess with your self-image.
I only had this lightbulb revelation this week, probably thanks to that relaxing vacation. I suddenly noticed that I was thinking much more optimistic about myself and my abilities. What would I care what others thought of me. No one is perfect. Our differences are what makes us unique, so why wouldn’t we celebrate them? As a side bonus, these positive thoughts are a lot more energizing than those negative thoughts.
The annoying thing is that, when I’m already low on energy I seemingly have to make it more difficult by listing to those critical thoughts. This is why I really should start writing down these insights. I still need to start with that instruction manual on the new me, but this will definitely make the cut. It would be a shame if I’d have to ‘discover’ this once again in the near future.
For me, this underlines the importance of making sure that my battery is fully charged more often. In my case, it really helps to get away from everything and everyone for a couple of days. The challenge then is in taking the time off to really do this. Last time I had plenty of rational arguments to postpone my vacation, which in hindsight, wasn’t my smartest decision. (Hopefully the expression of once bitten, twice shy is based on some truth.)
Besides the serious self-reflection, there (luckily) was also a cake moment this week. As I, unexpectedly, made a small step forward.
It took me almost an entire year, but I was finally able to cycle to work the day after I went swimming.
Now the swimming isn’t even very active. It’s more exercising than working out, but still takes a lot of energy. Not only the swimming itself, but also the getting there, changing and all the stimuli along the way and in the swimming pool. Turning the next day into a recovery day, I can work for a few hours, but I can’t face the twenty minute bike ride to get there. Luckily, there is a tram I can take.
In all honestly, I already gave up on the whole cycling to work. I really was more than happy with the fact that I could swim and work the following day. Making it a very surprising discovery to wake up the following day and feel energized. It bolstered my optimism, knowing that things do get better. In may require patience (a lot of patience) and listening to your body, but one day you just might wake up and be able to take that next step.
I really hope that this is my “new normal”. That it wasn’t an isolated incident. Nevertheless, I will definitely celebrate this victory (I already bought the butter cake) and won’t worry about what is yet to come. Next time I’ll see how to goes. If I feel good again, I will get on my bike with a smile on my face. If I don’t, then I will get on tram and feel thankful that I have this option.
To revisit last week’s post, I’ve also made a decision to change some things. As I decided that I want to feel healthy and happy more often. So stay tuned for next week’s post, on the what and how! (Ha, a real cliff-hanger. 🙂)
What helps you to fully recharge your battery? Are you aware of your critical voices? When do you notice that they’ve been getting too loud? What was your last victory moment?