Let Go. What (or whom) did you let go of this year? Why?
Well is that just the Universe winking at me or what? As I was trying to fall asleep last night despite a painful burn on my hand (Christmas cookie baking incident), I realized that I was holding on to a lot of guilt. This is not an unusual thing for me. What is unusual is that I noticed this and began to let go, using each breath to release more and more unneccessary guilt. Today I wake up to find the above prompt and just had to chuckle. I guess letting go is the hip thing to do!
What I let go of
Hmmm. I don’t think I really let go of any one in particular. The first “what” that comes to mind is letting go of my standard workout routine. This is part of the larger letting go of my past relationship with my body. In the last year I was diagnosed with both hypothyroidism and fibromyalgia. My body has been going through a lot of changes, and I’ve just created more stress by trying to live “normally” and wait for my body to catch up to me.
What got you here won’t get you there. . .
This attitude was especially apparent in my approach to fitness. For many years, my basic routine was to run 3-4 times a week, strength train 2-3 times a week and practice yoga most days. Being fit has always been important to me and sticking to a good workout routine has been the pillar of good fitness. But because of my HT and FM, my body was forcing me to slow down and recreate the right style of fitness that works for me NOW. More and more I found out that I couldn’t keep up with the standards I’d set for myself that had worked for a long time. A moderate workout on Monday left me exhausted for the rest of the week, feeling frustrated and guilty about ditching the rest of my sweat sessions.
What worked in the past wasn’t working in the present, but it took a long time for that to really sink in and become a conscious choice. I was afraid of losing all my muscle tone and gaining even more weight, even though my conditions had been making weight maintenance impossible for a long time. Once it did become a conscious choice, however, I lost all of the guilt of not keeping up with my normal routines. I accepted that trying to workout at the frequency and intensity I had been before I got sick did more harm than good.
As much as I still love running and strength training, my body is calling for me to take more walks and practice more yoga. I was able to convince the monsters in my head that told me I would balloon into the Michelin man that if the gentle approach wasn’t working after six weeks, I’d re-evaluate. So far, I haven’t noticed a detrimental effect on how I look. I think I’ve been getting too little exercise, though, so now I’m going to try stepping it up a bit and find that happy place where I don’t workout so hard I’m bushed for the rest of the week and I don’t workout so little that my overall well-being takes a hit. I’ve kind of just been going with how I feel day to day, but I haven’t been getting in as much yoga as I’d like. Maybe today I’ll finally break out my Yin Yoga DVD. In fact, as soon as this is posted I think that’s exactly what I’ll do.
The ripple effect
Letting go of my driven workout mentality has been a huge mindset shift, and one that is affecting other areas. For a type-A perfectionist who constantly sets unreachable goals, this is a major personal growth moment. If I can successfully change my approach to fitness, I can change my approach to anything. I have felt more spaciousness in my life now that I don’t log all that time at the gym. I have found out that the sky doesn’t fall down with a change like this. What else might I be inspired to let go of in the future? What else do I desire to let go of in the future? Time will tell. . .