I posted this picture in my Facebook group, Being Real, Becoming Whole, the other week and I wanted to share what I wrote with you too, as well as to remind myself of the magic that can happen when I choose to turn my day around, take positive action and connect with other human beings.
What I realised the other day is that I can turn my day around at any point. And the same goes for my week, my month and my year.
Here’s how I arrived at that conclusion …
I’d had a really full-on day. I’d been up since 6 am for a networking breakfast and had spent the rest of the day at my co-working space. By the time I got home at 6 pm, I was feeling tired and overwhelmed.
I was feeling overwhelmed by all the things I needed to get done in my work, by how hard I was finding it to make a consistent income and by the prospect of a challenging week ahead. I was heading up to London for a few days to sort out some complicated life admin, then travelling on to North Wales to spend some time with my ailing mum and to take her to the doctor.
As I drove home, there was one thing on my mind: I wanted to lie on the sofa and comfort eat. I thought I might cry too.
The thing is I knew eating was a really bad idea. As many of you know, I’ve been recovering from compulsive overeating for many years so comfort eating, for me, can be a slippery slope. Once I start, I often can’t stop, and even if I can stop, comfort eating pretty much always leaves me feeling worse off than before.
I knew what I needed to do but I didn’t want to do it. I knew I needed to exercise in the fresh air. I knew that would turn things around for me. But the pull of the fridge was so strong.
Anyway, what would I do if I exercised? I could walk, but what about my dodgy ankle that had been giving me grief? I could cycle, but that involved getting the bike out, which seemed like a real faff. I could swim – I knew a sea swim would work wonders – but what about the hassle of getting in and out of my wetsuit and of rinsing and drying it afterwards? Groan.
I was dragging my heels, dragging them slowly in the direction of the food cupboard, but then something stopped me and pointed me in the opposite direction, towards my wetsuit and the sea.
What stopped me? I think in part it was my Facebook group. I’d been encouraging the women in it to take care of themselves, to love themselves and to act in their best interests. I’d been encouraging them to do the things they love to do and to make themselves feel good. So was I really going to just talk the talk and not walk the walk? Was I going to encourage them to prioritise their wellbeing while I was lying on the sofa eating food I didn’t need to try and numb my feelings?
No, I was not. So I put on my wetsuit, got into my car and headed to the beach.
There, I swam, played around a bit in the sea, swam some more, waved at a woman who’d gone in without a wetsuit (brave!) and generally revelled in the freedom of it all and in the feel-good hormones that were flooding my body.
Hurrah. I had turned my day around.
I had spurned sugar and the sofa.
I had chosen the sea and surf instead.
As I left the beach, I began chatting to a lady coming out of the toilets. I thought the toilets had been closed so I asked her if they were now open for good. It turns out she was cleaning the toilets and she began explaining, in stilted English, that they’d been closed temporarily. I asked her where she was from, hoping I could speak her language. Brazil, she said. I speak Portuguese, I replied. And we proceeded to have a lovely conversation in Portuguese, aided by her cute bilingual daughter who was playing nearby.
I told her about my time in Brazil, living in Sao Paulo and Brasilia. She told me where she was from. And she filled me in on the saga of the toilets, how people vandalised them and left them in an appalling state, for her to tidy up.
When we finished chatting, I felt so connected, to other people and to the world. I’d spoken Portuguese for the first time in ages and had just about remembered it. I’d reconnected to the wonderful time I spent in Brazil and the lovely people there. I’d realised that while I worry about my business, there’ll always be another lady who is cleaning toilets, and in the case of this Brazilian lady, with such energy, positivity and good grace. I also remembered how far I’d come since the days I cleaned toilets while travelling in Australia in my early 20s.Connection. Gratitude. Laughter. Appreciation. After our talk, this stranger felt like a friend. She and her daughter knew my name and I knew theirs.
Back home, I no longer needed to overeat. I had nipped that in the bud. I had chosen a different path. I just had my dinner, lay on the sofa a bit to relax, then collapsed into bed.
I had turned my day around. I had short-circuited the desire to medicate my feelings with excess food. I had enabled myself to go to bed with a clear head and the exhaustion that comes from exercise, rather than with a fuzzy head from sugar and feeling down on myself.
(If, on occasion, I don’t manage to turn my day around and I end up overeating on the sofa, that’s OK too. I can forgive myself and remember I have another choice next time).
The point of this story is to remind myself I can turn my day around.
We can turn our days around.
You can turn your day around.
The same goes for our weeks, months and years.
You can turn it around.
If you need support turning things around, hop over to my free Facebook community of like-minded women, Being Real, Becoming Whole. It’s for anyone who wants to live a more authentic, wholehearted life of freedom and love. It would be great to see you there.
Also, if you’re single and would like to join a small group of women on a journey to love, my next How to Fall in Love course starts June 12 – fall in love with yourself, your life and another. Just ten spaces and early bird ends Friday!
Have a great day x