Awh, Fish Sticks!
I am 99.99999% sure I will never, ever claim to eat perfectly all the time. Quite simply, I enjoy pizza way too much. And tacos. And mashed potatoes. And I don't mean the healthy, cauliflower versions...
Today I caved. My mind and body were toast and the thought of a fresh salad or a lean, clean meal was not appealing... at. all.
My excuse was: I don't have time or energy [to make a healthy choice].
My mind had already been made up; I was going for popcorn shrimp. A big ol' family sized box of nasty little farm-raised-somewhere-far-far-away-where-they-are-raised-in-poo-water shrimp, coated with toxic breading and deep fried to perfection.
Unfortunately - or fortunately, had I recognized the opportunity here - someone had cleaned out every last box of popcorn shrimp at Food Lion which left me no choice but to purchase for my family to ingest... FISH STICKS.
Yeah, I fed my family and myself fish sticks.
Am I ashamed? Yeah.
Did I sit there thinking "What the hell is wrong with you, Whitney?!" while we were eating? Yep.
Did I enjoy every disgusting little fish mush bite dipped in Bob Evans mashed potatoes and topped off with ketchup? You betcha.
This is not ok. But also, it's ok.
I could take you through the entire chain of events that led me to that massive moment of weakness. (Or, maybe it wasn't weakness. Maybe it was I-don't-give-a-shit-ness. Or both.) But, I won't take you through the entire chain of events because it doesn't really matter.
We've all had those days when we feel our bones aching from exhaustion and our necks tensing up from all the "what's next?" stress. Days when we feel like nothing could be better than taking an 8 hour nap only to wake up and go to bed for another 8 hours. Days when we feel like we have no less than one thousand important things on our to-do list. Days when you kind of feel like you're keeping all the balls in the air but you realize that you're not. (Or maybe you kind of are keeping all the balls in the air but you're working the system by tucking a really important ball in the pit of your elbow so you don't have to actually juggle it... Read: I'm neglecting Whitney.)
And, guess what?! We will have these types of days again... and again... and again. And that's ok.
It's ok... but it can be improved for next time.
Looking back, I'll share a couple of things I know, without a doubt, that I could have done to avoid this particular crumble.
1. Meal planning. When I plan our entire week's daily meals in advance, I avoid last minute slip-ups. Even if I only plan 3 days at a time, it is super helpful. Taking the time on Sundays to think about which go-to meals I want to prepare and serve for the week is critical to keeping us on track.
2. Resting. The exhaustion my body felt yesterday was the result of at least an entire week of scrambling to meet deadlines, traveling to the city, processing new information, worrying, crying, studying, getting blackout drunk, throwing a friend a shower, cleaning, etc. etc. etc.
I could have easily assessed my workload, commitments, and schedule and opted out of a few things to free up space for ‘me time’ and resting.
There will always be times when we give all of our attention to some areas and none of our attention to other areas. There is no such thing as balance. We do the best we can and we do what feels right in the moment and, as long as we're doing what we genuinely feel is right, that's all that matters.
The key is to be aware. Awareness takes practice and it often feels like work.
Consistent journaling, meditation, and self-assessment helps to fine tune your awareness skills so when shit hits the fan, it won't be so hard to recognize.
For me, a huge help in personal awareness is my moon ladies. I'm an avoider by nature and my women's circle ladies are often better at noticing my patterns and other things happening in my life and mind than I am.
Next time you eat nasty fish sticks - or do whatever isn't good for your wellness - don't beat yourself up. Look for an opportunity to assess your current situation, make necessary changes, and improve. If you can recognize what's not ideal, learn from it, and make changes moving forward then you're winning.