How to Reset the System
I spent three hours of my Friday night researching "chocolate chip cookies without honey or maple syrup." Thanks to Google and the magic SEO gods, I found about a thousand recipes that substituted granulated sugar with maple syrup or honey. But where were my recipes void of the ultimately more acceptable sugar source? That led me down the rabbit hole of internet stalking perfectly framed pictures of rustically shaped cookies baked in pristine white homes by people who live effortless lives with their bearded counterparts and "dog babies". They all seemed to live in Austin or Los Angeles and collect antiques, ostensibly for their country cottage homes. It was 12:30am by this point, and I had no cookies and no direction. In a world of curated, misguided images of heightened reality, my life, like most of our lives, lies somewhere between Anthropologie catalogue and Pinterest fails. Once we're fixated on the the Intagram-able life, all other attempts to be happy pale in comparison. A donut is not a donut until it is filtered and color corrected and oozing chocolate in such a way that borders on pornography and renders us catatonic. We've all done it. I'm pretty guilty of it myself. I mean, how am I supposed to tell you how amazing the almond butter banana muffins or chicken and spinach truly are without making them look like they just came out of a Martha Stewart fever dream? (side note: apparently Martha Stewart also has issues with making her dishes look better than real life. This makes me feel a little better about everything.)
ANYWAY, all internet rabbit holes being equal, we have a lot of pressure put on us. To find the perfect recipe without maple syrup or honey. To take the best photo of [insert some delish dish here] to rival the Austin couples with their "dog babies". To land the best job or have the best physique or crush the hardest workout. Sometimes we're so wrapped up in the pressure that we end up living someone else's expectations of what we should be doing. That leads to spiraling, which leads to internet stalking at 12:30am, which leads to self-sabbatoge. Boy, can we really be hard on ourselves. It's time for a reset. Luckily, this first week of Whole Life Challenge really gave us the chance to do just that. And it all starts with breathing...
Take time to breathe
Now that you've caught a glimpse into my, admittedly superficial, insecurities around living the perfect life, you might be feeling similar insecurities about other aspects of your life. First of all, I'm glad we're in this together. Also, we can get out of it together. WLC encouraged us this week to take three times out of our days to create 5-10 deep breaths. This isn't the magic bullet to clear all the mental garbage that accumulates throughout the day or week, but it sure helps bring you back to the present. I didn't want to try it at first because it seemed too simple, and anxiety or stress can seem so insurmountable that to dilute it to a base level of breathing seemed to trivialize the emotions. But I'm telling you. Try it. You need to breathe to, you know, live anyway. Might as well take the time to do it longer and deeper.
Get to the root
I'm certainly no expert in the human brain or psychology. But I've lived enough life to know that when blowing up over spilled milk, it is almost never about the milk. There are a million reasons why we are stressed or angry or anxious, and often times we're so caught up in the extensions of our feelings that we forget to look at the base level of what is causing us to stress out. This is a hard and long road with no quick answers, but it's a road that a lot of us don't even travel. If we at least know there is a root to find, we can potentially start feeling a little better about everything. My anxiety over capturing the perfect picture of cauliflower rice could really be an extension of my placing self worth on my job. Who knows! But start looking for the root.
Find your support
This one is the most meaningful to me. Finding support is crucial. Sometimes taking a long walk with a friend is all you need to rest the system. Sometimes a trip to the market with a friend will get your creative juices flowing and your mind present again. Sometimes you need to hunker down at a cute coffee shop for a little self-support. In any form, support is vital to remind you that living under pressure is not the only way to live. Sometimes we can just be. And that's okay too.
Eat good food
Of course I would be remiss to not include food in this list. It's a simple but crucial step in resetting the system. Eating whole foods (veggies, fruits), protein (meat, tofu...), and fats (avocado, almonds) regulates the system, resets the engine, and makes all the functioning parts more...functional. Plus it boosts mood and overall adds quality to your everyday life. If you're lucky enough to be able to choose between healthy food and junk, go for the healthy.
This is how I reset my system this week. How do you reset?