I paused before eating the donut. I took a breath and realized that I have a green smoothie in the fridge.  Maybe I’ll enjoy the donut tomorrow.  It’s rainy.  It’s cold and I’m eating cold food.  I was fighting off a virus on Easter and my appetite is still not back to normal.  I’m grazing and not consuming my usual portion size.  Today I drank my first small cup of half-calf coffee.  I still want to limit my intake.  I’m so tired of the energy crashes.  Maybe without caffeine, I’ll have steady, normal energy again.  Wouldn’t that be blissful?  Like when I was a child again.

Lately I’ve been suffering tennis elbow. I decided that I’m going to be as hands-free as possible with my belongings.  Constantly having my hands full can become a way of life:  Carrying our burdens all the time.  Carrying our obligations and “the weight of the world.”  That it’s our burden alone to carry.

Well, I’m not down with that anymore.  This momma is getting a cross-over purse.  She’s going to limit what she carries:

I will only hold one beverage at a time or I’ll find a suitable place to carry it for me.  The old me normally held a glass water bottle, had a coffee travel mug tucked in the crook of my arm with the weight of my purse handle pressing into my inner elbow.  All the weight was on my right side leaving my left hand free to open the door or to navigate.  My husband has called me a “bag lady” on more than one occasion.  I brushed it off as an annoying comment.  I didn’t realize how ridiculous I looked until I caught a glimpse of myself.  It reflected how much I always seem to carry:  work bags, tote bags, a child, grocery bags, laundry, food, etc.

This bout with tennis elbow has been painful. But as the astute learner, I’m listening to its message.  “You do enough.  You don’t have to pile anything else onto your plate.  It is safe to let it go for now.”

And pausing is the best first response. That microsecond gives me a moment to reflect, to think, to not go off on to autopilot and reach for the donut.

Even though it’s a cold, gray day, I feel energized.  Maybe it’s because I kicked this cold to the curb and I’m feeling like my old self again.  Perhaps a lighter version of myself and I’m seeing with renewed eyes.

self-care · working mom

How to be a superhero when there are slipups

I started working at Bess Eaton when I was 17. I’ve been an avid coffee connoisseur ever since.  As my husband can attest, I make the best coffee at home.  I always make us coffee before we leave for work.  And we try to make it a point to sit down and drink a cup of coffee together on the weekends.

Ever since I started working full-time, I’ve been introduced to the Keurig. Its immediate caffeine injection was all too alluring.  I soon added a mid-morning coffee and a mocha for the afternoon.  Coffee buzz, crash, coffee buzz, crash.  I wanted to stop this daily grind but didn’t know how to start.  The smell of fresh coffee wafted through the office.  I was hooked.  And I hated the energy dip.  I craved a constant energy flux instead.

So on Monday, I started drinking tea in the morning instead of coffee. “Positive Energy” by Yogi Tea.  It has a nice sound to it and contains less caffeine, so I can start to wean myself.  I also have been on a green smoothie kick.  Yesterday’s smoothie was “Move it” by Kris Carr from Crazy Sexy Juice: Cherries, blueberries, banana, cinnamon, almond butter, almond milk, and spinach.  That was my mid-morning coffee replacer.  And I had green tea in the afternoon.  I felt great.  No energy crash here.

Then today at work the desire for a Keurig coffee was overwhelming.  I brought my favorite Califa almond milk with me and stashed a K-cup in my purse.  And I brewed that sucker.  I used a different Keurig machine than I’m used to, and the coffee was too watery and not as tasty as I would have liked.  So I listened to my body.  Did I really want to drink this?  Now?  I did drink half of it and immediately felt the caffeine course through my veins.  I dumped out the rest because I was craving my smoothie.  I wanted to taste the wholesome thick texture of fruits and greens.

I am compassionate toward myself.  I’m not angry or belittling my slipup back to coffee land.  I know that lasting change is a process.  The first step is always motivation.  Boy, do I want to stop the energy rollercoaster pronto.  Second, I’m gentle with myself.  I know slipups happen.  I know from firsthand.  I didn’t become a vegan and change my dietary preferences overnight.  It was gradual, and having a vegan husband at home to help keep me on track.  Three, I’m paying attention to how I feel.  How does a particular food make me feel?  Does it taste good?  Do I feel lethargic and heavy, or do I feel energized and light?

How will I be a superhero when there are slipups?

I have a plan in mind for when the desire for coffee starts to set in. If I have coffee because I pulled an all-nighter with the kids or I want to enjoy that cup of coffee with my husband, I want it to be 100% decaf.  And at work, luckily I haven’t found a decaf Keurig blend that meets my standards.  I will keep trying new smoothie recipes to have variety in my mid-morning beverage of choice.

I’ll stick with my “Positive Energy” and green tea for now and see what happens.