5 Seconds of Courage

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Pelvic Floor Health Handout
September 12, 2018
reflections
Reflections
September 26, 2018
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I have a confession. Over the past year and half, I fell into a terrible habit of hitting the snooze button more times than I would like to admit. Three to four times became my new norm before I could finally find the courage to get myself up out of bed. And to be honest, what really got me out of bed most days was the fact that I’d let myself lie aimlessly for too long, telling myself, just five more minutes which morphed into 30, and then I’d suddenly realize I only had 30min to get dressed, eat breakfast, and run out the door before my first appointment of the day. I knew this wasn’t a good strategy and yet I felt trapped. No matter how many well-intentioned pep talks I’ve tried to give myself the night before that tomorrow would be different, I couldn’t help but find myself still caught in this same vicious cycle the next morning. It makes me feel embarrassed to admit this. It makes me feel like a fraud as I’ve been trying to project that I’ve got it altogether, especially in the morning, when the reality couldn’t be further from the truth.

I can’t remember when this less than stellar habit exactly started, or where one snooze snowballed into four. It was gradual, but it’s something that I’ve really struggled with and have felt some serious shame around. The shame isn’t just about hitting the snooze, but more so about what hitting the snooze button symbolizes – my struggle sometimes to find the courage to commit to a new day…my lack of not wanting to engage with the world on occasion…my desire to want to stay curled up under the covers, fly under the radar and take the day off…It feels scary to admit these truths out loud, but they are the truth, my truth.

Now, you may be thinking, “this sounds like she may be depressed or have anxiety? Maybe she should see someone about this?” If you’re thinking any or all of those things, I appreciate your concern and agree. You’re exactly right. Yes, I have worked though periods of depression and anxiety. I would be lying if I said those things still don’t come up for me from time to time. The good news is I have been seeing someone for a few years now. My psychologist is wonderful, and through the work I’ve done with her, I feel better equipped to identify where those triggers come from that encourage me to “want to hit the snooze”. However, knowing my triggers is one thing, choosing to respond differently when these feelings rear their ugly heads is the hard part. While I have found comfort in better understanding that my episodes of depression and anxiety are rooted in my own insecurities around self-doubt and fear of not feeling good enough, it still takes courage to respond differently, and not fall into my old habit of snoozing. I have found it to be a daily practice of exercising self-compassion towards myself, which ironically is harder than I ever imagined. The intellectual side of my brain understands these constructs and knows how that critical voice doesn’t serve me, nor is she reliable, and yet the emotional side of my brain still struggles to turn down the volume on that negativity.

So why am I choosing to share this and be vulnerable with you all? How does this relate to Wellness Wednesday? Well, while my stomach is turning inside out as I type this, and while my brain has been continuously second guessing my decision to write this blog altogether, it’s because of those butterflies that I know it’s important to openly share this part of me with all of you. I’m choosing to share this very personal side of me in hopes that my struggles will help to normalize these feelings of “wanting to hit the snooze” if you, too, struggle with depression and/or anxiety. You’re not alone. There are so many stigmas around mental health, which can make it even harder to want to talk about it with others. Heck, it took me six months of seeing my own psychologist before I felt brave enough to tell some of my closest friends that I was seeing someone. I’ve been there. I get it. I’ve found through my own process that the more I’m able to open up about it, the more it gives others a safe space to share their struggles too, and helps me feel less alone as well. We invite deeper connections with each other when we offer to hold space for one another to share these messy details rather than pretending we’re all A-OK all the time. Being vulnerable isn’t a weakness. It takes a tremendous amount of courage to acknowledge we need help and to seek out support. These are the reasons I decided it was important for me to share a very raw, messier side of me publicly for Wellness Wednesday. Many people suffer in silence (I have too, before seeking help) with mental health conditions because they’re not always easy to see, measure, or explain. Our mental health and physical health are so interconnected. We can’t achieve our greatest health and wellness potential without tending to both.

While it’s easier for me to understand that I need to exercise and eat my fruits and veggies regularly to maintain my physical health, the recipe hasn’t felt as straightforward to me when it comes to cultivating my mental health routine. I’m working on this with my psychologist, and just recently started a mindfulness meditation practice each morning. I’m on day eight – the longest uninterrupted streak that I’ve EVER achieved in four years. I’ve tried doing this at least 10 times over the last few years only to quit usually by day three. It’s been incredibly helpful this time around, probably because I’m choosing to be kinder to myself when I find my mind wander, which is often, and probably will be for awhile, but that’s totally ok. I use an app called Insight Timer for guided meditations of 10-15minutes. I’ve been doing this first thing when my alarm goes off, followed by 20min of reading a book for fun while enjoying my cup of coffee. This new morning routine has replaced my three to four snoozes and has helped tremendously! I feel more grounded and calm at the start of my day, and have been surprised to find myself feeling more energized in fact even though I’m making up 45min before I would normally.

Now you may be wondering, so what helped her suddenly shift? How did she cold turkey stop hitting the snooze? That’s a good question. The tool that helped me take that big step to get out of bed and take hold of my morning routine is Mel Robbin’s 5 Second Rule. It’s a very simple rule to help you do the things you know you need to do, but have trouble finding the courage/motivation/bravery to execute. I first found Mel Robbins via her viral TedTalk where she explains “how turning off our brain’s autopilot and demolishing our comfort zones is the key to a rewarding life.” Her talk resonated so much with me that I decided to read her book “The 5 Second Rule.” After finishing her book, I felt inspired to break up with my snooze button, for real this time, and give my morning routine a fighting chance. Did I think her 5 second rule was cheesy when I first heard Mel explain it? Yeah. Did I think it was too easy to work? Yup. Did I decide to give it a try anyway? Yes, and to say it’s been transformative is an understatement. We’re all good at getting in our own way. We’re all good at being our own biggest obstacle, whether we like to admit it or not. I’m still guilty of this at times. However, how we choose to respond in these moments is important. Finding 5 seconds of courage to do that thing we’re afraid to do creates a domino effect of positive change. We can all do something for 5 seconds, right?

 

If this Wellness Wednesday post spoke to you, I’d love to hear from you. I know as soon as I publish this I will have over sharers remorse and wonder, “why did you write that? What are people going to think about me now?” However, I’m going to 5-4-3-2-1 myself right out of that negativity and appreciate the courage it took to share this with you. Thanks so much for listening, xoxo.

 

 

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