February has arrived, and… I’m not so motivated by self-care right now, not like I was in the New Year. I’m not exactly off the rails but I just… give less of a shit. Maybe it’s the added pressure of work getting to me? Maybe. Whatever. I’m very ‘chill’ right now. It’s the weekend – I’m dead excited to eat a tub of hummus with my finger and take a nap.
I’m wondering, though, what I can do to keep myself on the straight and narrow. I’m a girl of extremes, you see: either super healthy or super… not. My default setting is “comfort eat whenever the going gets tough, and failing that: wine”. As much as those things are sublime in the moment, they haven’t exactly granted me long-term happiness, much as it pains me to admit it. But as I am at the moment… well… I just cannot be arsed with reprogramming my brain. The chance to take it easy before the onslaught of 2018 events is just all too tempting. #nodramas, right?
To give this post a point though, this week has made me realise – once again – how easy it is for people like me to fall off the ‘New Year New Me’ bandwagon. January is filled with novelty exercise plans and faddy diets, big dreams and subscriptions to bizarre hobby magazines (“next issue costs HOW MUCH?! Oh, I’ll never complete this model-nuclear-war-proof-shelter now!”).
Jan is a time of redemption for all the supposedly sordid binging behaviours that make the holiday season. But as the consumer industry changes gear and readies itself for the plugging of chocolate-and-plonk day (AKA Valentines Day), the cultural message sinks in that, actually, your desire to change your lifestyle for the better is just not that big a deal anymore. They’re over it. After all, no chump’s gonna buy ‘M&S Dine In For a Tenner’ if they’re simultaneously guiltied into eating a single grape a day.
In other words, the industry you relied on for your hit of inspiration and motivation? Well the Man is basically permitting you to “take a chill pill” and enjoy the pleasures of the winter/spring transition, before real, boring old life continues as normal and you remember that the ‘bikini body diet’ is a thing. Well… alright then!
(Side note: they’re already selling Easter eggs. I am not ok with th-OMG Reese’s PEANUT BUTTER CREME EGGS?!)
The trouble is that the it’s not certain the methods of lifestyle changes widely promoted in the first place are actually any good for us, and then you start asking, “well, are we being played by this man-made cycle of self-indulgence, followed by redemption, followed by reward etc? Is this a marketing, nay, cultural ploy to keep all facets of consumerism and capitalism alive and well?” (Oh Patriarchy, you are a rascal).
Oh no. I’ve got a lump in my throat. I think I’m having a… crisis!
But anyway. The answer to those questions are, well, more than likely yes… investigate at your own peril.
So, I talk a lot about cycles and how great cyclic living is. Yeah… this consumer-based cycle isn’t really my jam. Whilst I appreciate that it does take into account the ebbs and flows of human behaviour, I question the fruitfulness of going into the New Year all-guns-blazing, yoga mat in one hand, protein shake in the other (and a weighted hula-hoop resting on your shoulders while you’re at it… no kidding, I saw them on the fitness shelves at TK Maxx!).
Without getting too airy-fairy for you, shouldn’t we take a leaf out of nature’s book? (See what I did there?) Slowly emerging from the coziness of Winter, gradually building up to an energised Spring and successful Summer? Or is it a deliberate move on the consumer industry’s part to startle us when we’re vulnerable? Nope. Will not do this crisis right now!
I guess what I’m trying to say in a long-winded manner is that, if you’re struggling with your diet or exercise plan, the last diet or exercise plan you would ever need because soon enough you would be perfect… well, it’s okay that you’re struggling. I’m struggling too. And while we have to take some responsibility as autonomous beings for our lack of willpower… we have to bear in mind that we are up against a lot of conditioning now.
If you can get through the year with the same level of motivation as you did on the first day of the first month, then I admire you (seriously, who are you?!). But if not, I like to think I have some words of wisdom for you:
If you’re stumbling, or the regime is losing its appeal, then perhaps ask yourself: “can I go on at this pace? Do I see myself maintaining this idea of perfection? What does my body actually need right now? What does happiness actually look like for me?”. A bit of post-body-blitz reflection might serve you well, enabling you to make some long-term, objective, realistic plans that could potentially lead to legit long-term happiness.
If you’ve given up entirely and are downtrodden about it… hey, man. Take a break. You got this. Have a nap and come back swinging for Spring.
If you’ve given up entirely and DGAF… screw the system! Air punch!
My Life Lessons still apply: do what works for me, lose the drama and care for myself. But it would be misleading to suggest that once I recite these messages I will get my shit together. So in that regard, I hereby add a new Life Lesson to my list: [in the voice of Gandalf] FORGIVE YOURSELF, YOU FOOL.
Right, I’m totally over this blog post. See ya.
Peace, love and happy soul-searching x