Forgiving Yourself After a “Screw Up”

I drank three martinis. And three cups of coffee. And ate a ton of crap.

Ever since I began writing about my health, I’ve felt different about my symptoms when they do rear their ugly head. This blog is about how I’ve healed and the importance of taking care of myself for continued healing. What right do I have to talk to other people about “what works” when I myself find myself in pain and unable to break those few habits that set back my progress?

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I am a self-admitted perfectionist,  which is great and horrible all wrapped into one. In the past I’ve been particularly brutal with myself when it came to my eating and exercising habits, as in it’s perfect or you fail. It’s a stressful, isolating way to live and I would not suggest it.

Now I whole-heartedly support  healthy whole foods, moderate exercise, meditation, self-love and a natural lifestyle. Especially when dealing with chronic pain as I believe this is what our bodies need the most.

But what about martinis? Where does going out with a friend and just letting go fit in? My answer: right between Friday and Sunday. Every. Single. Week. This is huge for me to admit. Do I literally drink martinis every Saturday with my friends? No. But could I if I wanted to? Yes, yes I could. Interstitial cystitis and all.

While I don’t necessarily drink alcohol every week, I do allow myself at least one night a week where I worry less about what I’m putting into my body and just enjoy it. I’ve learned my limits but sometimes I push past them for no other reason but to actually live my life.

Does this mean I’ve failed or screwed up? Honestly it feels that way sometimes. When I wake up and it hurts to move because my bladder is convulsing I wonder “is it really worth it.” Sometimes it’s not but many times it is. I’ve found that more often than not the choices I make do not effect my body nearly as much as I thought they would.

And while this could be due to the fact that I am super anxious about everything related to my health and therefore think the worse (especially at the beginning of my IC journey), I’ve begun to believe it has a lot more to do with how I treat my body the other 90% of the time.

You may have heard the popular 80/20 rule that nutritionists sometimes recommend to clients, especially when it comes to weight loss. They basically propose that 80% of the time you eat healthy nutritious foods, exercise, etc. but the other 20% allows you to be a bit more lax and enjoy some treats.

Unfortunately for those of us with a chronic illness, I believe the percentage may be closer to 90/10 as we get our condition under control. But hey, you still get that 10% to let go and say screw it! And hopefully this percentage increases a bit as things get better.

So the obvious bulk of my 90% includes healthy whole foods (think almonds, sweet potatoes, oatmeal, organic chicken, veggies, fruit, coconut oil, etc – NOT low-fat, sugar-free filled-with-chemicals crap), exercise, water (lots!) and other self-care habits.

However, the teas and supplements I’ve written about before are especially important as I help my body bounce back from the inevitable martini or two. Below, what I’ve found to be the most helpful the day after a screw-up a.k.a “the other 10%.”

  • 1-2 cups of Pau D’Arco and/or detox tea over the course of the day (this is sometimes all I need)
  • Combo of emu oil and tea tree oil to soothe irritated tissue
  • Relaxing with a heating pad for 20-30 minutes, possibly while doing some deep breathing (helps those convulsing muscles!)
  • Possibly some yoga or other form of light exercise.
  • Water. Never underestimate the power of lots and lots of water.

Most importantly, I make sure I take all my supplements and eat a healthy meal. Remembering that one night or one day is not going to set back my progress allows me to jump right back into it and continue with my usual routine.

Be kind to yourself and find balance – your body and your mind will thank you for it!

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