Making Room for Balance

Cheers to the Weekend

Cheers to the Weekend

This past weekend I had the pleasure of spending some time up at my friends cottage on Georgian Bay with 3 absolutely wonderful like-minded women. The weekend unfolded in the perfect way that only a summer weekend in Ontario cottage country can unfold. Time was measured by the sun in the sky and not by deadlines and meetings. Meals and naps were perfectly unscheduled and all was accompanied with a generous side of laughter, great conversation and of course wine. Life was lived in the moment and all activities focused around fun and relaxation (even cleaning the dishes).

This weekend left me feeling the most mentally refreshed I have in months. To live even two days without a schedule and plans of anything beyond what to make for dinner or what bottle of wine to open next, was a much needed step back from the pace of my current lifestyle.

It was the kind of weekend that has stuck with me even as I write this on Tuesday morning before work. We spent hours on the paddle boat, we slept in, we drank our coffee (slowly) on the veranda. We sat in comfortable silence.

We also indulged. Induldging at the cottage is pretty much something that goes without saying. I don’t think I’m alone when I say that at times I struggle with my relationship with food and allowing for indulgence. For me, indulgence is rarely accompanied without feelings of guilt. A textbook Type “A” I love control and we all know how easy it is to lose sight of control when faced with delicious unhealthy food and bottomless wine.

I vowed to approach this weekend with the right frame of mind. I find if I vow to let go of any guilt before I know I’m going to be indulging, I’m healthier all around- not only with my food choices but with the mental parts of it. I will say this now and I will say it again, it’s all about balance. We live in a world where messages about what to eat are constantly flying at us from ALL directions. It’s important to remember that some indulgence is good for the soul and doesn’t always need to be a complete junk food binge. A lot of blogs I read out there focus on eating one way and one way only and I have fallen down that trap of trying to adhere to strict rules, but this is life! Life doesn’t always have room for rigid rules and diets, and I think that this only perpetuates the relationship between guilt and food. Plus, we can’t forget that food is meant to be enjoyed. It plays such an integral role in regulating our bodies and that certainly doesn’t exclude our moods. Sure, a major binge on junk won’t improve your mood if you’re down and it certainly won’t leave you with a happy tummy, but some treats with friends during a weekend away or a croissant on a Friday is good for the soul. Also, what is a cottage weekend without a piña colada?

Letting go of the guilt made all the difference in my weekend. I didn’t feel the need to overindulge because eating the less unhealthy things I did was a conscious choice I made for myself- not something I tried to deny myself.

Besides vowing to let go of the guilt and allowing myself some treats, there are a few other important things I took with me from this weekend:

-The great feelings and positivity that come with taking more time in the morning. This really allows me to start the day out in the best possible way. I aim to get to work anywhere from 7:30-8:30am so taking loads of extra time in the morning is not always realistic but it’s the little changes that count here. I move downtown next week and could not be more excited yet I am truly going to miss where I live now- the balcony at the front of the house looks out on the lake and it is absolute bliss in the morning. For the past 2 days I have taken a few minutes to sit outside with my coffee and just take it in. Not the same as the hour I spent drinking my cottage cottage, but those few minutes are an instant stress reliever!

-Listening to music for the purpose of listening to music is a powerful thing. At some point this weekend we got the speakers out and turned the music on. It was then that it hit me that it has been so long since I have really taken the time to listen to music. Sure, I listen when I run, or sometimes I put background music on when I try and focus at work but it’s been a while since I’ve blasted some music and just sat there and taken it in. Music has the power to instantly lift my mood and I will be  intentionally listen a lot more from now on.

-Ice Cream has the power to cure the Sundays. Even when the Sundays include a 3 hour drive that normally takes just over an hour. See below for proof that ice cream = happiness.

Bliss

Bliss

A simple tip to keep from overindulging: have healthy snacks around and plan healthy meals. By all means, eat the cottage candy, but making sure there are also healthy snacks around will help you fill up on the good stuff- leaving you satisfied with only small amounts of the not-so-healthy stuff. This will also save you from a belly ache. For us, our Saturday afternoon pig out consisted of the Oh She Glows life affirming nacho dip (I always add a jalapeño for an extra kick), veggies, cheese and hummus (with a side of jujubes). For dinner we made homemade burgers and kept the toppings as healthy as possible (avocado, tomatoes, hummus). These menu items led to fewer marshmallows later on – but don’t get me wrong I still ate plenty!

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