I fell off the wagon in a big way in the meditation department. I broke my streak and have not meditated in several days.
Progress is never linear: there are always setbacks. I’m certainly used to this phenomenon but it’s also true that it’s easier to keep going with something than it is to start it. Quitting is so, so easy. I’m not going to say that I quit, but rather that I had a pause. The family schedule was in flux and I was hyper focused on other aspects of my life; mainly my work, which has become more than a full-time job in recent weeks.
When Stress Gets in the Way of Stress Reduction
I know that when stress is a factor, which is certainly the case during times when daily schedules are fluid, the commitment to meditation should strengthen, not weaken. Even during times of uncertainty I stick to my workout schedule religiously, but it’s taken me years to cultivate this habit. Deviating causes too much upset and unpredictability with my physical and mental health, and so I will let all kinds of things slide before I skip a workout.
With that as my benchmark, it could mean that it may take me just as long before I can create, and sustain, a habit. The idea of it is depressing, actually. But it’s necessary.
The N is Too Small
There are many different types of meditation, and so far I’ve only looked into only one. British Accent Man wasn’t exactly doing it for me from the beginning, but I kept going with it. Once I made it through the initial two meditation series, I looked at the others that were available. Some of them were as long as 30 days. It sounds silly, but having too many choices, and most of those being significant time commitments, made my brain rebel. I couldn’t bring myself to start a new series of meditations.
I did attend a guided meditation program given by a friend and colleague. During the session, she described a path for my brain to follow and it was easier for me to focus that way. I suppose that means that the sandbox method I was originally trying isn’t for me; I might indeed need some guardrails to start with in order to be more effective.
Knowing When It’s Time to Move On
I unsubscribed from the app I was using. It wasn’t serving me and I gave it a good shot. It’s an important thing to remember: while I don’t advocate quitting or giving up on healthful habits in general, at times it does become clear that moving on is necessary. It’s true for relationships, for medications, for diets, and for jobs. If something is no longer serving you, it’s time to cut your losses and look for a different way. In my experience, leaving the familiar is difficult and fear-inducing but it always leads to something more fulfilling. Every time.
People with IBD must have a stress reduction plan, and it must be firmly ensconced so that when a flare-up hits, there’s a buffer already in place. And so with these ideas in mind, it’s time to recommit to a stress reduction technique and to find another path that’s more rewarding for me. The search is on.