Tracy's Wellness Journey: The Call to Change
Leaning into every chapter of your story and becoming your best self is not always easy. It often requires a life-changing event to jolt us enough to notice that a change is even necessary. In my case, it was COVID-19.
For the most part, I was running on empty. My work-life balance was non-existent. I started social isolation on March 17. The first two weeks felt more like a vacation. I was in heaven. Planning and cooking meals, piddling around the house, catching up on projects in the office and taking much better care of myself. I could feel the stress just melting away.
As the stay-at-home order went into effect in April, I started to feel a bit anxious. I was restless, confused and at times, I was angry and unproductive. I found myself questioning everything. Life seemed to be continuing for those around me as if nothing had changed in the world. Through this process of dissecting my emotions, it became apparent that I was being called to make some changes. The changes were not clear, but I knew a shift was coming.
Listening to motivational podcasts and videos are part of my morning routine. One day, I stumbled upon a sermon by Pastor Steven Furtick. What is Normal? For a solid week, I listened to that sermon every morning. He referenced how so many people were saying, “I can’t wait for things to get back to normal.” Even to his surprise, people who were previously not satisfied in their jobs or marriages or had feelings of depression just could not wait for life to get back to normal. He then suggested what if what we thought was normal and good was not good for us at all. What if what was on the horizon was a new and better normal?
The question is: what are you being called to change? What adjustments need to be made in your life or routine so that you can experience this new and better normal? I had no idea how to answer that question. From a 30,000-foot view, I began to examine both my personal and professional worlds. toWhat do I like and dislike about each? What activities am I most comfortable in? When am I the most content and happy? What impact do I want to make in the world? Why do I over commit? What changes or shifts do I need to be making to support the life I want to be living?
Newsstands are filled with magazines touting articles such as live your healthiest life, feel strong inside and out, how to thrive when life gets hard, find your energy, and the science of stress, just to name a few. My realization is this: I spend more time trying to prove my value than valuing myself and the things that make me the person that people love and want to be around. Boundaries — pretty much non-existent. I just keep piling things on my plate and continue to burn the candle at both ends.
You might be wondering how I was able to get to this realization? Let me explain. As I pondered the question, what are you being called to change, alcohol continued showing up. It took about two weeks for me to acknowledge and accept that I was being called to analyze my relationship with alcohol and the role it had been playing in my life.
On May 1, I embarked on a 21-Day Alcohol FREE Challenge. It was interesting and eye-opening. It became clear rather quickly that most of our activities and gatherings with friends and family revolved around good food, wine, and cocktails.
Here are just five of the many realizations I had from this exercise.
- Alcohol is everywhere. It is woven into every aspect of day-to-day life. From mimosa’s in the morning to fun and fruity poolside beverages to happy hours, drinks with dinner, after-dinner specialty drinks. Even when it comes to grocery shopping – one day I counted nine alcohol displays throughout the store before getting to the beer and wine aisles.
- When your compelling “WHY” is identified, it becomes much easier to live an alcohol-free lifestyle. It is all about mindset and understanding why you drink in the first place.
- You do not need alcohol to have fun in group settings with your friends and family. However, when you do not drink, it makes other people feel awkward about their drinking and they tend not to associate with you as much.
- Making healthier food choices is harder to do when you are under the influence, or the day after. Alcohol enhances your cravings and it takes seven full days to get it out of your system. Better sleep and clarity are an outcome of not consuming alcohol.
- Alcohol can get you to tolerate a less-than-awesome environment, more than you would without it.
During this challenge, many commented on how good I looked. Of course, they did not know I was doing this challenge, but people noticed something different about me, my skin, my hair, my outlook and vibrance.
I noticed how great it felt and will feel to live a more alcohol-free life.
I want to be the BEST role model that I can be for my grandchildren. I want them to see and experience healthy relationships with appropriate boundaries and learn coping strategies that support and empower them to be their best.