Last week I had a crazy schedule. I drove back to Nashville from a long weekend visit in Tri-Cities on
Monday with all 3 dogs, which is never a pleasant experience. On Tuesday I had back-to-back job
interviews so mentally I was exhausted. Then I had a friend fly in from Jacksonville on business
Wednesday and Thursday. Unfortunately for my insides, his business wrapped up by noon each day, so
the rest of that time was spent playing hostess around Nashville, where we proceeded to eat and drink
our way through most of Davidson County. By the time he flew out Friday morning, my back and neck
had twisted into a painful corkscrew and in general, I felt like I was dying. I had finally hit my limit and
pushed myself too far. It was time to put myself in time out.
Being out of work this long is not only financially dangerous, but mentally it can really do a number on
people, myself included. I’m a creature of habit who loves routine and when I’ve got nothing but time
on my hands, that’s when the bad habits tend to take place of the good ones. Idle hands are the devil’s
playground, as the old saying goes. Not only was the entire week back in Nashville exhausting, I was
also coming off of that trip back home, where I always go too hard. I obviously don’t keep food or
internet at my house up there, since I spend limited time in it. That results in days on end of going out
to eat and staying out late just to combat the boredom. Plus I am catching up with all my friends who I
now rarely see and it almost always turns into celebration.
Every so often when things start to get crazy, I have to check myself. As a kid you think that the best
thing in the world is to be a grown up with no one telling you what to do. What you didn’t know then, is
that adults need supervision and guidance as much as children. If you’re not good at listening to your
inner voice and the signals your body is sending to your brain, things can quickly get out of hand. If
you’ve been reading this column for a while you might recall about a year and a half ago I took a solid
month off from drinking. Being someone who has always worked in the world of wine and spirits in
some capacity, it’s good to be able to take those breaks because when it starts to seem like you can’t,
you’ve already developed a problem.
Not only has my career kept me in an atmosphere of good times, but being a single female at this stage
in life doesn’t help either. With most people my age being in relationships, many with kids, I’m the
friend who they know is probably free and up for a good time. I’ve got no children, no significant other
and right now I have no job, so I’m the go-to gal for adventure. While I appreciate a busy social
calendar, it sometimes gets too easy to say yes to everyone and never take time for yourself. Next thing
you know, you’ve been out every night for a week straight, your laundry is overflowing, your skin looks
like hell and you’ve not seen the inside of a gym in too long to remember.
It’s during these times I have to pump the brakes and apply some discipline to myself. So this weekend I
put myself in the corner and spent 3 much needed days at home, eating wholesome nutritious food,
abstaining from alcohol, taking hot baths and getting plenty of sleep. I made the mistake of saying yes
to going out Saturday with a girl friend who needed a night out to escape some roommate tension. I
met her at a crowded bar in Franklin at 7:30p and by 8:30 I was running to the car. Physically I could
barely sit up straight, mentally I couldn’t make small talk and I just could not function in that
atmosphere; my body was still hurting far too badly. Thankfully she had another friend there and
understood, but I should have just told her no in the first place. I knew I felt like crap but I didn’t want
to be a bad friend.
It is now Monday evening and after 3 solid days of pampering my body, I felt well enough for a hard
workout. I finally feel like a functioning human again and can get back to some sense of normalcy.
Everyone warns you that as you get older your body just does not bounce back like it used to, and boy,
they weren’t kidding. If you’re a younger reader, enjoy these days of being able to eat and drink what
you want, because you’ll soon miss them. I’m now at the age where my love of spicy food will put me
out of commission for 36 hours at least. Indulging in that 1 extra glass of wine too many days in a row
feels like your whole body went through a windshield. And missing sleep is the absolute worst possible
thing to happen-if I’m running on less than 6 hours for an extended period of time, I may as well be
withdrawing from hard drugs.
No matter your age, do a quick check-in with yourself. How are you feeling, how is your body
responding? If you’re run down, low energy, dragging, your back aching from improper sleep or tension,
your brain foggy from mental overload-take inventory of what factors are affecting your life and get rid
of the toxicity. Like being on an airplane, you can’t help anyone until you help yourself. Do a little self-
care and make your health a priority. We’ve got this one short life to live that we know of. Treat it with
respect. Have your fun, but know when to reel it in.