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Falling Off The Wagon: Routines During Summer

10588619_sWe just got back from a glorious vacation. It wasn’t ten days in the Caribbean or Italy and it was certainly not all relaxation, but it was wonderful and we returned feeling deeply nourished. The trip included about 2,500 miles of driving, some exposure to Midwestern cooking and even a little road food despite our best efforts. All in all it was exactly what we both needed and we returned spiritually and emotionally fed. Now we are home, settled back in to our sticky and humid little town, and we are exhausted. Mostly because we fell off the wagon while we were on vacation.

This week I had a patient come in and tell me that she is feeling great. She is working out a lot, spending lots of great time with her family, eating mostly good food and feeling happy and fulfilled. She then proceeded to apologize to me for not taking her herbs. In the midst of summer she just stopped taking them for a while and gave in to the bliss of July. It was my first day back from my own vacation and glimpses of me sitting around bonfires sipping a beer and eating s’mores sprang to mind. I thought about the banana pancakes, homemade bread and carrot cake that all had passed through my lips in the last two weeks and didn’t feel guilty at all.

My patients take very good care of themselves so much of the time. Part of my responsibility is to remind them when they are healthy enough to slack off a tiny bit. My patient is doing really well. When she started working with me she had almost no spark, no drive to take care of herself. Now she is flourishing. This was my advice to my patient and to you. In New England we are gifted with summer but once a year, enjoy it.

In the midst of December this year you will only regret not having eaten all the blueberries in one sitting and going out and buying more. You will only regret going to bed too early, traveling too little and swimming at the swimming hole too infrequently. Your December heart, which is only six months away, will be very disappointed in you. That being said, you also need to go to work tomorrow and be accountable to your loved ones.

It is fun to break the rules, but before you break the rules, think about what rules you are capable of breaking. In the midst of my very decadent vacation we brought our own organic spelt flour to do all this delicious baking rather than buying cheap white flour when we arrived. I traveled with gluten free cookies and a nerve tonic tea to help me handle my husband’s very extroverted family. And even though I kept forgetting to take my multivitamin each day, I had herbs with us for catching a cold or getting poison ivy packed so that I could take care of those issue when they arose. We did end up catching colds and my husband got stung by a hornet so all herbs were utilized.

One of the biggest lessons to learn is when you are ready to take little breaks. For years a few sips of beer would cause the most horrific nightmares. Losing a night’s worth of sleep wasn’t worth the treat. Now a beer just causes a day of mild bloating and lethargy. I used to be very strict about taking my vitamins and supplements because I was so run down I wouldn’t be able to make it through an entire vacation without them. Now two weeks off vitamins makes it hard to bounce back from the vacation, but I’m at my desk, in the office and teaching classes full time with enthusiasm.

Some of us are at the start of our journey and the constant monitoring and attention to detail is crucial to recovery. Others of us are much further down that road and better skilled at little dalliances here and there. All symptoms are relative and all treats are only as enjoyable as their full experience.

This morning I am back at my desk, writing my blog and nursing a glass of perfect summer green juice: swiss chard and mint hand-picked from the garden this morning, local blueberries, raspberries, and a peach. I am so glad to be home and back in my routine.

Copyright: yanlev / 123RF Stock Photo

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