A Space Built For Wellness
75 days ago, we lived in a gorgeous brownstone in Jersey City. 45 days ago, we lived in my parents' beautiful home in New Hampshire. Now, we live somewhere different each day in a 22' foot long room-on-wheels.
Every space I've ever lived in has had its own energy, but the habits we establish in a space also contribute to its energy. That's why it was so important to me to consciously create a positive environment, healthy habits, and thus good energy within our new trailer as we embark upon this journey.
First, we meticulously detailed the outside and completely cleaned and redecorated the inside. Pouring our time, attention and some tender loving care into the space that will house us for the foreseeable future seemed like a good start. Even if our redecoration was a very small scale and low budget effort, it served the purpose of making the Spriglet "ours" and filling it with good vibes.
I have also, since the moment we bought it, been hellbent on creating an environment of wellness inside The Spriglet, and as such, jokingly (#jokenojoke) call our trailer, "The Wellness Bus."
Being that our external environment changes day to day, it is important to be mindful of what comprises our internal environment to make it feel like home to us. I’m taking advantage of this parallel-universe-in-a-bubble experience to facilitate the habits that I want my daughter to witness, since at two-and-a-half years old, she is beginning to emulate whatever I do. Every item we brought into the trailer had to pass through at least one of two filters: did it have positive associations and therefore create positive vibes, and would it facilitate better habits?
An entire drawer in the trailer, aptly named “The Wellness Drawer,” is dedicated to this effort and stocked with yoga accessories (like my block, strap and Soap for Sinners mat cleaner) — the yoga mat itself is in a nearby closet — stretching balls, resistance bands, a tape measure (for periodic checks of waist progress), biking gloves, massage tools and oils, swimming cap and goggles, iPhone jogging sleeve, and more.
Our cabinets are as stocked as the Wellness Drawer. My supplements — a “formula” pulled together through the past year’s experience and health scares — are easy to access, and I even stock a weekly pill box to remove the mental barrier of taking them all out each day. All of the powders and additional supplements we use in our smoothies are there, as are my essential oils — again chosen based on the past year’s events — and a small selection of mindful food items (with much space reserved, of course, for the utensils and tools we need to prepare said food — Nutribullet, coffee grinder, toaster, etc. — which have to be packed away in the cabinets when we are driving).
I won't allow the environment inside our trailer to be a stumbling block to wellness, as it has in most of my past environments. If I think about my most recent homes, each enabled or triggered very different habits.
During the past three and a half years — in both Manhattan and Jersey City — massive stress dictated my habits, and stress eating is the root of my unwell-ness, my core vice and weakness.
While moving to Jersey City relieved a lot of stress from our life in TriBeCa, plenty of anxiety and tension remained and I seemed to carry my bad habits right under the river with me. The combination of balancing new motherhood with stay-at-home work pressures and relationship challenges created the perfect environment for unhealthy habits.
More days than not, I turned to Seamless Delivery service. When I did grocery shop and cook, it was alway organic, healthy and yummy; the problem was getting myself to shop and cook. The more stressed I was, the less I cooked, and the more I created a habit of indulging in the ease of take-out or delivery, the harder it was to resist and change. I just didn't have the energy or will to turn my wellness ship around.
I'm not any better at my parents’ house, where I act totally out of control. It's not out of stress, but more out of extreme comfort and past habits that I associate with being home (even though they don't live in the same house I grew up in). I have a 'free-for-all' trigger that goes off as though I'm a bear eating in preparation for hibernation, and both the association and trigger are hard to break when I’m back in that environment.
We always had dessert growing up, so I always want dessert. Greater-than-acceptable portion sizes are allowed, so I want greater-than-acceptable portion sizes. I even crave the after-school snacks I ate as a child (like Saltine crackers and cheese with a huge glass of orange juice or sugary cereals) though there is no "after school" happening anymore. I seem to bring every bad habit I've ever known out of hiding when I'm in my parents’ home.
However, this overland trip and our well-prepared trailer present a new opportunity, a fresh chance to start anew. Removing ourselves from environments that cause stress, strain and tension was step one. In my opinion, eliminating a source cause is the biggest and most important step in a wellness journey. Properly equipping ourselves to enable better habits was step two. I have set specific intentions for this trip (read those here) so that I’m not operating on autopilot, which is not a productive place for me. The final step is executing on all of the above, which so far on this voyage is going well.
But it’s a process. Some days I feel successful, some days I feel like a failure. However, I’m trying not to assign such tags to each day, and to instead remove the judgements that set me back by inviting negative energy into the picture.
I allow myself to equally enjoy indulgent and conservative days and know that the momentum of positive intention will win out in the long run. This is not a 30, 60 or 90-day challenge; there is no race or pending deadline to fear. This is my life. I'm in control because I care, I love myself, I respect my relationship and I want to be the best me I can for my family.
I power through the moments I want to give up, or alternately step aside to let them pass quietly. Above all I focus on the experience of being in my one and only body, loving it and nourishing it in every way. It's time to be a whole, healthy, present, happy woman again, and I’m ready. Thankfully, the environment in this sweet little Spriglet trailer of ours is all set up to support me.