I am noticing my breathing again. Sounds in our beachfront room appear seemingly out of nowhere: waves, birds, wind, voices floating in and out.
I am on vacation, and I feel like I’m checking back in with the world. In my everyday life, habits and schedules seem to rule, and time just clicks by. November, December, January . . . February already!
I have my tools for taking time out on a daily basis, but it is so hard to keep nagging thoughts from interfering! At home, I sit and take a deep breath, and the washing machine stops suddenly, reminding me to switch the laundry. I begin to read a magazine, and my phone lets me know another e-mail just arrived. And then I remember I really should check my voicemail messages.
I’m not saying that relaxation at home is impossible. It is necessary, because I spend a lot of time there. Still it amazes me how much easier and more deeply I relax on vacation. The change of scenery is key: fewer work reminders and less compulsion to stay busy.
It makes sense that when I have trouble unwinding at home, I find it much easier to do so when I leave the house (or work). A change of surroundings really helps! I can consciously focus on the new things around me. A walk outside is the best, because I really enjoy focusing on the natural environment.
Unfortunately, this is not the best time of year for me to enjoy walking outside – it’s cold in Wisconsin! That’s OK though. A trip to the grocery store or the mall works too.
You can use a change of scenery to help break momentum when eating starts to spin out of control. If this is a frequent challenge, try just stopping and leaving your space. I realize this isn’t always possible, but if it is, it can be a powerful tool. Leaving creates a valuable delay, and new surroundings break the momentum.
Once a binging habit starts to play out, eating becomes mindless. What is really needed is a jolt back to present time, a break in the pattern of the habit. This is precisely why a change of scenery helps. Habits play out effortlessly in familiar situations.
Shake it up – get out – and see what happens. It may not work every time, but at least it will put you back in the driver’s seat of your decisions. This is one of the many tools that can help with in-the -moment eating challenges.
In the Moment – Mindful Eating, the phone app I created to help my clients and others bring more mindfulness to eating, is now upgraded (version 1.1.5) and works on all iPhones that are 4s and newer. An Android version is available as well.