When I get stressed out, I tend to overindulge in one thing or another. Sometimes it’s comfort food, sometimes it’s training, occasionally it’s a little too much wine. And sometimes, I get really into buying skincare and makeup. It is by FAR my worst coping habit (surprise: I am not a wealthy woman), and over the years I’ve come to realize how common this pitfall is. Much like how our processed foods are designed to taste so good you can’t stop eating them, the beauty industry is set up to create a need (omg wrinkles) and then “fix it” with this $80 magic serum that will fix all of your skin problems.
In an effort to curb my overspending, at some point I started following simple living and no-buy forums and content creators online. Seeing other people set monthly goals to not spend money on anything but food, rent, and bills helped me get my priorities straight so I’d stop ordering bulk packages of sheet masks straight from South Korea. I haven’t struggled with this particular habit in a long time, but I still read that content from time to time as a reminder.
What does this have to do with your health and wellness? Inspiration comes in strange ways.
I came across a post from a woman who tried to do a “No-Buy July” and failed (miserably). Today is July 31, and she consoled herself by saying
“Thank God for August, a new month.”
And that right there is the problem. We do it all the time.
“Ate a donut at breakfast, guess I’ll start again tomorrow.”
“Went out Saturday night, may as well call the weekend a wash and start over on Monday.”
“Well, it’s Thanksgiving, and then it’s Christmas, so maybe I’ll just start caring about my health next year.”
We’re always looking for “new beginnings,” an opportunity for a “fresh start,” but we limit our thinking about what the timeline can look like. We always jump to the next day, or the next Monday, or the next month. It doesn’t have to be that way.
(Time is all arbitrary anyway.)
There are times when I’m indulging in one of my other crappy coping habits – excessive comfort eating – where I have a moment of clarity during the process of pouring out more tortilla chips:
I can start over again right now.
Eating half a bag of chips happened, but it doesn’t have to be the whole bag.
My fresh start can be right now.
I have a thing for rituals, so I like to make that “hard stop” feel like something bigger. I’ll put the food away, clean up the kitchen, turn off the screens, take a hot shower, brush my teeth, and do my little skincare routine (most likely – clay mask and then some heavy moisturizing; just because I spend LESS money on skincare doesn’t mean I spend NO money).
I create my own new beginning. It lets me get back on track sooner. It takes away the “last supper” mentality – when we decide that since we made one mistake, we may as well go full hedonist for the rest of the day/weekend/week/month/year. There’s no time for that. Your new opportunity is already here. It’s happening right now. Don’t waste it.
So if you find yourself conscious of being knee-deep in a habit you don’t like, remember that your fresh start can happen whenever you want. At the end of this hour, this minute, or even this very second. You can choose something better for yourself right now.