Walkie-talkie games, collecting jelly fish (dead), playing with babies (dolls & humans), bikes, swimming, magic shows, forts, playing school, rolling down sand hills, writing and performing skits, reading (Beverly Cleary, Judy Blume, Ann M Martin, R.L. Stine) and watching TV - these were the things I enjoyed playing/doing as a child.
I found myself wondering what it is that I enjoy as an adult? As a parent? Before I had kids, I had demanding jobs and I worked around the clock. I made time for exercise at the expense of my sleep, and I made time to obsess about food/counting/planning/strategizing. I made time for the occasional night out. To allow myself a night off/out was a big deal because it was a night off of both working/productivity and also my diet. Therefore I had a “Go big or go home!” mentality, to really make it “worth it.”
As a mom who worked outside of the home, I didn’t feel like there was time for hobbies. Um…laundry? Grocery shopping? Taking a shower? I still made time to workout - again at the expense of my sleep. My only “hobby” beyond that was my obsession with dieting/weight loss. I didn’t even read for pleasure during these years.
I now have the luxury/privilege of being a Stay At Home Mom, who can work from home as much or as little as feels comfortable. I also have worked hard to become an intuitive eater and reject the diet mentality. One of the many gifts of Intuitive Eating is that you are given back so much time. Chronic dieters know that dieting and the obsession with food and our bodies, is like having a part-time job. That time can now be spent on much more fulfilling and satisfying activities. And, when you are not constantly restricting/hungry…you have the energy to enjoy these activities!
My kids are getting older and entertain themselves more than they used to when they were really little. I enjoy helping with/supporting/encouraging their various activities, but those are not my activities/hobbies. I’m not a big TV watcher. Aside from family movie nights, or snuggling up with my husband to watch something, it’s not something that I choose to do on my own. If I do sit down to watch TV with him, historically it’s been with wine or an IPA. I prefer doing and/or learning rather than watching.
The way that I started to explore new interests last month was quite by accident. I decided to participate in “Dry January” - a month where you take a break from alcohol. This is something that I’ve done many times before. In years past however, it had more to do with calories and dieting than anything else. I’ve never participated in “Dry January” as an Intuitive Eater.
What did I discover?
The time that I have gained back since giving up dieting and obsessing over food, was multiplied while simultaneously taking a break from alcohol! I pray more, I want to exercise more, I want to read more, I want to sleep more, I want to drink more water and tea. My new favorite drink is cucumber melon sparkling water, with frozen blueberries - yum! I’ve done some de-cluttering/organizing projects. All behaviors that I listed as part of my 2019 self-care intentions. We’ve gone out to eat less, which has saved a lot of money (for new interests below). I made a new recipe. I wish I could say that I’ve developed a love of cooking, but that hasn’t happened. It still mostly feels like a chore on the “to-do” list. I’ve discovered an interest in house plants, essential oils, and pretty items on Etsy. I’ve discovered that I like to have a Lindor chocolate truffle every once in a while. I’ve never been a big fan of chocolate, but these are good and hit the spot! Fruits and vegetables are even more appealing than they already were. I’ve started sending some of my friends postcards to be more intentional about connecting with them. Most importantly, I have increased my connection with my mind and body.
What does this mean going forward?
I want to have an answer when somebody asks me what my hobbies are - beyond exercise, my kid’s activities, TV, and wine/IPA. Those are fine answers/pass times, and can definitely be a source of self-care for many people. For me, I want to keep learning and trying new things. I want to be intentional about discerning habits vs. hobbies.
My plan was to just take the month of January off. Technically, my self-imposed restriction has been lifted. Alcohol just isn’t appealing to me yet. Maybe it will be during a Valentine’s getaway with my husband this month, maybe it will be when we celebrate his birthday next month, maybe it will be during our spring break trip in April. Maybe it won’t. What I do know is that this break has felt good, and has been a very positive experience for me. I will file this experience away, and refer back to it as I make future choices. This is a skill that I learned from Intuitive Eating, and one that has proven to extend itself well in other areas of my life.
Tiffany was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. She lives with her husband, kids, and chocolate lab. Her favorite vacations so far (beyond camping in the family motorhome), have been to Kauai, Key West, New York City, and Sayulita. She looks forward to expanding that list!
A heartfelt thanks to Julie G Photography.