The Guilt Cycle and Weekly Workout Round-Up (Nov. 25 – Dec. 1)

It’s a vicious, self-imposed cycle.  I know you’re familiar with it.   There’s something in your life – some task, chore, or even fun activity – that’s best when done regularly.  As long as you stay on top of it, things roll along smoothly.  You don’t mind doing it – and perhaps even find it enjoyable – and attending to it regularly keeps it from becoming too overwhelming:

Managing your RSS reader.
Calling your good friend.
Writing in your journal.

But sometimes life happens, and you start to fall behind.  Then, you fall more behind.  And the task keeps piling up, getting bigger and bigger:

200+ blog posts in your RSS reader…
SOOO much to tell your friend that you’ll have to set aside 2 hours for the conversation…
Three weeks of journaling to “catch up” on…

So you start avoiding it – finding excuses, filling your time with other tasks or projects.  The thought of “catching up” feels so overwhelming.  And just like that, something you love doing has become something you dread.

So what do you do?

You break the Cycle of Guilt.
You let go.
You start fresh.

You “Mark All As Read”.  No one will begrudge you a few missed comments.
You call your friend.  Tell her you only have 20 minutes, but wanted to check in and say hi.
You write down today’s date and let the words flow.

Basically, you be kind to yourself.  You treat yourself the way you would treat a friend.  You STOP letting your regret and your list of “should-haves” drag you down, and you START looking toward the future.  You make a plan.  You forgive yourself.  And then, you move forward.

And no matter how tightly you were holding on to that thing you HAD TO do, I promise you’ll feel better, lighter, and freer once you let it go.

I let myself become a victim of the Cycle of Guilt far too often.  But today, I’m standing up to myself.  I’m making a choice – I’m choosing to excuse myself.  November’s Workout Round-Ups just won’t get written this year. I’m so far behind, the notes in my workout log aren’t even familiar any more.  And although I have the actual workout data recorded, I’ve lost a lot of the funny anecdotes, back-stories, and extra info I like to include to make these posts less boring.  I know that none of you are losing sleep over this, so although the “completeness” freak in me is rebelling, I’m choosing to move on too.

I’m starting fresh in December – so I’ll start with last week, which was mostly November, but also included a tiny bit of December!  [Spoiler: There wasn’t much in the way of working out going on last week…]

Monday: Gift & Food Shopping Marathon with Dad

We have a few family members with “Thanksgiving Birthdays”, so we did some shopping for gifts, then hit up the supermarket for Thanksgiving groceries.  Thankfully, living in Singapore has dramatically raised my tolerance for crowded, busy stores.  Navigating the grocery store on the Monday-before-Thanksgiving felt like a breeze, compared to my weekly shopping routine in Singapore.  [I had no idea that the aisles in US supermarkets were so.freaking.huge!]

Tuesday: Run (5.5 mi)

This day was pretty ugly, and what started as a gentle snow turned into pelting sleet by the halfway mark.  I remembered why a cap with a brim is a good idea, even in the winter – It keeps all that stuff out of your eyes.  The run was *ahem* refreshing, and I felt like I got a bonus microderm abrasion.

Safely sheltered under the porch roof.  In the overexposed background, note the snow/ice on the ground.

Safely sheltered under the porch roof. In the overexposed background, note the snow/ice on the ground.

Wednesday: Cooking

My sister and brother-in-law arrived late on Tuesday night, so I spent Wednesday morning hanging with them and doing some work.  In the afternoon, some dear friends came over and we had a big cooking party.  It’s amazing how quickly the work gets done when 4-6 adults are working in the kitchen!!

Thursday: Eating, Hosting, Partying

Yep.  Besides passing the appetizer plates, pouring wine for guests, and lifting trays of food in and out of the oven, I didn’t do much physical activity.

Ta Da!  Thanksgiving Plate!  Not pictured: Applesauce & Cranberry Sauce, which get eaten AFTER all of the non-fruit food.

Ta Da! Thanksgiving Plate! Not pictured: Applesauce & Cranberry Sauce, which get eaten AFTER all of the non-fruit food.

Friday: Run (7.5 mi)

This is the one that I detailed in yesterday’s Join Me On This Run: Sussex County post.  It’s also when my IT band starting tweaking a little bit, reminding me that stretching is important, even in the USA!

Saturday: Goodbyes and Hellos

My sister and BIL left on Saturday morning, but in the afternoon, we went to pick KMN up from the airport.  He missed Thanksgiving, but coincidentally has business in NYC this week – so he stopped in New Jersey for the last of the leftovers.  Good thing, too – he entered just as everyone’s enthusiasm for turkey and gravy, stuffing, and green beans was waning.  What a champ! 🙂

Sunday: Travel & Cheese

Some food should be eaten, not photographed.  [The flash didn't help.]

Some food should be eaten, not photographed. [The flash didn’t help.]

KMN headed into NYC in the afternoon, and I decided to join him in the city for a day or two.  Although he’ll be busy during the week, he had some free time on Sunday night, and we snuck out for dinner at Amali.  The lighting was insufficient for good pictures, but the meal was amazing.  From the huge chunks of feta mixed with pistachios and grapes, served over chicory all the way to the ricotta donuts served with honey whipped ricotta, the meal was amazing.  And although I am happily married, I was contemplating a proposal to whoever made the divine ball of burrata cheese we enjoyed spread on crispy toast triangles.  I’m tempted to go back to enjoy a whole ball for myself, for lunch…

You don’t need an advanced math degree to calculate this one: 13 miles, just over 2 hours of working out this week (includes three days of stretching, which I don’t usually note in my day-to-day break down).  Obviously, this was a week for friends, family, and eating – not a week for working out.  But that happens once in awhile, and I’m not stressing over it.  This upcoming week will be back to normal (at least, non-gym normal).

In December, I’m looking forward to running, getting back to spin, and setting up my race calendar for the first half of next year.  I dragged my feet on this for awhile, but am now feeling excited about it – a sure sign that it’s time to pull up the race calendar and get out my credit card!!

What task/job/pastime quickly becomes overwhelming for you when you fall a bit behind?  How can/do you break the cycle?

Are there any Cycles of Guilt in your life right now that can/should be broken?  DO IT!  [Yes, like, RIGHT NOW.]  Then tell me about it, if you feel comfortable sharing.

26 thoughts on “The Guilt Cycle and Weekly Workout Round-Up (Nov. 25 – Dec. 1)

  1. Kristen L

    Uuuum, I’m in that same club because I just have not had the time to read all the blog posts lately! I’ll probably be hitting the refresh button sometime next week. I’ve been missing catching up with everyone though!

    Glad you had a wonderful Thanksgiving with the family!

    Reply
    1. Holly @ Run With Holly Post author

      And you’ve been doing a lot of blog-reading on the bus – which makes commenting really hard. I wish there were a platform that made commenting (and following comments) easier from mobile devices. Right now, I use the comparatively “old fashioned” multi-tab approach in Google Chrome…

      Reply
  2. Allison

    I am so bad about marking all as read and just moving on! There is too much real life fun going on. And a full inbox and reader stress me out.

    Glad you have had a great week in the states!

    Reply
    1. Holly @ Run With Holly Post author

      As a compromise, when I’m really behind, sometimes I’ll settle for just reading, rather than reading & commenting. That means I can still catch up with people, but not commenting means that I can speed through posts MUCH faster. [Or, I choose ONE of their recent posts for commenting.]

      Reply
    1. Holly @ Run With Holly Post author

      I agree. People always think about starting ‘fresh’ in January (and maybe that’s what you’re talking about), but I actually think that December is a great time – everyone could use a little bit less on their plates, so why not get a head start?

      And stay tuned – I have a whole comparison post coming up in the next few days! 🙂

      Reply
  3. Char

    The guilt cycle is the only bike I ever get on. I had to do exactly that this week – just let it go. Too much stuff to do and too big a weekend to fit it all into. But a lot of the stuff was only important because I had prioritised it that way and once I’d thought it through (after having my little panic attack), I realised that the only person who thought it was important was me. And you’re right, it’s so liberating to let it go.

    Reply
    1. Holly @ Run With Holly Post author

      Hahaha! As much as I love both indoor and outdoor cycling, this is one cycle that I’d urge you to avoid!! 🙂

      And you’re totally right – I am still amazed at how much anxiety I can have over “letting go”, but then the MINUTE The Thing is “gone”, I feel immediately relieved. Why are we such slow learners sometimes? 🙂

      Reply
  4. Karen@ La Chanson de Ma Vie

    When I go on vacations, I don’t keep up on blogs like I do at home. When I get home, I scan through the reader and check out a few (like if someone I follow ran a big race), but then I mark the rest as “read” and just leave them. If it’s really important, most bloggers bring it up again in the next few posts.

    Looks like a PR week in awesome food!! When I visit my family, it is odd times of the year, so I always have time to get in a couple of runs. Or even better, I plan races near where they live so I taper/recover while I’m there visiting too.

    Reply
    1. Holly @ Run With Holly Post author

      Sounds like you’ve mastered the Letting Go. Want to give the rest of us some lessons? From the response to this post, it sounds like the blog world is full of Holder On-ers!

      I always think that racing/visiting is a double-edged sword. It’s convenient, but I always feel a bit worried about the logistics of race prep, waking up early, waking other people up, causing a nuisance, etc. etc.

      The PR has continued WELL into this week. I can assure you. 🙂

      Reply
  5. Jess

    Great timing with this post!! I’ve been feeling behind and overwhelmed with a lot in my life at the moment. I laughed at the “I didn’t realise how big grocery store aisles in the US were”. When I came back to Australia after 4 months in Asia I couldn’t get over how quiet and empty it was!

    Reply
  6. Sophie @ life's philosophie

    I feel like this post was written for me. I have felt like that SO much over the past month. But, you’re right, I felt better letting go and starting fresh. We all put too much pressure on ourselves!
    And yes, Singapore grocery stores are child’s play compared to the U.S.. I get super distracted here trying to decide which of the 100 cereals I want. In Singapore, you just got what they had. And the carts are so much smaller…

    Reply
    1. Holly @ Run With Holly Post author

      And the BOXES of cereal are so small. Sometimes, if we have extra luggage space, we bring back bags of granola. 🙂

      I always limit myself to a basket in the supermarket, since I have to walk anything/everything back home. One cart is about my “carry limit”!

      Reply
  7. Meagan

    The first part of your post was very deep 🙂 I can get very type-A about my to-do lists and it’s always good to have a reminder that sometimes that stuff on the to-do list isn’t something that has to be done and maybe you should just move on/start fresh. I’m glad you had a good week with your family and snuck in a few runs as well. It’s always fun to run around old stomping grounds.

    Reply
    1. Holly @ Run With Holly Post author

      I mostly keep electronic lists these days, which makes this a bit hard – but when my list got too outdated/full of unimportant stuff, I’d just….rewrite it!! TA DA! Forced reflection/editing. Do you list on paper or electronically?

      Reply
      1. Meagan

        Paper! I make reminders in my phone sometimes, but actual to-do lists get written down with pen and paper. I still use an actual daily calendar, too 🙂

        Reply
  8. Stephanie@nowirun.com

    LOVE this post, Holly. LOVE it. Thank you.
    Yes… I have circles of guilt. Mostly I’m comfortable sharing those that I fight my way out of – bloglovin’ numbers, etc. The others? Those aren’t as easy to talk about.
    I’d like to know what the bean salad/casserole is on your plate (right hand side).

    Reply
    1. Holly @ Run With Holly Post author

      I do like to think about breaking the guilt cycle as “training” though – and think/hope that every time I do it, I get a little better at it! So take those Bloglovin’ lessons, and apply them to the trickier situations. YOU CAN DO THIS!

      1. Steam green beans.
      2. Sautee shallots in butter (if it’s Thanksgiving…otherwise, olive oil will do!)
      3. Toast pine nuts.
      4. Mix green beans, shallots, and pine nuts.
      5. Enjoy! 🙂

      Reply
  9. Grace

    The guilt cycle? You mean that old thing on my bike trainer that I last rode in September with the cobwebs in the wheel spokes? Gee, thanks for reminding me. 🙂

    I am constantly putting off making appointments. Dentist, doctor (routine checkup), haircut…there’s a reason I get my hair cut once a year…

    Reply

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