Weekends are wonderful and terrible for the newly single. They’re wonderful because, of course, you’re free free free and can do whatever you want! They’re terrible because what you want to be doing is spending the weekend with your ex, which is no longer an option. I was feeling especially vulnerable this weekend, and missing him was on the top of my mind. So I decided that the theme of this weekend should be to be kind to myself, and instead of doing chores, I spent my Saturday doing all the things I wanted to do.
First on my list was to check out a farmers market that sets up shop about a mile from my house that I have never been to. Eastern Market is lovely, but the produce isn’t guaranteed to come from farms and the quality isn’t always great. This farmers market, on the other hand, is a FRESHFARM market so produce is guaranteed to come from farms and you can find on their website where the vendors are coming from. I grew up in the woods in a very small town in Upstate New York, so farm fresh and homegrown produce is something I really miss. Unfortunately, I did not find what I was looking for at the market (butternut squash, concord grapes and cheap apples) but it was lovely and I will definitely be going back on day where I feel like being more creative with my cooking and eating. The vegetables were beautiful; I just wasn’t in the mood for them.
Next, I headed to Rock Creek Park, a gorgeous plot of forest in the middle of DC, to walk my favorite loop. As a DC resident, I am incredibly thankful for this park. Unlike some other city parks, like Central Park in New York, Rock Creek is a legit forest in the city, which is pretty incredible. It was an absolutely perfect fall day – bright, sunny and warm with nice little breeze, and I got to check out all the fallen nuts from trees that we don’t have up north. (I’m a nature nerd, in case you forgot). As I took a break next to a creek, I even tried to use my in-progress meditation skills, but I found I kept getting distracted. Meditation is definitely not something that will come easy to me. I find it incredibly hard to sit still, let alone sit still and concentrate on clearing my mind and feeling the energy. My body does not want to sit still, and my brain has a hard time shutting up. It’s harder than you would think.
Another session of hot yoga was also on the agenda. I was feeling really upset about Rich, and unfortunately, while I had a lovely time exercising in the fresh air and sunshine, it was not enough to calm me down as much as I needed. Yoga helped. Although you are in this super hot, muggy room, sweating all over the place, trying to bend your body in ways it does not necessarily want to bend, hot yoga is surprisingly relaxing. You’re forced to leave your phone behind and focus on yourself. Just about every posture has you looking at yourself in the mirror, focusing so you can hold your poses. When I found my mind slipping to the breakup and getting upset, I would refocus by looking myself in the eyes in the mirror and saying “You’re going to be okay.” It’s not a perfect system, but helped me get through the class and I think sometimes I just need the reminder, even if it is coming from my own inner voice, that I am going to be okay. Side note, now that I have been to yoga a few times, I am finding that it really does make me feel good! It’s 90 minutes long, which sounds like a lot for a workout class, but it goes by quickly and I always leave feeling rejuvenated. I would really recommend it for anyone going through a stressful time. Not only are you exercising and doing right by your body, but you’re forced to bring your mind and stress level back to zero.
My yoga studio happens to be right next to a pretty nice grocery store, and one of my big complaints with the convenient grocery store near my house is that the produce is not the best. I am a huge fruit fanatic, so I thought if I was being kind to myself, I would treat myself. It’s such a silly thing, but fresh fruit is so expensive and spending the money on it was just another way to make myself feel better. I always try to lead a healthy life, but I think in times of mental stress it’s even more important. I could barely get my groceries to the car. I filled up on bananas, concord grapes (which I had been looking all over for!), apples, kiwis, blueberries and oranges. I bought enough apples so that I could eat some and also make an apple crisp today. My mom has always baked a lot, and she taught my brothers and I at an early age. I find baking to be really comforting, and it reminds me of home. If I can’t be there with my family, I can at least bring a little bit of home to myself.
As day turned into night, I did what any newly single thirty-something would do: put on a cute outfit and went out on the town with my girlfriends. I’m not a big drinker (College Audrey would be shocked), but every now and then I have to get out of my own head and remind myself that there is fun to be had and other men out there waiting to be met (even if I didn’t meet them last night). Looking good and feeling good (physically, at least) and showing it off was something I very much needed after feeling so rejected the past few weeks. I may have been crying right before I got ready, but a little bit of wine with my friends will go a long way when I need cheering up, even if it is only a temporary solution. Here’s to many more days and nights of being kind to myself, and hoping that my heart is healed a little more everyday.
Now I will pose a question to you, dear readers. How do you cope in times of stress?