The start of a new week after a big holiday is always a tenuous situation. On one hand four days off of work is very helpful for relaxing and remembering what is important. On the other hand it makes it more difficult to come back to work the following Monday, because even when work is great it is still work. My thoughts are of food and conversation with friends. Making the shift back to work thinking takes time and effort.
The Thanksgiving holiday in the USA is a complicated thing to celebrate. Traditionally most Americans think of Thanksgiving as celebrating when the Native Americans helped the first settlers get through their first winter, and of American Football.
Reflecting on this tradition is conflicting because it celebrates cooperation, but the consequential treatment of the Native Americans by the European settlers makes one question how much cooperation there was. My life is directly descended from these activities so I am a byproduct of them. I am thankful for living in the country and try to understand both the privileges it grants me and the tragedies it created.
When I was younger I rebelled against all of it and thought that by rejecting everything I would absolve myself somehow. As I have aged I recognize that life is utterly and completely complicated. I am far from settled on the matter of how we treated and continue to treat the Native Americans. I cannot change what has happened but I can change how I think, act, and handle situations moving forward.
Thanksgiving is also conflicting because of my own memories of Thanksgivings gone by. As a child it meant either hosting family or travelling to visit family. Some of those memories are good and some are less than good. In almost all cases there was a great food and overconsumption. This year we had friends come over and help us celebrate our first Thanksgiving in our new home. The food was great and I ate way too much.
My solution for bouncing back from vacation is routine. Getting up early and getting some type of workout in is key. First of all this is important for staying healthy and happy but also because it helps to clear the cobwebs of vacation from the mind. Once the blood is flowing its time to focus on the dogs and getting them some breakfast and their exercise.
This morning I got up and did 30 minutes of yoga. At one point in my life yoga was pretty much everything and helped me get through some interesting times. Now it is a tool I have that helps me remember how my body is changing but still the same. Each pose has a benchmark that lets me measure how much I am improving or declining.
The more I practice the more I can check the benchmark and see where things stand. If I am not able to do a pose that I once could I do not feel bad, instead I see it as reason to keep doing more yoga. If I am able to still do a post I am happy but try to remain humble and know that there are other places I can still improve. Yoga also creates a flow by linking poses together in a way that mimics natural movement. This helps me feel confident in my own body, which then extends into everything else.
Having a morning routine is somewhat new to me. For most of my life I have treated the morning with dread. Instead of seeing it as the start to the day, I saw it as the end of sleep. Changing this attitude took over 40 years but when it happened it was more like a light switch: I simply make the decision each morning to get up and out of bed.
Having a routine to follow once I am out of bed also helps me get out of bed. Rather than laying there thinking about what I could do if I got up, I already have a plan and just need to get up and follow it. There is no thinking more than what t-shirt I am going to put on.
While the routine is very important, being flexible with the routine is also important. Sometimes things come up and I cannot get a full workout in. In those cases walking the dogs replaces my workout. I am at least getting up and moving around. Plus walking my dogs is always an adventure.
They smell so many things that I do not and it is fascinating to watch them explore. We have a good amount of wildlife around our home, so there are lots of tracks and scat that I imagine creates a cornucopia of smells.
By the time work comes around I have been up for a few hours, have some type of workout in, have reviewed the days plans with the dogs, and made a nice cup of coffee. My mind may still be in vacation mode a little bit but I have removed a lot of cobwebs and am ready to go.