Self-care on the run

Eating healthily is nice and easy when you’re at home all day, but what happens when you’re on the run and can’t predict every possibility?

CHASING THE BUS

This past week I went to an international conference in Yerushalayim for childbirth professionals. These conferences are always a great opportunity to learn new information and meet new colleagues, and this time was no different.

I left my house at 7:00am to catch the bus to Yerushalayim, and planned to return home on the 8:00pm bus.

That’s a looot of hours outside the house for me.

Normally, I spend most of my day at home and pop out for a couple of hours here and there. So, 13 hours outside my home required a lot of planning in the food department.

Here’s what I planned for food for the day. I packed up:
a bag of pancakes
a container of peanut-butter-and-yogurt with diced apple
a sliced cucumber
a 750ml bottle of water

I figured that would be enough food to hold me over until lunchtime, and it was. They served us a beautifully catered lunch, and I filled up my plate. I ate about 3/4 of what I put on my plate, and then felt full, so I stopped. They had fruit for dessert so I picked an orange and put it in my bag for later, which served me well an hour later.

I noticed my hunger again towards the end of the conference, around 5:00pm. At that point I felt I would be fine going without food for roughly another hour, but not much beyond that. I was conflicted because there was a rare opportunity to join a Q&A session with the presenter from 6pm-8pm.

I had to make a decision. Was it more important for me to join in for the Q&A session or to get something to eat? How much would I be able to gain from the session if my stomach was rumbling with hunger?

I made the decision that I was better off heading home and getting myself something to eat on the way, and not staying for the conference where I would inevitably get hungrier, more tired, and probably get a headache from hunger.

By the time I left the conference hall there was a slight possibility of me making the 6:10pm bus, and that it was more likely I would miss it and take the 7:00pm bus, leaving me plenty of time to buy some food.

I figured I might as well give the 6:10 bus a shot, and have fun in the process. Here’s what happened.

I got to the corner near the bus station at 6:02pm. I waited for the red light to turn green, and then I walked quickly down the street in the direction of the station. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a bagel store without any customers in line, and so I jumped in to order some food at 6:03. I had paid, washed, had the food in my hand, and taken a bite by 6:07.

Tick, tock.

I raced down the street, darting between people, and saw the entrance to the station. The security guard barely glanced at me (I guess I looked safe?) while I ran in the building and up the stairs. I swam through the sea of passengers waiting for their buses until I finally reached the last platform to catch the bus back to Karmiel.

The door to exit the platform to the bus was closed and there were people standing in line on the platform, so I thought the bus was full and I was going to have to wait for the next one. I peeked outside and saw the 968 with its doors open and lots of available seats! I stumbled onto the bus at 6:09:30pm, just before the bus driver closed the doors and drove off.

Whew!

I slid into one of the empty seats and took a moment to catch my breath.

And then, with a calm mind and lots of time on my hands, I started to eat my bagel, slowly, one bite at a time. I finished about half of it, checked in with myself to see if I wanted more. I did, so I continued eating the rest of the bagel. I checked in with myself again and found myself comfortably full…which was a good thing, because I didn’t have anymore food on me!

All in all, I was happy with my decision not to stay for the Q&A. I was able to feed myself in a timely fashion so that I honored my hunger, which prevented overeating later. I wasn’t stressed about food and eating because I took the opportunity to take care of myself first and foremost. I might have gained some extra knowledge from the Q&A session, but this way I ended off my day physically and emotionally balanced. I got home, ate a normal dinner, and went to sleep at a normal time.

How do you prepare for food when you’re away from a kitchen for many hours? Do you often find yourself in a conflict about self-care and other opportunities? Comment below.

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