If you saw my past post, Leaning into Fear, you know that I have been working on my anxiety. It wasn't an easy process, but I'm finally at a place where I rarely have anxiety attacks. That doesn't mean that my anxiety is gone for good, far from it. It just means that when those anxious thoughts creep into my head, I know how to handle them.
In my past anxiety blogs, I talked about the steps I take when I feel anxiety starting to set in. I had so many messages from people who struggle with anxiety, so I wanted to write another piece about the things I do to make me feel better when I'm feeling anxious.
These may not work for everyone, but I thought they would be worth sharing because it might help you think of some ideas.
1.) Watching your favorite show
This is a big one for me! I usually turn something lighthearted on that I know will make me laugh. Examples being, Friends, The Office or Parks and Recreation. I always find that doing this helps me stop focusing on the things I'm feeling anxious about. My anxiety is around death, so when I'm watching a funny show it really helps clear my head from those thoughts.
2.) Working out
This one used to seem impossible for me, but I've done a much better job of getting myself moving when I'm feeling anxious. I've been running recently and I find it's a great way to clear my head. I usually start off my run feeling anxious, but as I keep running my head starts to clear, and I start to allow other thoughts to come in. Sometimes no thoughts come in at all which is great! This one can be tough getting out the door, but I always remind myself how much better I will feel when I get home.
3.) Take a nap
When anxiety kicks in, it really can be debilitating. So much so that you start feeling exhausted and overwhelmed. When I start feeling overwhelmed and exhausted, I try to take a nap. Even if it's just 15 minutes, I will just close my eyes and let me head rest. I always wake up from my nap feeling better.
4.) Talk to someone
A few years ago, I would've never considered talking to someone. Not that there was anything wrong with that, but I always thought to myself, well I can figure it out on my own. Since I've started therapy, I've really learned that talking to someone is incredibly beneficial and it can be very powerful. Whether I'm talking about anxiety, or just what's going on in my life, I find it can be very therapeutic. You don't need to go to a therapist, you can find a coach (hi there!) or even just find a friend. You can't let that anxiety fester so try talking it out with someone.
These are just a few of my go-tos when I'm feeling anxious. Hopefully they help spark some ideas! And as always if you ever need someone to talk to, you know where to find me.
Next up on my interview is a friend of mine, Joanne (gofitjo). I met Jo over a year ago and immediately was drawn to her I got this mentality. I remember being at Wanderlust with Jo, asking her questions about how she got into her fitness journey. She was totally open and told me the story (you can find in the interview below), which really made me feel more connected to her. We had only met a few times, but I loved that she just laid it all out there. If you follow her on Instagram, you know that Jo is honest and open about the shit she is experiencing. (I've shed a few tears during her Instagram stories!)
I'm so grateful she said yes to being part of my influencer blog series and am so excited to share her interview.
Can you tell us the story of Jo. How has your relationship with your body and with yourself evolved?
The story of Jo can be a long one so I’ll try to keep it short and sweet! I became a mother at 21, which alongside with all the other challenges that motherhood and parenting have, comes the challenges of facing your body changing due to your pregnancy. I was like most women who undergo their first pregnancy. I rubbed all the creams and oils to try to keep my skin elastic through the changes of my body while my first was growing within me. My sister and mother didn’t have stretch marks so I thought I’d probably have the same luck. I remember the first time I saw them, I was in my final weeks of my pregnancy and I saw them after coming out of the shower. “SHIT!” I thought to myself, “I’ve got stretch marks!” My body didn’t concern me in the first year of being a new mom. I was more concerned about keeping my baby alive and making sure I had enough sleep as well as building my clientele as a new hairstylist. But as the years passed I realized my body wasn’t changing. To some degree I felt as if this young youthful body I was supposed to have in my 20s was taken from me because of early motherhood. Don’t get me wrong I’m so grateful for my kids, but having a child at 21 was definitely not in my plans. We made it work and our life is amazing because of it.
My husband and I got married and had our 2nd daughter. Life was grand, I “had it all”. A new career, a home over our head, a new dog, a husband, and two wonderful kids. However I was living in and out of depression for 18 months not understanding why. Until one day my eldest daughter and I were getting ready in her room and she said to me, “Mom, you’re so beautiful.” I quickly answered the same way girlfriends would talk to each other in a dressing room trying on clothes, “No I’m not. I’m ugly and fat.” The look on her face is one I’ll never forget. She turned and left the room. I had robbed every ounce of truth that she knew of this woman that in her eyes was a queen. It was that moment that I had realized I wasn’t happy with the person I was becoming. I was consumed with work, our photography business, and raising a family that I had forgotten to take care of myself, my mental and physical health, and quickly became out of shape. I wasn’t terribly overweight, but I was so out of shape that I couldn’t run after Olivia at the park who was two and a half at the time.
The relationship I have with my body is constantly evolving and growing. When I first started my fitness journey I said to myself that I wanted to become the healthiest version of me in my 30s both mind and body. This was the first time I had committed to a fitness goal that wasn’t defined by a number. In the past I would make goals around events like a vacation, my wedding, or to simply lose the 15lbs post baby weight. Those never seemed to work long term for me because I’d always find myself back and square one minus a few steps. I dedicated a lot of time and energy into my fitness journey the first 12 weeks. I was exhausted but so happy and thrilled that I was finally seeing and feeling results. I felt strong and I felt the best I had felt in a long time. I then went on to compete in several body building competitions because I thought to myself, “If I was able to do accomplish a goal I never thought I could, what would happen if I dedicated more energy into it, where could I go then?” This was pretty crazy for me because what it meant was me being judged by my aesthetics and physique on stage amongst other women while being tanned, glazed, and in an itty bitty bikini. Bikinis since I was 21 was a HARD NO for me because of the stretch marks. But something deep inside me wanted to see if I could overcome the fear and judgement I placed on myself.
In the past 4 years I’ve seen my body go through so many changes. From being heavy and overweight to being 14% body fat and leaner than I’ve been in my entire life. I’ve had to overcome recovery from surgery, shoulder injuries from work and stress, and learning how to break away from exercise addiction. In each stage I’ve had to learn to love my body in that present moment whether I was at my best aesthetically or feeling like I was in a major setback. Finding joy in each part has been the biggest learning lesson.
Could you talk about your stretch marks on your stomach? How did you start to embrace them?
For over 11 years I hated looking at them. Even during my fitness journey I thought to myself, “I’m working so hard in the gym, focusing on my nutrition as much as I can, and I’m still never going to look like some of these BBG moms who have perfect #morningabs.” Even during my competition training my abs were never as defined as others. My youngest daughter Olivia is the curious one. She speaks her mind, her feelings, and just wants to know everything in the world! It’s really quite incredible to be around her. One day as I was getting ready in my bathroom she came up to me and asked “Mommy, what are these marks?” referring to my stretch marks. I replied, “I got them from you and your sister, I call them my strength marks.” She replied, “Will they ever go away?”. I said, “No, baby they wont. They are my reminder to keep going for you and your sister. To never give up on my dreams because you’re watching.” That was when I finally embraced them. As the words came out of my mouth that day, I felt healing beginning to happen in my heart.
In life, we are surrounded by messages from the media and diet culture that we aren’t good enough. How do you navigate your way through those negative messages yourself? Does this impact how you parent?
To be honest, this one is a tough one. Trying to shut out the noise from media and diet culture can be super difficult especially as its shoved in our faces left and right through social media and traditional media outlets. I do feel that the message of body positivity, self love, self acceptance, and beauty standards are changing. You see so many of this movement happening online, in magazines, and even in major apparel brands. It’s such an amazing sight to see. However there are still moments where I don’t feel like I’m enough. They are few and far between but it does happen. When I’m going through something like that I face it head on. I ask myself why am I feeling this in the first place and almost go down a quick checklist of things to ask myself.
How do you combat negative self talk these days?
I try to shut it down as quickly as I can, but most important I refer to 5 self affirmations I wrote earlier this year when I need to lift my self up. In addition to trying to shut it down as quickly as I can, I pull back and do some self-distancing especially from what’s causing it in the first place.
What do you do for self-love?
Almost everything I do is a form of self love to a certain degree. The moment I became a mom I realized that my life was no longer fully mine. I had to share it with others who needed me most, but as I mentioned in earlier I never valued caring for myself until several years ago. I see forms of self love in how I put myself personal needs first. Training, eating whole nutritious foods, journaling, taking a bath, complimenting myself, and spending time with the people I cherish are all forms of self love for me. I always say, if it does not serve your purpose or give you joy it has no place in your daily life. This is a hard practice because I know we as humans want connection and to create a loving space for every single person, experience, or thing that come along our way, but the truth is until we figure out what we need to provide us joy, we can’t take other things in. Other things I do for self-love is daily journaling of my intentions for the day and the things I’m grateful for. I never realized the importance of this until recently. It’s been so nourishing and vital to my mental health.
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned about how you feel about your body that you would want to share with your daughters?
I would want them to know that fitness is not about the perfect body. It’s about overcoming insecurities, gaining confidence, and inner strength to face our biggest fears. I’d like them to know that their bodies will under go change at every season, learn to love it and learn to befriend it. We are the only ones who can push ourselves to better our lives, other people can be inspirations, but that’s about as much as they can be. Within us is the power to make a change in our lives. YOU GOT THIS!
If you don't follow Jo, go check her out at gofitjo. Thanks so much for being part of this series Jo! Always appreciate your love and support!
Next up on my blog is Michelle (mindsetforlifeltd) I found Michelle through Dana, (dothehotpants) and I'm so happy I found her. Michelle's Instagram spoke to me personally because of her campaign Scarred Not Scared. Michelle has had 15 surgeries, and has scars all over her body. This obviously spoke to me because of the scars on my arm, neck and leg. Her campaign is powerful and she's always sharing the amazing people who are part of it. Michelle talks about her campaign, why she started it and more on body positivity in the interview below.
We all have an inner critical voice – what do you do to pick yourself up when you’re feeling down on yourself?
I try to poke holes in whatever my inner voice has said. How I dealt with my inner voice for years has changed over time. I used to say what I was thinking out loud because then you realize how stupid you sound and a lot of the things you’re saying are things that aren't true. In your head, if you’re thinking no one likes you, and you say those words out loud, you can see that’s not true and it’s exaggerated. I don’t know about your inner voice but mine over exaggerates and over emphasizes the negative in everything. So when I say it out loud, I’m like, ok let's go back to reality. One person doesn’t like me in this moment and it doesn't mean that everyone doesn’t like me. So I just break it down by fact checking it with the reality of the situation. For example, there was a point in my life I thought I was an awful writer, which was very much taught to me from school. You would think it ends in school, but it doesn't because now I am a writer and I write everyday on my Instagram. Occasionally when a spelling or grammar mistake comes out, it's really easy to jump back to to that old place and think I’m an awful writer. In that moment I will go back to times when people have specifically complimented me on my writing or the number of times that people have told me my writing has inspired them. I fact check it and prove that what I’m thinking is not right; it’s just one spelling mistake or one grammar mistake and it’s not the end of the world. That’s how I work around it.
The thing that I’ve found that combats the inner voice the most is meditation and just taking the time to breathe and just calm down. I think when I personally get over stressed, I do jump to that place where I over exaggerate everything. When I breathe and take a moment I’m more realistic.
We’re constantly surrounded by messages from the media and our diet culture that we aren’t good enough. How do you navigate your way through these negative messages?
I think it starts with internal work; it starts with your own self-love and self-care. Once you’ve established a basic learning of self-love and self-care, those messages aren’t influencing you as much and don’t have an impact on your day as much as they used to. Obviously it's still frustrating as hell that they’re being thrown in everyone’s faces, especially children. We are teaching children at such a young age all of these messages. I believe that what’s more powerful for children than the messages they’re getting around them is the messages they’re getting at home. If parents work on self-love and self-care, it will help their children not internalize those messages. You can even have conversations around that, saying this might be what you’re seeing but that doesn’t mean it’s true. The reason that you're seeing that is because the company is profiting off of it. Give them the reasons why those adverts are there because children are getting smarter and smarter younger and younger thanks to things like the internet and social media. I think it’s a shame that parents sometimes don't have these conversations with their kids because they don’t think they will understand.
I was actually going back and reading my childhood diaries on my YouTube the other day. Going back to my diaries, even without the internet at 8 years old, I was already getting these messages. I had written a diary entry that said I just went to the gym and lost 7 pounds I’m so happy! I don’t know how the hell I stepped on a scale and weighed myself 7 pounds different before and after but I had already learned that at 8 years old. So it makes you think, what are children learning now, and they’re definitely learning it a lot younger than when I was learning it.
Could you talk about your scars?
I’ve had 15 surgeries. I have scars on my head , my chest, my stomach, on my ankles, all over my body. It’s why I started my campaign Scarred Not Scared. All my scars are hidden; you wouldn’t see them or notice them in day to day life. I went out of my way to hide them. When it came to bikinis those were off limits.
I reached a point where I had to take my top off in front of a boy - the first guy I wanted to take my top off in front of and I got really nervous. I didn’t know how to explain it because I had never had this conversation before. I had never spoken about my scars to a single person ever. My friends that saw my scars would stare at it but them but we would never talk about it. So I was 18 year old trying to figure out how the hell do I tell anyone about my scars. I was about to go to university where no one knew my story. Everyone at school knew my story because I had my operations while at school, and now I would have to explain to a bunch of new people what happened. So I started Googling, how to tell your boyfriend about your scar. Nothing came up! I was so alarmed by that because this was 8 years ago, the internet was fully fledged, yet you couldn’t find advice on it.
I really struggled through university but then, when I became a Life Coach, I was talking to one of my friends about it who said, you want to be a body confidence coach, but you won’t be able to help someone who's struggling with wearing a bikini because you have never worn one. So I made it my decision that summer to wear a bikini for the first time and that’s how Scarred Not Scared started.
Suddenly I started getting all of these stories of people sharing their scar stories with me. I guess I hadn’t quite realized how abnormal my medical history or stomach was until I went viral for it. It was then I realized that apparently my scars do look like a smile! I had no clue because I had never starred in the mirror long enough to notice. It was all of these things and people were like wow that's really unusual you went through all these surgeries. Just because it was my life, I didn’t think it was that abnormal; this was my normal. That’s when I knew we needed to start talking about it.
For all these years I hid it and lived in shame not wanting to talk about it because I didn’t want to draw more attention to them. I felt like it was wrong to be me and that it needed to be fixed or changed. So I wanted to create a community where we could talk about scars and not just scars but the surgeries or accidents that lead to them. I think it’s something very special about my campaign and the stories behind them. I believe body positivity is more than being about your body. Each story that I get is so much more impactful than whatever it could look like. And that to me always matters more than what you look like.
Are there any challenges with being influential on Instagram? Is there any negative self talk that stems from being influential and having lots of followers?
I have had the privilege of not having that many trolls. I’ve grown slower than a lot of the body positive Instagram accounts so I have had time to get used to it and not be thrown into the spotlight instantly. It is something that has been more positive for me, it’s never had a negative impact on my mental health. If it did I would really question if I would do it or not.
What I do feel is that as I’ve grown and hit the 25,000 mark, I feel more pressure to stick to the easier conversations and not the more controversial ones. I find it harder now to have those conversations without having to defend myself constantly. I did a post the other day about if my rise and growth of followers had lead to me losing my voice, then it wouldn’t have been worth it. I’m going to keep talking about what I want to talk about and you’re free to stick around if you want. I’m still going to have these conversations even if they are controversial.
What’s your favorite thing to do to show yourself some self-love?
My way of showing self-love is very much to do with my interval voice. I think there's this thing on social media where self-love has been equated to manicures and baths and to me that isn’t self-love. I will take a bath to just take time out of my life, but the self-love aspect of that will be what I’m saying, doing or thinking in the bath. I will take time to just get away from my hectic lifestyle. You can do this anywhere. I did this today by going to the gym. In that time I was at the gym, I spent that hour thinking about how I want to feel and where I want to be in my life. That means I focus on the now and also on the future, rather than focusing on the past which to me has always been my natural tendency, to just pick apart the things that I have done wrong in the past. Self-love and self-care to me is literally the smallest things, whether it be taking your medication if you need it or taking yourself out of the house. It can be really simple and basic, you don't need to buy nail polish in order to do it! It’s accessible to everyone and even just saying nice inside your head is self-love to me.
What’s the most valuable thing you’ve learned about how you feel about your body that you want to share with others?
I would say to start somewhere because it’s going to be a long complex journey. Even just believing it’s possible to get to a place where you’re loving your body is a controversial belief to have. We get brought up a world where insecurity is almost expected. To be even open to the idea of loving and accepting your body exactly as it is now is controversial. So just open yourself up to that idea and that possibility and see where it takes you. Start getting curious about it. I think curiosity is the most beautiful characteristics about being a human. Getting curious about body positivity can lead you to an amazing place and really get you started on a journey to self-love and self acceptance. I’ve never found anyone that’s found body positivity and gone ugh I hate this, because the community is so loving and so supportive. We've been seeing this a lot recently with newbies joining the conversation, and they’re all so overwhelmed by how nice and loving everyone is. The number of comments I get now that they say I didn’t know the internet could be this nice. I’m like well the other internet to just people, it just depends what kind of people you find!
If you don't follow Michelle, go follow her at mindsetforlifeltd! You can also find out more about her on her site which you can find here.
Thanks so much for being part of this series Michelle!
Everything in life is an opportunity, even when it doesn’t seem like it. I learned this phrase the other week and it really made my ears perk up. What an unusual concept right? How can everything be an opportunity? Especially when shitty things happen in life? How on earth can that be an opportunity?
Shockingly it can, it’s just all about how you reframe your thoughts.
Reframing is concept that I absolutely love. We can reframe our thoughts to look at situations in a different light. Let’s say someone stole my purse. I would instantly have a negative thought on this situation because my purse is gone which was maybe carrying my phone and wallet. Now I have to cancel all of my cards and buy a new phone – there goes a couple hundred dollars! Now let’s try reframing that. Yea I got mugged and that’s shitty, but at least I’m safe and alive! All of those things that got stolen are replaceable. You can buy a new purse, you can order new credit cards and you can buy a new phone. After this reframe, I can turn this crappy situation into an opportunity in many ways. I can use this experience as an opportunity to enroll myself in self-defense classes. Or maybe I can use it to get more involved and talk to high school and colleges about how women can protect themselves. Or maybe I can think of a way to volunteer my time to make myself feel more empowered after this shitty situation. Be creative!
Or let’s say you can’t stand your boss. Take that thought and reframe it. Yea my boss may drive me crazy, but this is an opportunity for me to test my patience and how I handle difficult situations. How’s that for an opportunity huh!?
Reframing situations can turn almost anything into an opportunity. So when crappy things happen to you, remember that everything is an opportunity. It may be hard to see in that moment, but it’s important that we don’t let crappy things beat us down. Go ahead and take your time to be upset about something shitty when it happens. That’s 100% normal and it’s something that we all need to do. But don’t let things fester. Whether it’s something small and simple, to huge and drastic, dwelling on stuff is not good. Those negative thoughts will just fester in your head. Have you every noticed when one shitty thing happens that a lot of negative stuff happens at the same time? Negativity attracts to us when we have a negative outlook. But if we can reframe our train of thought, we can get past shitty situations and move forward.
I want to be clear, I’m not saying that we can’t be upset about things that happen – that is NOT the point I’m trying to make. We should always feel the emotions we need to feel. Do you ever feel like you just need a good cry? I do. Instead of holding in my tears I go ahead and just cry. And after that cry, I feel 10 times better. I needed to feel that emotion in that moment. After that moment passes, that’s where I usually reframe my thoughts. It can be as simple as, today was crappy and I didn’t feel good, but tomorrow is a new day for me. That reframe helps me get out of my head and into a better place.
So next time something crappy happens, try reframing your thought and turn that situation into an opportunity.
I briefly discussed intuitive eating in my past blog, Intuitive Self-Care, but today I want to take a closer look and address common questions and concerns people have about eating intuitively.
What is intuitive eating?
Intuitive eating is the practice of listening to your body and letting it guide you in choosing what, when and how much to eat. It’s about learning to listen to your body’s signals to tell you what your body needs and trusting yourself to make the right decisions that will nourish your body. When you intuitively eat, you get rid of external messages that tell you that certain foods are “good” or “bad” and instead you ask yourself what your body needs in that moment. You then do your best to feed your body what it’s asking for, regardless of what it’s labeled by others. When you eat intuitively, it enhances your eating experience; you appreciate the smell, texture, and taste of your food rather than focusing on if it’s healthy or unhealthy. Noticing how you feel after you eat certain foods it’s also a great way to connect with your body. You start to develop a more balanced and healthy relationship with food, where you learn to eat food in moderation and let go of bingeing and deprivation.
How will I know if I’m hungry or full?
It’s also important to remember that everyone is different; you have to learn your own body’s cues for hunger and fullness. For some, hunger can mean your stomach may grumble. Some people get headaches or feel weak or dizzy. Sometimes you may even get hangry (hungry + angry). Fullness can mean you have a heaviness in your stomach. The food you are eating may start to lose its flavor. It’s possible you may have a hard time recognizing these signs and that’s 100% normal! We’ve gotten into the habit of suppressing our body’s signals. To help fight this, it may be a good idea to eat on a regular schedule, about every three to four hours until your hunger is recovered.
What if I overeat or don’t eat enough?
No one said intuitive eating is easy. In fact, it’s not easy at all! It’s a continual learning experience and isn’t something that just happens overnight. Every day is a learning experience for me, sometimes I overeat but instead of beating myself up about it, I learn from that experience and move on. You can use those learning times to become more aware of what your body needs. How do you want to feel when you’re done eating? How do certain types of foods in different amounts make you feel? When we understand how we feel about these important questions, we develop the ability to make more balanced food choices more easily in the future. Beating yourself up for making a mistake will hurt you, not help you. That guilt doesn’t allow you to learn from the experience and it will be easier to repeat that perceived “mistake” in the future. This may sound impossible but it does get easier. Over time you will start to discover what foods make you feel good and which ones make you feel bad. You’ll learn how much food leaves you feeling nourish and satisfied. It’s important to note these states won’t always be the same – every day is different!
Am I even hungry for food?
Are you really hungry for food? It’s important to take a moment and ask yourself if it’s really food you’re hungry for, or is it something else? Are you bored? Stressed? Lonely? Anxious? Is eating really going to satisfy what you’re really hungry for? We won’t always be perfect but there will be times when you eat even if you aren’t physically hungry. But it’s important to be aware of how you’re feeling when you turn to food. Asking yourself, am I really hungry right now? or am I really hungry for this?
Will I lose or gain weight if I eat intuitively?
This is probably the most common concern people have with intuitive eating. Listening to your body and eating intuitively may cause you to lose weight, gain weight or not change weight at all. But regardless of what happens to your weight, eating intuitively will lead to sustainable self-care. Did you know we all have a set point weight? It’s a weight that your body likes to be and stay at with very little effort. Practicing intuitive eating helps you get to a stable set point weight. This will reduce your diet cycle of constantly losing or gaining weight. Your set point weight is based on a few things including: your particular body, your genetics and your past history with weight loss or gain cycling. You know you hit your set point weight when your clothes fit basically the same every day. Some days we will fluctuate more than others depending on your menstrual cycle, stress, or even the seasons.
If you do lose weight, don’t look at intuitive eating as a “good” diet. This will keep you in that diet mentality and you will focus on your weight rather than self-care. Weight doesn’t define your worth and success isn’t determined by the number on the scale. intuitive eating allows you to nourish your body and be well and happy. Remember it’s a process; be patient and kind to yourself.
When trying to become healthier and more fit, self-sabotage is a common theme that appears along the way. Whether we recognize it or not, it’s a common issue many people face when they are trying to achieve their goals. So how can we fix this? Well, we can’t FIX it per se, but if we are aware of the sabotage, it makes it easier for us to get back on track.
Self-sabotage can come from two places: the behavior of your family, friends and colleagues, or from your own inner rebellion. First let’s talk about sabotage from people in your life. When others watch us venture into this healthy lifestyle, some make negative comments about it. You may notice that people can feel threatened that you are embarking on this change and they may try to tempt you with food or activities that might not be in aligned with your goals. This type of sabotage can be very difficult because we desire to be accepted. We can feel guilty and threatened so we end up sabotaging ourselves in order to fit in. Many of us have a fear of not being loved. If we choose to be different from the crowd, we stand out. For the most part, people don’t like to stand out. Especially if it’s in a “negative” way.
When we take that step to better ourselves, relationships often are forced to shift. It’s important that you surround yourself with people who encourage you during your journey. Check out my most recent blog, Surround Yourself Around People Who Lift You Up for more on this topic. Like I discuss in that blog, it’s something I’ve really learned this past year. It’s SO important to make sure you surround yourself around positive people who support you. If you want to progress at all, I would even say it’s vital. So try and reflect on your current relationships, remember energies are contagious.
Now let’s talk about self-sabotage. When we take our lives into our own hands we tend to fear the unknown. We fear the change; we fear what might happen in 2 months time. What if you don’t lose those the weight you’ve been trying to lose for years? What if you fail? When we fail, we often make excuses for why we failed. That’s another form of self-sabotage. Because when you make excuses, you’re not taking responsibility for your actions.
Remember, make this about YOU, your health and how you want your life to turn out. Focus on feeling better and getting healthier. Try not to focus on a specific number. Don’t let the number on your scale define your worth and instead base success off of how you feel. Do you feel better? Do you have more energy? Are you happier? Those are the important things!
If you find yourself sabotaging yourself or letting other peoples opinions sabotage you, don’t get discouraged! It’s 100% normal and it happens to just about everybody. Take a step back and remember you are doing this for you. This is your life, your body and your mind. Make yourself a priority; I promise you will thank yourself later.
In life, it’s important to surround yourself around people who support and understand you. We should be surrounding ourselves with people who lift us up, not bring us down.
I’ve talked on this topic a bit before with my blog Energies are Contagious, but I want to dive in a bit deeper and emphasize its importance. Over this past year, I’ve really started to understand how important it is to surround yourself with people who support you. This means family and friends. Hopefully you already have that relationship with your family; family is family and there is no replacing that. Friends are a bit different; friends can come and go whenever. You can always make new friends and you can always part ways with friends that are not supportive.
The best kinds of friends are ones that you consider family. Ones that if you were in trouble you know you could call on immediately to come help you. Even if that meant they had to take a plane ride to get there. This is something I’ve experienced myself. When I was in my car accident, I had the support of some amazing friends, friends that I consider family at this point in my life. The amount of love and support I got from these friends, during one of the hardest moments of my life is something I will never forget. These friends understand me. They encourage me to keep working towards my goals. They understand my life decisions and my change in careers. They are girls I would call family.
Now not everything has been perfect for me in friendships. I’ve had friends come and go over the years. The friendships that don’t last end for certain reasons. And you know what? It’s FINE! Sure it sucks when you realize a friend may not be someone you keep in your life forever, but it’s important to accept it and move on. Relationships should never be one sided; friendships are a two way street. It’s important that if you are invested in your friends life, that they should be invested in yours. Not a game of you constantly asking how they are doing, or asking if they want to hang out and you don’t get the same respect in return. Friends we want to keep around are friends that stand by us when we are having a hard time, or support us if we have a goal we want to achieve. We need friends who encourage us when we need them the most, better yet when we don’t need them at all. Friends should ALWAYS be encouraging. Even if they don’t fully understand where we are coming from, a good friend will always be there to listen.
And not every friend needs to be someone you consider family. It’s also important to have friends that have similar interests as you. Friends that understand your day-to-day decisions. For me, I’ve learned that the people I connect with the most are people that enjoy being healthy (at least somewhat) or enjoy being active. These are two things I’m very passionate about. I find that I connect with these friends the most because they have similar interests. I feel the most comfortable with these friends because I can talk about these things and I feel understood.
I thought this topic was important to touch on because I’ve had numerous conversations about friendship this past month. Be open to change, even if that means in your friendship circle. Make sure you are surrounding yourself around people who love, care and support you. Those positive relationships will benefit you greatly and get you much further in life.
This past weekend, Iattended Wanderlust in Squaw Valley, Lake Tahoe. It was an amazing weekend that left me reflecting on a lot of different aspects about life.
Self-love and self-care were two things that came up multiple times over the weekend. Whether it was a conversation with a friend or one of the instructors mentioning the importance of both, it seemed to be the biggest theme that resonated with me this weekend.
I thought this would be a great topic to discuss because I think self-care and self-love can get a bad rep, and people don’t focus on it as much as they should.
I want to start off by saying showing up for ourselves should be our first priority. Often, people think that self-love and self-care are “selfish” terms and that showing up for yourself would be a “radical” thing to do. But I want to throw out an idea, just take a minute and let it sink in. If you don’t take care of yourself and show yourself self-love, you are doing the people you care about a disservice. It may sound crazy, but it’s true. You aren’t doing anyone any favors by putting others before yourself all the time; you’re actually doing the opposite.
Let me give you an example so you can try and understand what I mean. Let’s look at mothers. Mothers tend to have a hard time practicing self-care and self-love because they are always so worried about taking care of everyone else. What does that end up doing to mothers? More often then not, moms find themselves feeling stressed out and overwhelmed with how much they have to do. This can lead to grumpiness, unhappiness or even being a bit short tempered.
These feelings can be prevented or even dialed down. How? By putting yourself first and showing up for yourself. I’m here to tell you that practicing self-love and self-care is NOT selfish. It is essential. It is something we have never been taught, but something that is vital to our well-being.
Don’t you want to be the best version of yourself? Don’t you want your friends and loved ones to experience the best version of you? The happiest, healthiest you? Without practicing self-love and self-care, you’re letting people experience a different version of you.
So what can we do to change this? Start putting yourself first. Try to be mindful about how often you put others before yourself. Recognize how often it happens on a daily basis. It can even be simple things. For example, if someone asks me to attend an event, and I already have a lot on my plate, I should decline. That’s practicing self-care. If I say yes because I don’t want to disappoint my friend, I’m putting their feelings first. But what I really should be doing is declining, and spend that time instead to take care of everything that’s already on my plate. That is practicing self-care. So simple, but these things happen to us on a daily basis. Some bigger than others but it’s all about finding that balance.
So take a minute and ask yourself, do you want to be the best version of yourself?
Stress is something we all experience often. Some of us experience stress more often than others, but regardless it can be damaging to your body. Most of us don’t realize how stress affects our body, but it’s important to be aware of it. Who knows, maybe this blog will motivate you to find good ways to de-stress when you are feeling like things are becoming too much.
I just want to start off by saying that our body CANNOT differentiate between real and imagined stress. So for example, a person is chasing you, you are stressed and adrenaline and cortisol push through your blood. Let’s say someone isn’t chasing you but you’re imagining it. Your body will have the SAME exact response as it would if you were actually being chased. Your body can’t distinguish the difference! Pretty crazy right?
It’s also important to know that we experience stress in four different ways.
Increased cortisol production
It may seem overwhelming but we have the ability to control our stress. How do we start? My advice is first finding the core stressor in your life. Is it work? Finances? Body image? Finding the core root of the problem and admitting it is the only way you can move forward.
Stay tuned for a blog about ways you can de-stress.
Why do we not treat ourselves with the same respect and love we give others?
Generally speaking, we tend to be very hard on ourselves. Letting our critical voice come out on a daily basis, putting ourselves down for how we look, what we say or what we do.
Is that the way you treat your friends and family? Probably not! But hey, it’s totally normal and we all do it! I’m guilty of it too from time to time, but it’s something I’ve been working on these past few months. I’ve found that the kinder I am to myself, the happier I am overall.
Self-loathing more often than not is based on physical appearance. As I mentioned in my previous blog, We Can All Use a Bit of Self-Love, we live in a world with a distorted image of beauty. We’re constantly being fed images of celebrity women, giving us an unrealistic image of what beauty is. Immediately we start to judge ourselves if we don’t fit that profile of beauty. But as I’ve said, beauty comes in all shapes and sizes, and the comparison becomes detrimental to our self-confidence.
First things first, we need to stop the self-judgment. Judgment keeps you stuck. Let me give you an example. If you really want to lose weight, but you can’t accept the current weight you’re holding onto, you will continue to judge yourself. Then if you do lose weight, you still won’t be happy. Why? Because, you didn’t stop the judgment to begin with. If you lose a few pounds that’s great, but that critical voice will still be there in your head, ready to knock down any progress you have made. Try working on stopping the self-judgment, it won’t get you anywhere!
It’s also important to work on being mindful. Mindful of your thoughts and when that critical voice comes out. A lot of times we don’t even notice we are putting ourselves down. It has become a habit to pick ourselves apart when we look at a mirror. So try and be mindful of your thoughts. If you start critiquing yourself, stop it! Take a breathe and tell yourself to stop putting yourself down. Try giving yourself a compliment for once!A good habit to start is every morning when you wake up is to say three positive things about yourself. They don’t have to be physical, they can be personality traits as well.
Here’s an example: (note these are ones I did for myself so they may not apply to everyone)
Lastly, we need to stop comparing ourselves to others. This one is super difficult, but it’s something we are ALL guilty of doing. We compare ourselves to an unrealistic expectation of what beauty is, as defined by the media. But bottom line is, if you don’t have the strength to accept yourself, you don’t have the strength to change. The comparisons are just destroying your self-esteem. Stop comparing and start embracing yourself for who you are. We are all unique in our own way, so embody who you are.
Just a girl writing down her thoughts on life post-trauma and body acceptance.