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The term self-care is WAY over-used. It always seems too trite–get a massage, take a bubble bath, eat fancy chocolates. Those are the cursory examples of self-care. A big part of my Live Happier teachings is about knowing your values, knowing your priorities and living your life based on those priorities. So earlier this year, I started changing my self-talk from, “you need to engage in more self-care”. Which for me means massages, bubble baths and fancy chocolates to “you need to make yourself more of a priority.”
Making myself more of a priority meant:
- actively engaging in mindfulness techniques
- adding more yoga to my life
- actively participating in what I wanted to do in my life.
- looking at myself mind, body spirit.
In the midst of opening the Live Happier Loft, putting myself as a priority took a back seat. Recently, I realized that I had been ignoring the body part of body, mind and spirit. In order to put myself first I needed to take a hard look at how I was treating my body. What food was I feeding myself? How was I eating? When was I eating? How was I moving my body? etc.
Last year, I had a few health issues that, took me away from my regular workout routine and left me feeling pretty much old and defeated. I realized I couldn’t make myself a priority unless I made my body a priority. My body has always been a touchy subject. I wasn’t an overweight child; I wasn’t even an overweight 20-year-old, but I never loved and appreciated my body. It wasn’t until my 30s that weight became an issue. But since then I have yo-yoed and dieted, worked out like a crazy person and restricted way too much. By the time, I hit 40 I was 80 lbs overweight and tired of the whole weight game, so I decided at 40, enough was enough I was done thinking about food and diets. I was tired of shaming myself into eating the ‘right’ foods and weighing the ‘right’ amount. I was going to eat whatever I want whenever I wanted and try to bring as much mindfulness to it as possible. And I did just that…I ate when I was hungry and ate whatever I wanted. I didn’t gain any weight—-I didn’t lose any weight either, I maintained. But slowly over time the mindfulness peace faded away, and I just ended up ignoring my body. I knew I had been ignoring my body, and I also knew I didn’t want to go back to the place of shame and ridicule about my body.
Then one day I was procrastinating writing and randomly googling things, and I came across this article about Oprah about her weight struggles and I realized I am out of balance…I have lost touch with myself as a priority. I loved what Oprah says that “I am not hungry for food, I am hungry for balance.” And so that has what I have started doing, asking myself what am I really hungry for. Sometimes it is actual hunger but most of the time it is balance, a break, a hug or a chance to let go and step back. Self-care has become a place where I notice my body, notice how I feel in my body, notice how food cravings come up, notice how certain foods make me feel.
Weight, Diets, Bodies are such dirty words in our society. The truth is carrying extra weight is bad for my health. The truth is food can’t make me feel a certain way. The year of eating whatever I want hasn’t made me feel more peaceful—it has been WAY easier–but not more peaceful. What has been more peaceful? When I started putting myself, my health and my body as a top priority again.
Your personal struggle may not be weight…but I ask you:
Where are you not putting yourself as a priority? At work? At home? In your body?
What are you HUNGRY for?