As I sat down to write this post, so much came to mind, that I’m sure that there will be more posts in the future about being kinder to yourself. If you find this post enjoyable or helpful, you might like my upcoming book, Your Self-Love Journey.
Ditch the Resolutions
The entire concept of New Year’s resolutions is based on the assertion that we aren’t enough, didn’t do enough, and weren’t good enough in the previous year. So we resolve to be better, do better, and finally be enough by setting ridiculously hard to achieve goals, which we expect to attain within just a few weeks. These goals almost always involve body changes that will magically make us better people.
The goals aren’t the whole problem. We tend to try to make our goals by using extreme means that are not sustainable for long. It’s a recipe for failure, feelings of defeat, sadness and depression.
So forget the resolutions. Try looking for the positive instead of the negative in order to invoke change.
For instance, my friend, Patricia Wheeler, has issued a challenge to herself and all of her Facebook friends to say something positive about herself each day in 2017. I’m going to push her challenge out to you. Can you think/say/write down something positive about yourself every day?
Discover Joyful Movement
Exercise is an ugly word that brings to mind stretching and pushing your body until you are tired and sore. Or at least, that’s what it signifies to me. I hate exercise. But I don’t hate being active. I love swimming, dancing, riding bikes, and playing volleyball. I hate walking on treadmills, running laps, doing situps, and any boring, repetitive movement that is supposed to be “good for me” but is really aimed at changing my body. Exercise makes me feel bad and like a failure afterward. Do you avoid “exercise” for similar reasons?
Fact is, you should move your body because you enjoy it and it makes your body feel good. So what do you enjoy doing? If you have mobility issues, talk to your doctor. There should be some ways to move your body even if it’s nothing more than turning on your favorite music and shaking your booty while sitting on the sofa. So, it’s more like shaking your arms and shoulders, but you get the point.
Personally I do yoga–and by yoga I mean doing weird stretches that resemble yoga exactly 0%. But my favorite way to move my body is to dance around the house like a spastic 5 year old. It’s awesome. And it always leaves me feeling energized (if a little out of breath).
Whatever you choose to do, don’t do it because you hate your body or because you want to change your body. Whatever movement you choose, do it because it makes you happy, it’s fun, and because it makes your body feel better. Do it because you love your body.
Give Yourself a Break
Are you harder on yourself than other people? Do you think harsh, unforgiving things about yourself that you would never say to someone else? Do you berate yourself for mistakes you would forgive in others? Do you have traits that you see as quirks in others but flaws in yourself? Does your self-talk resemble something you would discipline a child for saying to someone else?
We are often harshest with ourselves. Next time you catch yourself in the middle of negative self-talk, or make a mistake that makes you angry with yourself, stop, take a breath, and think what you would say to your best friend if she were the one you were talking to.
Okay, so if you talk to your bestie like I do mine, you might tell yourself to get an effing grip. But then you would give understanding and encouragement.
Take a Moment
This one is easier said than done, I know. Especially for those mom’s out there. But trust me, finding a few minutes every day, or even every other day, to have some silent decompression time is one of the greatest gifts you can give to yourself. I take mine in the shower. It’s not very eco-friendly, and my water bill is higher because of it, but 5-10 extra minutes under the hot water with no one asking me for anything, no animals needing fed or cuddles, no emails or instant messages. It’s 100% me time. It clears my head and makes me more ready and able to deal with the world.
(On a side note that proves my point: going without hot water for more two weeks–first waiting on our special order water heater, then waiting on the RIGHT water heater because the wrong one was ordered–has nearly driven me insane. Going to my in-laws to shower every couple of days just didn’t allow me the same decompression time.)
Eat the Cupcake
Okay, so if you have diabetes and eating the cupcake will put you into a coma, then maybe rethink the cupcake. But if there are no life & death reasons why you shouldn’t eat it, and you aren’t stealing it, and you want it, then by golly, eat it! Or the taco, or the apple, or the tofu stir-fry, or whatever.
Food is neither good nor bad. Though, what you eat can make you feel either good or bad. But what you don’t eat can do the same. Denying yourself can make you feel sad and depressed. And if you are in the “denial” frame of mind, “slipping” and eating that super delicious taco can flood you with feelings of guilt, shame, and depression.
So, stop. Listen to your body, and feed it and your spirit in the way that feels good and right to you.