Last week, I shared my personal story about the struggles I experienced, during my Quarter-Life Crisis. As I mentioned last time, it's amazing how far from ourselves we become when we try to fit into this mold of what we think we should be; where we think we should be at. After spending years doing this, going through the motions of life, I became less passionate, less healthy and less myself. As a society that puts this ridiculous amount of pressure on 'having your life together', it's amazing the majority of us who really don't have our lives together - our priorities in check.
I mention priorities because that was last week's assignment: to make a list of the things you fill your day (and minds) with, and narrow it down to your three priorities.
But what if you created your list, tried to narrow it down, and realized that your current priorities weren't really what you'd like those priorities to be?
Well then, no worries! That's what this week's post is all about... taking the time to give ourselves the love we deserve, so those priorities are a lot easier to define, and a lot easier to stick to.
First Think About It
Think about your day, currently. I want you to answer these questions:
- How do you fill it up?
- What thoughts run through your head?
- What foods and beverages do you fill your body with?
- Do you exercise? If so, how do you feel doing it, and once it's over?
- Do you feel relaxed, or on-edge?
- How quickly does it take to fall asleep?
These are just a couple of questions that are important to ask, while working toward figuring yourself out. Chances are, after answering them, you weren't exactly excited about the outcome, am I right?! That's exactly where I was, a couple of years ago, when I was going through my Quarter-Life Crisis. And it's important to realize that before we change ourselves, and expect those changes to stick, we need to assess our lives, and make sure we're creating a welcoming environment for that positive change.
Where Self-Care Comes In
I'm sure we've all seen it - the articles, photos and hashtags about self-care...
#treatyoself #selfcare #workingonme
Everybody seems to be taking the time for themselves, when they can, WHICH IS GREAT! But I can't help but think... what is this person's life like, the other 23 hours, in their day, they're not taking that bubble bath?! Does this person feel so much stress in their every-day life that they feel the need to spend one hour attempting to forget about it?!
Again, by no means am I bashing ANYONE doing this! I give you all the kudos in the world for creating a little bit of self-care in your life, but instead of ADDING self-care into our lives, why don't we work to CREATE a LIFE of self-care!?
10 years ago, in high school, I was described as an all-around extrovert; doing this and doing that - utilizing every second of my time in every way possible. 10 years ago, I was also extremely sick, depressed and stressed.
Today, if you were to ask anyone that talks to me frequently, you'd find out that my days aren't filled with much of anything; work, exercise (maybe), dinner, movie and night-snuggles with Mona. Does this sound boring?! Well maybe! However, if it sounds boring, chances are you're struggling with providing yourself the self-care you merit.
Compared to ten years ago (hell, even two), I'm now healthier, happier and more satisfied than I've ever been. And a lot of that has to do with living a life of self-care.
Breaking It Down & Overcoming Excuses
Maybe your reasoning for not giving yourself the care you deserve is time; for time is the NUMBER ONE EXCUSE GIVEN BY ALL OF US (myself included)! You work two jobs; your kids have activities; you're taking classes; the list goes on, and it goes on for everyone. But now, I want you to think of all of the things you do, in a day, that are 100% completely necessary. They aren't all necessary, are they? Which unnecessary things bring you joy; which do not? I want you to think about all of the things you're NOT doing for yourself, that are causing you to live a life filled with stress. What's preventing you from eating that healthy dinner? What's stopping you from saying 'NO' to your friend's Happy Hour offer? What's preventing you from taking a day to relax at home, instead of going overboard at the gym? What's the reason you continue to feed yourself negative thoughts?
Sometimes, life gets in the way; sometimes, we push ourselves because we think that's what's 'best' for us; I completely get that. But here's the main point: Don't. Ever. Let. Life. Get. In. The. Way. Completely. Don't. Ever. Push. Yourself. Without. Taking. Time. To. Back. Off. An easy way to do this is to question every decision you make: "Will going to Happy Hour make me happier, in the long run?" "Will saying yes to being on this board create too much added chaos?" "Will doing this HIIT workout, every single day, help me feel less stressed?" We're all different, and know our bodies better than anyone. Sometimes, it's just about getting back to yourself, in the first place, and taking the time to listen.
Feeding Yourself Right
In my time at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, I learned about Primary and Secondary Foods. Primary Foods are the ways we feed ourselves, mentally, through relationships, spirituality, career and physical activity. Secondary Foods being the physical food we consume to fill our bodies.
The thought here is a fantastic one; when we're feeding our physical bodies all of the right foods (Secondary Food), it doesn't mean squat if our Primary Foods aren't in check, too. Meaning: you can eat kale every day, count your macros and consume all organic food, but if you're not feeding your soul with what it needs, you're not going to be healthy.
**Quick side note here: this doesn't mean that Secondary Food isn't important! This is all about balance, as is anything with life.
In my eyes, Primary Food goes hand-in-hand with living a life filled with self-care! Self-care isn't just about finding that down time, taking that bubble bath, but it's also about finding those ways to feed your soul with positive thoughts and positive actions.
**I created a pretty handy self-care guide that focuses on creating a life of self-care, based on feeding ourselves with Primary & Secondary Foods. Please take a look, and use it in whatever way feels best! Sometimes, we just need a little push in the right direction, and my hope is that this guide will do just that. Click here for the guide, and subscribe to my page...
This week, your goal is to focus on your Primary Foods. What's positive, and going well? Where needs some love? How can you put more self-care and self-love into those areas?
As always, remember that change is a gradual process, and that it takes time. Don't worry about worrying, or rushing, because that'll just make it more difficult to get to the point of this blog post. I always like to think that the most positive thing is realizing that we need to make a change, and then be willing to make it. Once we've reached that point, we're halfway there!