Please note this is not a promoted post. I've received nothing for my opinions, but I'm happy to share a few current faves.
As 2017 sailed off into the sunset (or limped in some cases), it's become time to look forward to newly created hopes, dreams, and plans for 2018. A new year brings new challenges, goals, resolutions, plans, and more. We buy planners and bullet journals, new calendars, and lovely stationery to prepare for everything we need to get done; small and large tasks alike that we can systematically check off our lists. While I'm not disagreeing—considering I, myself, have my own "to do" list just to the left of me as I type—I've also made a semi-silent and internal promise to myself this new year: to do what feels good. While I, like so many others, am vowing to lose weight, it's more than just watching the numbers from the scale drop. It's a gently and lovingly wrapped portion of a larger package: to love myself.
While thinking about self love the other day, I started to mentally compile ways that I can show myself physical, verbal, and mental love. Below is a small list of ways that you too can bring a bit more of that "treat yo self" mentality to your everyday life.
This goes without saying, obviously, that we only get out what we put in, and in this instance, it's all about what literally passes these lips. I've hear the ratio from many friends, gym buddies, and on a few health blog: weight loss is 80% diet, 20% exercise and after reevaluating my current diet (heavy in sweats and good ol' carbs) it's pretty obvious that a few minor tweaks here and there would do my body well. While there are thousands of alterations you can make to top diets, there really is no set of "one size fits all" nutrition guidelines. Our bodies are all 10000% different and handle foods differently. For myself, I've found that I can't cut one food out entirely because it causes me to binge diet and then—fun, fun!—binge eat. Not so good. What I've learned to do instead, is as my grandmother always said: "Moderation, moderation, moderation!" 2018 should be a year of discovery for yourself. I know these fist 10 days definitely have been. And guess what? If you eat an entire plate of cookies, life will go on. As one of my role models, Adriene Mishler says at some point during every yoga practice, "find what feels good."
Speaking of yoga, another way I look at self care is by getting the blood flowing in some way or another. I'm not a gym person AT ALL. There is nothing that makes my palms sweaty and pulse race like the thought of driving to a place where I'll quietly judge myself, wait around for equipment, get red-faced and embarrassed, and leave feeling dejected quite like the gym. I've tried it. I've learned it's not for me. That doesn't mean it isn't for you! Again, try things out, feel around, see what makes your heart and soul happy and comfortable. I find my biggest happiness when I can be outdoors, walking freely through forests and fields with a dog running happily beside me. I don't always go out, and when the weather is being particularly nasty, I sometimes (all the time!) can't get myself to leave the house. What I've done instead, this year, is roll out my old yoga mat and allowed myself to slowly and lovingly feel every part of my body. Yes it's not intense cardio—which I might get to later this year—but it's the most wonderfully transcendent feeling once I've completed a practice. As I mentioned before, my absolute fave go-to girl is Adriene. Armed with dozens of free videos, vlogs, instructional blog posts, and the most chill, non-pretentious personality I've ever come in contact with, Yoga with Adriene has quickly become a staple of feel good exercise. I just finished day 5 of the 30 day journey and I can't explain how fantastically sated and happy I am. It's nothing to crazy, anyone can do it, and the empowerment you feel as you focus your breaths and allow your body to move naturally has no price tag.
Buy Something Nice
Another very straightforward way to love yourself: use a bit of that hard-earned income to treat yourself to a little something, something. Weather it's a new sweater, a trip to a thrift shop or bookstore, lunch, a movie, etc., give yourself a reward for getting up everyday and tackling the obstacles life throws at you. Little victories should be celebrated often and with great enthusiasm.
Keep a Journal
On the note of gratitude, keeping a daily journal of little things that happen always leaves me with a reminder of silver linings in otherwise dark and dreary days. I like to jot down small observations (like an older couple sweetly holding hands as they walk down the street, or an interaction with a young patient), reactions to things (how I feel after completing yoga or trying a new recipe) and things friends and family say (I love you's and I missed you's). During a rough week, or heck, even a not-so-nice afternoon, seeing brief memories of when things were happier might just be the trick to bringing your spirit. It might even encourage you to work on creating a little a slice of internal sunshine to power you on.
I think it's safe to say most people look forward to a refreshing clean slate with gusto and I am just anther person excitedly planning these next 11 and a half months.
Whether it's finding a cute cardi in a thrift store or splurging on tickets to see family, I can't wait to get going. This is the year I'm making a promise to myself: to do what feels right and good. I'm going to take each day as it comes instead waiting for 'someday' to come along.
Bloom where you're planted even if your mind soars to the horizon. Find the peace in every day. Breathe love in, breathe love out. These are the mantras I will remind myself of and if something it's working in my schedule—if it's making my body or spirit unhappy—I'm going to cut it out, reevaluate, and then see if it's worth adding back. Whether it's toxic relationships, bad habits, or just clutter around your house, this year is yours and nothing can hold you back!
Don't find excuses, find solutions! (Guys, can I add anymore cliches in here because honestly even I'm cringing now.)
Remember: You're not alone
We're all on this spinning, beautiful, wild, and breathtaking planet together. If you ever feel like you're your own island, reach out. Find me here, find others. I'm never too busy to answer an email or text and so are others. You're never a burden. Love yourself; love this year.
You hear that, 2018? We're coming for you!