I’ve had an experience over the last couple of weeks with practicing what I preach when it comes to self-care. Last weekend we moved into our new house in Texas. So over the past 2 weeks we’ve been in the moving process (packing up, staying in a hotel, traveling, staying with friends, moving in, having family visit, etc.). Our routines have been all over the place as our lives were kind of flipped upside down and we’re settling in. We love our new life, we love our house, we love living in Texas.
But my normal routines – what I eat for breakfast, exercising every day, etc. were just not my highest priority because we were moving. I was fine with it because that was just my given season of life. Then it came to Sunday and I was getting ready to go to church and I looked in the mirror and realized that I had gained some weight over the past couple of weeks.
I have the genetics that I gain weight very quickly and very easily. So I had this realization and said “Okay self, party’s over!” I immediately went into that instinct that I’m sure all of you are familiar with of “why did I do that? I’m so gross!” and started shaming myself and thinking I wouldn’t make any friends in this new church. I was instantly negative for a second.
Then I stopped and decided to talk with myself like I would talk with a client. Myself needed someone to be very gentle and kind right then. I didn’t need a verbal spanking, or someone to tell me how gross I am or how I needed more willpower. Logically, I know that life ebbs and flows. I know there are seasons in life where self-care falls a few notches down on the priority list.
I know this mentally, but emotionally my reaction was to think about how nasty I was. But then, I remembered that I know better than to jump into that place of self-hatred. So I decided to be very gentle, to be kind as best as I could.
“You know what, self, it’s okay. Tomorrow I’m going to start fresh and I’m going to care for myself in a way that makes me feel good.”
So yesterday, Monday morning, I got up, I went for a nice long walk which always makes me feel amazing. I had a big fat smoothie for breakfast which always makes me feel amazing. Within like an hour, I was right back to my old self.
Obviously, I had not lost the pounds I had put on (I don’t even know how much I had gained because I haven’t unpacked my scale and I don’t plan to because I don’t need that in my life!), but I knew from how I felt that I was tired, sluggish, low energy, and just blah. I knew that was correlated to my lack of self-care.
However, I also knew it wouldn’t be productive or helpful in any way to berate myself or beat myself up emotionally for the way I had treated my body because it had just happened. The best way forward is just to move on and do your best starting tomorrow.
Really, I feel awesome now! I’m back to normal. I exercised this morning and had another smoothie. I’m doing the things that I know makes me feel good, and light, and energized and positive. Even though I have not lost those couple of pounds, I’m not worried about it because I’m doing what I know makes me feel good. The weight doesn’t matter.
If you’ve ever had that experience where maybe you go on vacation, have a baby, someone dies in your family, or you move and self-care moves down on the priority list, have grace for yourself. Know that it’s okay. And when you get to a place where you can step it back up, do it! Because caring for yourself is always what makes you feel good.
It’s not how you look and how much you weight, it’s how you feel, and caring for yourself always makes you feel good.
I also want to put it out there that despite all my training and education, etc., I am not perfect. There is no such thing as perfect. It’s not like I never slip up and eat fast food. There’s no such thing as living like that…for me. Maybe for other people, but not for me. I go through those ups and downs just like other normal humans.
So if you’re feeling frustrated because you’re not doing what you know you should be doing, know that even “professionals” go through that and fall into those same traps. It’s okay, it’s just part of being a human being. Have grace for yourself.