How to Get Healthy & Stop Hating Yourself

Lately, I’ve been thinking about what it means to be healthy.

After working in therapeutics and becoming a pseudo-wellness-worshipper who still loves beer and gets irritatingly self-righteous about vegetables, I’ve stumbled across this question multiple times – What does it mean to be healthy?

What I’ve decided is this: It’s not a static state of being. Working towards whole health is a process that spans an entire lifetime. It challenges us to be brutally honest with ourselves when we’re spending too much time at work, distracting ourselves with relationships, drowning ourselves in shitty hipster homebrews or whatever, and bingeing on Netflix, social media, and pizza to avoid reality.

With such a big cultural shift towards a focus on wellness, (and the weird elitism that sometimes exists with that) it’s difficult to avoid the self-imposed guilt or shame that bubbles up when we see “everyone else” succeeding in this area. It gets overwhelming and becomes easier to slip into apathy, making jokes about eating our feelings, rather than admitting regret or disappointment for not taking better care of ourselves. Alternately, I often experience a lot of people taking themselves too seriously with it. JP Sears makes hilarious videos about this:

To me, a healthy lifestyle means choosing to fill your time, body, mind, and soul (if you’re into that last one) with the things that make you feel like the best possible version of you. It means supplementing ourselves with the people, foods, passions, places, information, activities, etc. that nourish and rejuvenate us.

Also, creating a healthy lifestyle feels hard AF.

I still fall into patterns of procrastination and avoidance followed by self-deprecation, eating too much sugar, sleeping too little, neglecting my mental health, and using technology as a buffer between the world and my internal, emotional landscape. However, that doesn’t mean it has to be difficult AF, but it can certainly feel like that along the way.

It also takes A WHILLLEEE to implement. That means we’ve got to be patient with ourselves.

It seemed easy enough a year and a half ago when I promised myself I would commit to a healthier diet, workout regime, and improving my writing after spending a shameful amount of time on Pinterest looking at, “workout motivation quotes.” (Pinterest people -you know what I’m talking about).

In the end, all it took was seeing a photo of me and wondering why I continued to punish myself for being sad, creatively stifled, and out of shape, then punishing myself further by doing nothing to solve it.

That’s what’s tough about trying to establish a healthy lifestyle. We know what we could be doing to improve our situations, but we often fear the painful discomfort that accompanies change. Sometimes we feel unworthy of those things we desire, (happiness/love/success/purpose/connection/fulfillment) or we ignore our inner voice that begs us to be kinder to ourselves. It’s hard sh*t to overcome and ultimately, we are the only ones who can take control of it.

It took me over a year to lose eighteen pounds, prioritize a budget for healthy foods into my monthly spending, cook regularly, and unplug from social media more often. It wasn’t until the last six months that I truly committed to fully paying off my debt, moved out of my parent’s house, and started saving for a new car. It was only in the last month that I’ve implemented (almost) daily meditations and started a productivity journal.

And you know what? Things feel better. I feel better. Not just about my body, or my finances, or my creativity, but about who I am.

Working out regularly gave me a tremendous confidence boost (with an added bonus of a higher ass). Eating healthily gave me more energy to do the things I love and – because the food is so expensive – opened the door to a new hobby and encouraged me to grow a garden. Committing to my writing has increased my self-esteem and motivation to succeed. Putting money in the bank created a sense of security I rarely (if ever felt) since graduating college and living on my own.

But it didn’t happen overnight, not even close, and it would’ve been incredibly unfair to myself to expect anything more. Striving for a healthier lifestyle was really hard at first, and I wanted to give up A LOT. So many times I would’ve rather crawled back into bed than hit the gym, had four awesome beers instead of one, and eat PB & honey sandwiches at 10:30 pm and possibly die rather than cook after a double shift.

I’m not sharing this sh*t to impress anyone. In fact, there are WAYYYYY more healthy people than me out there. (Which is SO awesome). I’m saying it because the benefits of pursuing a healthy life are real and they’re what we really need right now.

Decide what being healthy means to you. Start small, with even one change you can make in your day to day life that makes you feel good. Most importantly, be patient with yourself – Rome wasn’t built in a day and your soon-to-be fine-as-f*ck self may not either, but it’s absolutely worth the investment.

If you’re looking for more resources on whole health and wellness, my girl Molly has got your back. Check out what she’s up to here. If bodywork/massage are more up your ally, Kate has got you covered.

6 Things to Do When You’re Feeling Lost

There are times in our lives when we stray from our path and lose a sense of direction and purpose. It’s normal to question our decisions, especially if you’re like me and at times struggle with nearly paralyzing anxiety. It’s also OK to ask, “what’s next” without knowing a concrete answer. As conventional lifestyles begin to become a thing of the past, the certainty of our “next step” seems more vague and amorphous. Traditional structure doesn’t accommodate the romantic vision of many modern-day thinkers, artists, and seekers, so here’s a few ways to bring ourselves back when we can’t seem to tell up from down.

1. Breathe

One of the quickest ways to reground ourselves when we’re feeling overwhelmed with indecision, or itching to escape the anxiety seemingly fused into our skin, is to simply breathe. Sometimes we just need those big, deep, belly breaths, even if it’s just a couple to remind ourselves that we’re safe here, in the moment. Breathing offers us the opportunity to hit the reset button when we’re entering full-fledged, OMG-everything-is-wrong mode. Sit or stand up straight, press your feet firmly into the floor, and take a couple long, deep breaths.

2. Validate Your Experience

Hey, you! It’s OK to feel lost and it’s okay to have days where we feel sad, inadequate, ashamed, disappointed, overwhelmed, and an entire book’s worth of other uncomfortable emotions. Contrary to popular belief, happiness is not a stagnant state that can be maintained indefinitely. We are unique in our ability to experience a vast spectrum of emotions and it’s normal to feel an ebb and flow. It’s important to acknowledge our discomfort before trying to push through something we haven’t yet accepted as being valid.

3. Write a List 

I love lists. Lists and my ADHD have become the best of friends over the years and I’m not sure what my general productivity would look like without them. When we have too much mental chatter or a storming spiral of negative and self-defeating thoughts brewing, it can be helpful to clear out the clutter. This can look however you’d like and you’re free to go with what feels right for you. I tend to make two columns, one for fears, feverishly scrawling all of them, from the realest of reals – losing my health insurance, never making enough money, to the completely irrational, my parents thinking that I’m a failure because I didn’t study law. I then make another for hopes. I list activities that bring me joy, causes I feel passionately about, unfinished projects or ideas, and dreams I have for the future. They can be as simplistic as drinking a cup of tea in the morning, and as grandiose as becoming a full-time-travel-writer-adventure-queen-badass. Simply expressing what is residing in the rooms of our psyche can be cathartic and gives us a better sense of which fears seem almost laughable, and what we actual enjoy doing.

4. Create One Goal for the Day 

One of the biggest things I notice when I’m feeling lost, is that I am lacking a sense of accomplishment and purpose. Accomplishing things, from the mundane tasks of paying bills and doing the dishes, to the magnificent triumphs of our wildest dreams, helps to solidify our self-esteem and makes us feel capable and independent. It reaffirms our ability to get things done and encourages our belief that we are gifted and talented in beautifully unique ways. So today, choose one thing that feels manageable in the midst of an overwhelming fog, perhaps something you’ve been avoiding, that would help you to feel accomplished. Each day, you can experiment with adding something else, or something more involved. Most of our lives are comprised of habits, so let’s practice building productive ones, little by little.

5. Try Something New

Have you always been interested in painting? Learning guitar? Gardening? Fitness? Well here’s your opportunity! We all have sacred fantasies about something we’ve always been curious about (or even enraptured by) yet never had the time, or courage, or resolve to get after it. Explore some local ads, ask around, or browse the internet for something that gets you excited. Channel your inner warrior for some extra support and courage when stepping outside of your comfort zone. You never know, that salsa class or cooking tutorial could be the catalyst to finding something more aligned with your passions and purpose.

6. Tell Someone

Confide in someone you trust. Sharing your fears and doubts with another person can be relieving and eliminate some of the tremendous weight that we carry when we’re feeling anxious and confused. Acknowledgement of our reality is typically what we’re looking for in the first place. When things are a mess, we sometimes just want someone to tell us that it’s OK, that we have permission to experience our humanness, and that its normal to not have our shit together. Remember that you’re not alone in your struggle and that being vulnerable with someone else can go a long way.

You’ve got this!

Xo

How to Sidestep Cynicism.

I think as I’ve gotten older it’s become increasingly difficult to view the world with the same sense of wonder and idealism I once did. It seems the more I learn, the more disappointment develops, polluting the delicate steps of my dream staircase and my childhood hopes of writing for National Geographic or being a lion tamer that much further away. Continue reading “How to Sidestep Cynicism.”

“Single” and “Lonely” Can Be Mutually Exclusive.

I always thought it was bizarre that we called it “being single” since, realistically, you are always physically, mentally, and emotionally single. Even when we’re immersed in a relationship, we’re technically single. So I’m curious as to why this label has become something that sometimes holds negative connotations.

Being single can be completely liberating, since there’s a lot of freedom that comes with it, as well as a lot of energy and space for deeper exploration of ourselves. That being said, yes, it can be really lonely sometimes, especially when you come home to visit your friends and they all have significant others, or when you’ve failed at something you really wanted and reject yourself, or when you’re pms-ing and you make the colossal mistake of watching The Notebook which, by the way, you’re a liar, Ryan Gossling, because no one behaves like that without receiving a restraining order.

Looking around and seeing a lot of the people who I love be in love is inspiring, yet there’s that tiny, discouraged voice in the back of my mind that reminds me of how not in love I am, then punishes me for not finding “the one” yet. (Which, I think there could be like 6 million “ones” but that’s for another post). What I think we need to remember is that just because we’re not in love with a person, doesn’t mean that we can’t be in love with the world around us, and the striking, imperfect, beings that we are. There are so many different things that we can channel our passion into, and it isn’t limited to romance. Sometimes being a tiresome perfectionist, I spent so much of my life convincing myself that a relationship was the last building black to the unrealistic framework of my “perfect life.”

Anddddd, I was wrong as fc*k.

After several crash and burn relationships, mostly based on the need I had to satiate my craving for a void to be filled, I’ve come to realize that being single isn’t a curse or something to be ashamed of the way it’s so often portrayed in pop culture.

Being single is not synonymous with being lonely, we make it that way with our beliefs and understanding of intimacy.

It’s actually one of the best gifts that you can give to yourself. It presents an opportunity for you to get to know yourself, your triggers, your desires, boundaries, and patterns, that way when you enter another relationship, you’ve got more clarity about what you’re actually looking for. Being in a relationship is also not going to fix every issue you’ve ever had, or give you the contentment we’re all striving for, and if those are your reasons for entering one – it may end up being an unhealthy distraction and you may want to revisit your rationale.

You aren’t going to be lonely forever. Maybe just for now, and that’s okay, because like every other feeling, it’s fleeting. It isn’t going to follow you through your days and nights like a long, empty hallway in a vacant house. If you allow it to, it’s going to move through you, integrating itself, then dispersing again outwardly. Loneliness gives us relativity, and it allows us to appreciate the gifts of closeness, knowing, and intimacy that we receive when we finally enter a new relationship.

We just need to be patient with ourselves, and learning to love and rely on ourselves when we’re feeling disconnected, rejected, or alone is a priceless investment in ourselves.

Don’t be afraid of loneliness, it’s only temporary.

 

Resolutions That We’ll Follow, Like Eating More Pizza.

It’s New Year’s Day. Happy Hangover!

In the spirit of making New Year’s resolutions that we will probably not be committed to, I’ve decided to try a different approach to something that I love. I’ve been neglecting my blog like most people are going to neglect their gym memberships in February. (Oh look, a New Year’s gym joke..see what I did there?) Continue reading “Resolutions That We’ll Follow, Like Eating More Pizza.”

The Quest for Perfection and Why We Should Love Ourselves Anyway.

Imperfection.

I will never be perfect, although at times I would like to believe that I am and that I’m holding it all together really well. When things aren’t perfect, I feel a deep-seated need to change or control them, and it typically comes from a place of fear. It’s a fear of inadequacy, of failure, and of regret. Recently, someone helped me see that we just have to decide to do things from a place of love, and that extends to loving ourselves and having patience with all of our quirks and idiosyncrasies. Continue reading “The Quest for Perfection and Why We Should Love Ourselves Anyway.”

Why Women Should Keep Wearing High-Waisted Shorts: A Response.

In the past, I’ve shied away from opinionated posts, simply because a lot of topics aren’t worth getting fired up about, however, ones in which women bash women tend to infuriate me. Continue reading “Why Women Should Keep Wearing High-Waisted Shorts: A Response.”