Remember back in November when, as part of the Dean Street Society Happy Hour Blog Tour, I shared about how I say “no” to overwhelm? Well, today I’m doing something fairly similar.
When Katie Den Ouden reached out to me about joining 24 other women in coming together to support, celebrate and promote each other in sharing our journeys to truly feeding our souls, freeing their bodies, and loving our lives as part of the Skinny Dip Society Blog Tour, I absolutely without hesitation said, “YES!” After all, that’s pretty much what I’m all about.
So, as part of that today I’m answering a few questions related to self-care, freedom, and living more fully…
What self-care habits are non-negotiables for you? How do you find time for self-care?
Over the past five years, self-care has become very important in my life. After struggling to break free from the bondage of anorexia (and later the reverse upswing that can happen during recovery, binge eating), I realized that I needed to be intentional to nurture my body and soul on a daily basis, rather than neglect it and cope with the aftermath of my broken life.
Since I work from home, a slow start to my morning is something I gift myself each day. Sometimes, of course, life happens and that just doesn’t work out. But when I allow myself time to wake up, sip on a hot beverage, eat a good breakfast and read something inspiring before starting the day, my body and soul feel nourished. In addition to that, I also do quite a bit of journaling, which I’ve found is my favorite way to process emotions. Lastly, I try to eat a whole foods, mostly plant-based diet and exercise in some way each day—be it a walk, a jog or a hike.
Time will always be limited, so it’s important to make the choice that certain parts of self-care are essential and then make the time. Could I get a ton more done during the day if I didn’t have a long, leisurely morning or go for an afternoon jog? Definitely. But would I be emotionally, spiritually and physically at my best? Probably not.
How has your relationship to your body (and thus your life) changed over the years?
Growing up, I always had a very positive body image, but when I left home for college, I suddenly discovered that my body could be more valuable if I changed it and made it more like other peoples bodies. In reaction to a lot of stress in my life, I coped by starving my body and overworking it (not to mention barely sleeping). It was a dark time that’s hard to reflect on—I felt worthless, sad and empty. There were years of my life when I don’t remember laughing—ugh.
Then, at some point later in college, I decided to make a change. It was a long and difficult road to health, but a worthy journey for sure. There were a lot of tears and challenges, but little by little, I came back to myself. I started to see that my body needed to be cared for, and that that looked different on any given day (sometimes that meant nourishing food and exercise, other times that meant taking a day off to rest). I also started to view my body through a more functional lens, as well as stopped all of the negative self-talk in my head. Seeing the way my body helped me run or lift groceries or hug my loved ones helped me love and honor it. And finally giving myself enough grace to not criticize myself has truly worked wonders in the way I view my body.
What do you wish women would talk about more?
Though of course there is a healthy trend happening where women are getting more authentic, I still wish that we would spend more time being honest with one another. I am not someone who has an issue with social media being a “highlight reel” of people’s lives—I think it’s fun to see the beautiful moments and the high points in the lives of those I care about.
That being said, when we’re together as women, face-to-face, or in any kind of one-on-one communication for that matter, I wish we would open up with one another just a smidgen more. I wish we would dare to talk about hurts and failures and brokenness—not in a depressing, woe is me sort of way, but just in a real, honest, open way that makes us feel more known and connected.
What gives you the courage to let go of worries, habits and grudges that no longer serve you?
For me, it’s been entirely related to my spiritual life and the transformation that’s taken place in my life (slowly) as I’ve come to know God more and more. I am a really selfish person naturally (aren’t we all?), and also a bit of a worry-wort. But by gaining perspective through seeing a bigger picture, and also through understanding more and more about who Jesus was and how he lived, I’ve come to see that worry, bad habits and old grudges do nothing but lock me down. They’re burdens we do not need to carry, and life feels so much lighter, freer and happier when we can just make the choice to let them go, be more loving, and live more fully.
Tomorrow on the blog tour we’ll be hearing from Robin (who you should be familiar with from the pre-Christmas Pilates program!). She also happens to be a contributor for Nellie, so to say I’m fond of her is an understatement. So, so excited to hear her thoughts on the topic of living life more fully. Here are her details…
P.S. Does this whole thing really appeal to you? If so, be sure to sign up for Katie’s (free) 21-day Freedom challenge starting February 1st. You can get all the details here.