During November, I did a daily self-love challenge. I lost momentum about twenty-one days into it. The focus of the challenge took a drastic turn one night when I yelled at my kids. I felt terrible for days and I couldn’t forgive myself for how I treated them. There was no way I could practice self-love at that point.
Wasn’t that what I was asking for this whole time? An opportunity to practice patience, forgiveness, and compassion? When I took my frustrations out on my kids that night, I felt self-critical and just plain shitty about myself and the situation. Did I deserve to go through a challenge of self-love or was it exactly what I needed?
This past weekend I was feeling funky. I didn’t feel 100% in my body, and my clothes didn’t feel great on me either. It’s embarrassing to say, as this is a minuscule thing to be concerned about given all the things that are going on in the world, but I wanted to share anyways.
I would describe myself as a highly sensitive person. Things like the fit of my clothes and bodily sensations are like sirens going off when things aren’t just right. I understand that I can do things to manage my emotions such as shift perspectives (check!), create a gratitude list (done!), and practice coping strategies to manage the frustration (on it!), but even with all that, it didn’t take away the discomfort.
When I started creative writing outdoors, the first line in the journal was “I feel my energy come back to me.” The next few lines were tuning into the different sensations I experienced around me – the sound of the breeze moving through the trees, the smell of my skin as the sun shined on it, the reflection of the water on a nearby fountain, the chatter of people walking by. I would occasionally pause and look around before I would write the next thing I noticed. My surroundings became more engrossing than the content of what I was writing. Tuning in to the relaxation and peacefulness that surrounded me was very cool.
“My heart found its home long ago in the beauty, mystery, order and disorder of the flowering earth.”
-Lady Bird Johnson in a letter in Native Plants magazine, Fall 2002.
I noticed recently that I’ve been wanting to be outside more. I began to reflect on the stressors in my life about relationships, home, work, the current state of the nation, etc., and how being out in nature does a lot for my mood, my mental health and managing my stress.
I used to play volleyball in college. It was my first time leaving home and I didn’t know how to feed myself while I worked out and played volleyball like it was a full-time job. I relied on my teammates and the people around me to help me figure out what to eat and how to take care of myself and there was definitely a lot of trial and error. This is one of the reasons why eating and body image issues are important to me and why I value working on a team to help individuals who experience these concerns.
In collaboration with Gina Mateer, Registered Dietitian (RD), Licensed Dietitian (LD), Certified Eating Disorders Registered Dietitian (CEDRD), with Nom-Nomaste, we wanted to highlight some reasons to visit a dietitian when a person is concerned about their eating and body image issues.
Change has been on my mind lately. I’ve mostly been thinking about why others are so good at it while I suck. Yes, I know what you’re going to say, “but you’re a therapist, shouldn’t you know how to deal with it?” It’s true, I have some tricks up my sleeve, but sometimes change can be challenging for me too.
“Be mindful even if your mind is full” —James de la Vega
I caught myself a few weeks ago saying “I’m not good with change” more times than I would like to admit. In a moment of mindfulness, I decided to pause, notice my breath, and pay attention to what I was saying. I noticed my breath was different than when I was relaxed, my chest was tight and my breath was shorter. I noticed that critical self-talk, “I’m not good at this” got loud and instead of judging myself further, I said “this is what it’s like when I’m experiencing change in my life”. Not too big of a deal, right? Be in the present, notice the breath, all without judgement.