Paleo, Low Carb, High Fat, Macro Tracking, Calorie Counting. Growing up I tried all of these things in order to get to a number that I thought I would be happy at. It didn't work for me. I didn't understand how some people could follow something so well and get such great results when I had problems following something for more than a week. I'm not sure what happened or when my mind shifted, but eventually I couldn't fathom going on another diet. I was defeated before I even began. So with that in mind, I decided I was going to stop dieting and just live. At this point I couldn't remember the last time I wasn't on a diet. So of course, I had no idea of what normal was. What is a normal serving size? Do normal people eat dessert every night? Is it normal for me to eat 3 slices of pizza instead of 1?
It was a learning curve and not something that happened over night. There were plenty of tears and me questioning what normal really was. I had no connection between my mind and body whatsoever because for so long I just went off of what was "good" and what was "bad".
I dove into researching. But this time I wasn't researching calories or fat content in food. I was researching self care. How to make my body healthy instead of skinny. What foods would help me thrive instead of which foods were low in calories (and high in chemicals). I started to view my body as something I honored instead of something I wanted to change. I slowly started to create this relationship with my body that I never had before. It was more like we were a team instead of always pushing against each other. On more than one occasion I had to prove to myself that I wouldn't gain 5 lbs if I indulged. I had to prove to myself that if I didn't weigh myself for a week, everything would still be right in the world. And very slowly I got rid of my scale. I started to go off of how I felt opposed to how much I weighed. I began to understand that if I took care of my body it was going to take care of me.
I've been diet free for about 2 years now. When I start feeling off or feel like i'm not thriving, I go back to basics. Self Care. I worry less about food and more about stress management. I take a look at my self care routine and my self talk. I look and see if I'm taking time for myself and respecting my body. It always gets me back on the right path and feeling like myself again.
Something interesting happened to me the other day. As I said, I don't weigh myself, but the other day I was at the doctor and stepped on the scale. It was 145. At first I didn't think anything of it, it's just a number after all. And than it hit me. When I was going through my dieting, I weighed in the upper 180's. My DREAM was to get to 145. Every diet I started was for the sole purpose of getting to that number. It never happened. Being diet free has helped me thrive, fee better than I knew possible and coincidentally, got me to that weight without me even knowing it. Now that number holds no value to me, but the way that I honor myself, trust my body and nourish my mind, does. When we stop focusing on the number or diet and shift our focus to our well being and self care, life will change.
I hope you take some time today to honor yourself and listen to what your body wants. You are worth it.
Here's a thought that didn't make sense to me for a long time; The relationship I have with myself, effects the relationships I have with others. Let that sink in for a second. Growing up I wasn't a huge fan of myself (I think most women feel that way). I was always looking for a diet so I could change the way I looked. I was constantly thinking negative things about myself every time I looked in the mirror. These might be the obvious tasks we do as humans that promote our self hate and self destructive behavior, but what about the other things?
If you ask me what the most important things are in my life I would list them off easily. My husband, family, faith, my business, my health and being overall happy. I can do without fancy shmancy cars and a big house, I just want to be surrounded by the people I love. As a women, I have a tendency to want to care for others. It's not a bad thing, I think we should embrace those nurturing tendencies we have and use them to fill up everyone's cup around us. But, and this is a big but, we need to fill up our own cup first. Until it's overflowing. And continue to fill it up for the rest of our lives.
So back to my thought from the beginning. The relationship I have with myself, effects the relationships I have with others. I was somewhat blindsided by this not too long ago. I know all about positive self talk. I understand nourishing your body with whole foods. What got me was understanding that my work(something I love to do and could do non stop) could also be something negative for me if I didn't approach it correctly. Most women can relate this to just about anything. Maybe it's your kids. Your kids are more than likely your whole world. You would do absolutely anything for them and give and give and give. And you know what? That's perfectly fine, as long as you are also giving and giving and giving to yourself.
My business became my baby. All I wanted to do was give to it. My self care (without me even realizing it) got put on the back burner. I stopped working out because I taught so many classes a week I didn't think I needed it. My personal development became creating content for classes. My journaling became writing blog post two days a week. I wasn't taking care of me and in return my relationship with myself began to suck and my business began to just kinda float. My negative self talk came creeping back, my self doubts and insecurities were surrounding me and for the life of me I couldn't figure it out.
It is imperative that we put ourselves at the top of our list because it allows us to do all of things we're passionate about. My relationship with my husband is the most important thing in my life. But here's the deal, when I don't take time for myself I turn into a cranky wife. When I don't take care of myself my business becomes forced and I go on auto pilot. When I don't take care of myself I lose my value therefor my other relationships begin to suck.
So, here's what I did to get out of my funk. I took some great advice from, well, me. I sat and thought to myself, what am I telling my clients, and what am I not doing? Here's what I came up with.
1. I bought myself a month at a yoga studio, guilt free.
This is a big one for me because well, I love my studio. I love being there, and the energy and all the happiness that is created in there. But there's something to be said about going somewhere and being the client and not the boss. I'm going 2-3x a week and it's finally helping me feel like myself again.
2. I've let things go just a bit. Again, my studio is my baby. Would you let some stranger be in charge of your kid while you're gone? It's not that easy! So for the past couple months i've had some amazing women interning with me and teaching them the iamwell ways. Not only is it exciting for me to see how stoked they are to begin teaching, but it's a sigh of relief when I can go on vacation and trust whats happening in the studio. It allows me to let go a little bit and work on filling my cup up.
3. I began to trust myself. Up until a couple weeks ago I was spending hours every day prepping my classes (classes that i've been teaching for years). That's a lot of wasted time. I've become more flexible and trusting my instincts when it comes to what clients needs. I give myself 15-20 minutes to go over a class outline and than trust my instincts from there.
4. I've put myself first, most of the time. I am of course still working on this one, but I do make promises to myself I try to keep. When it comes to scheduling clients in I will schedule them so i'm sure I have sometime to get my own self care in. When I'm making a schedule I might have to re arrange a couple classes so I'm not teaching 6 days a week. Small tweaks like this remind me of my value and in return help me value my relationships more.
I know this post was based around my current experience and my business. We're not all business owners but I think it's easy to replace business with kids, husband, family, etc... Put yourself at the top of your list. If you can't care for yourself, you can't care for others.
I hope you all are having a great week and are being kind to yourselves!
Stress and anxiety go hand in hand and is something that we all experience at one time or another. Owning a business has put me smack dab in the center of anxiety filled experiences but it has also allowed me to learn how to deal with it in a positive way.
When it comes down to it, most anxiety stems from chronic stress. Short term, acute stress is actually a great thing for our bodies to experience. It's the fight or flight response we naturally have. It lets us know to run when we see danger. It keeps us protected. Chronic stress is long term and continuous. It can be from a stressful job, a negative relationship or anything else in your life that causes you to constantly worry.
My first and foremost suggestion is to take a look at your stress levels. What is something that drains you and leaves you constantly stressed out? What can you do to adjust it? Changing careers might not be in the cards but the way we approach our life stressors might be just the thing we need to adjust. Here are some of the ways I personally have learned to take charge of my stress and anxiety.
1. Have a normal workout routine.
Being active is a great way to make you feel great and reduce stress. I recommend this to anyone. Working out use to be my go to stress relieving activity. Now that i'm teaching so many classes during the week I don't always have the energy to do the same types of workouts I use to enjoy (high intense, long runs, etc). Find something that works for you and fits into your lifestyle. My workout routine is not necessarily in the gym anymore. I teach during the week and outside of that I Iove hiking, kayaking, yoga and walking. For the average person who doesn't teach 12x a week, I suggest shooting for at least 30 minutes a day and get a good mix of strength straining, stretching and cardio vascular workouts. Find things you enjoy doing and schedule them into your day.
2. Yoga and/or meditate.
This has drastically helped me deal with stress and anxiety. Meditations can be different for different people. I like to follow along with a guided meditation anywhere from 10-30 minutes. I usually lay on my back with my legs up a wall. I try to do this daily and typically do it mid afternoon when my stress begins to kick in. I also like to add in a few yoga flows with it. That helps me connect my mind and body and bring me back to a calm state of mind.
3. Nourish your body.
Hydrate and eat foods that help energize the body. Stick to whole, real foods and work towards creating balanced meals. When we take care of our bodies, our bodies will take care of us.
4. Get enough Z's.
Get your sleep! I need at least 8 hours for me to function properly and be productive throughout the day. Have a relaxing bedtime routine. I try to limit my cell phone use, I get my diffuser going and enjoy a comforting cup of tea.
5. When all else fails.
When anxiety hits and I can't get out of the moment I like to do this little activity.
Think of 5 things you can see
Think of 4 things you can hear
Think of 3 things you can touch
Think of 2 things you can smell
Think of 1 thing you can taste
This helps calm the brain down and bring you back into reality.
Your action item this week is to find one activity you can do daily to help reduce stress. Let me know how it goes!
Every Friday my husband and I like to enjoy pizza! Being able to make our own has become a fun treat to look forward to. Give this recipe a shot tonight and let me know how it goes!
Have a great weekend ladies and happy Friday!
Happy Wednesday ladies! We’re half way through the week which means it’s a perfect time to check in with our self care and see how we are doing. I don’t know about you but when I put my self care on the back burner, I start to get stressed, anxious and moody. My days start to feel long and burnout comes quick. When I take time daily to nourish my body (and that looks different everyday) I’m happier, more productive and having this feeling of energy that I can’t quite explain.
Self care isn’t something I’ve always done. In fact, it’s been pretty recent that it’s turned into a normal part of my day. Each day I listen to my body and do something that I feel like is going to nourish me. For example yesterday it was loud music and a super intense workout. Today it was some chill yoga followed with a cup of coffee (by my fake fireplace, it’s the weather). No matter who you are, what season you’re in or how hectic your life is, daily self care is a priority you can’t mess with. Some days it might be an hour to yourself, other days it might be 60 seconds of deep breathing. I like to listen to my body and give it what it craves.
If you’re struggling a bit with making self care a priority- no worries! You must be human too! Give yourself a break, be kind and read my top tips 4 for making self care a daily practice.
1. Schedule it in until it becomes a priority.
Now, I know all people are different. For me, scheduling it in my calendar helped me before it became a habit. For some people that might stress them out even more. Do what you need to do but find a way to keep yourself accountable. I keep my whole life in my calendar and love crossing things off my list. Before it became a natural part of my day I would schedule in a time frame that I had to do something for myself. If pen and paper isn’t your thing, set a reminder in your phone throughout the day or tell your significant other you’re getting your self care in before 10:00am. Find someone or something that can hold you to it until you can do it yourself.
2. Do things you enjoy!
This is so important. We are looking for things that nourish your mind, body and soul. I want you to feel alive, empowered and whole. So with that being said, Don’t schedule in a 6 mile run if you would much rather be journaling and sipping tea. We grow up in a world that thinks everything needs to be hard work in order to feel accomplished. We are changing that mindset. This is YOUR SELF CARE. What feels good to you that doesn’t feel like a job? Do it and enjoy it.
3. Switch it up.
Embrace the different seasons you’re in and don’t feel like you have to do the same thing every day. Self care can mean different things to different people. Do what makes you feel good!
4. Prove it to yourself.
You know those days where you’re so busy you just can’t even find a minute for yourself? That’s when you need it the most. You will be more productive, happier and less stressed if you squeeze that time into your day. Prove it to yourself until you start to believe it.
I hope your self care is going smoothly and you’re all having a vibrant week. Let me know in the comments below what type of self care activities you’ve done recently.
Also, check out this lasagna recipe, it might be the perfect one to try tonight!
My name is Hanna Kuyper and my mission for iamwell comes directly from my past experiences. Read more