Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Transitions

I have not written a lot here lately; I thought it was because I was too busy/not inspired/nothing worth talking about.  Turns out that I was changing.  Turns out that I was stressing out over things that I hadn't identified, actually things that hadn't yet happened and things that happened a lot time ago and affected me in ways that I didn't realize.


I experienced a couple of really intense coaching sessions in the last few weeks that allowed me to understand the transition that I am experiencing.  Without going into it specifically, I needed to talk about something that I absolutely did not want to discuss.  I had to talk about it when I was screaming inside that I want to hide and  not go there and pretend it isn't occurring.  I accidentally blurted it out to a friend of mine while I was doing a heart to heart exchange of crap going on in our lives.  And I felt the lift in my spirits immediately.

I had gone through an experience which prepped me for this, but I identified it as an off limits topic.  I grudgingly answered the questions on my coaching session last week- and it allowed a tiny little leak in my wall that was holding an ocean of troubles in.

The thing is that this experience that I am referring to was a total not fair/blind-side me situation that had me reeling for days.  I mean days and days of feeling in a funk and not feeling worthy and feeling like I must have done something wrong, even though I am only guilty of being an imperfect human who meant no harm.  It was one of those situations that when you tell a couple (2 to be exact) friends about it, they are totally supportive, but somewhere deep inside you don't believe it.  You relive a situation over and over and beat the crap out of yourself for reacting like you instead of like a different person.  You know deep inside that you are not worthy of love and respect and decency.

Anyway, I am one to look for something good to come out of every situation, no matter how unfair and obnoxious, but I can see it today.  Today I can see that I needed to face my fears and worries, that I was no longer the same person I was and I am transitioning.  Not into a new me or anything, just transitioning into a new phase of life.  The situation, as horrible as it was, released those little leaks in the wall and the flow has begun.  I am beginning to flow into another stage of my life.

I realize this moment that I have truly begun to divest myself of the residual effects of a lifetime of dieting.  I have quit using my exercise app, I never count calories or track my food.  I am understanding the lingering thought blockages from restriction and am reliving some of the ways I felt before I lost weight.  I have days when I feel horrible in my body, but I now understand that there is some emotional thing that I need to deal with to make that feeling go away. Though I don't consider dieting- I sometimes feel my brain want to grasp onto the safety of restriction and overexercising. Safety that came from diverting my attention to what was really bothering me to obsessing about how I looked.  And I did that for so many many years.  It is never too late.

After a really brutal coaching session yesterday, Anne-Sophie said to me- do  you realize that you are not dealing with all these feelings with food at all?  I got the biggest smile on my face.  It is true.  I just don't.  Wow, that is huge.  No hiding food from people, no arguing with myself over what and when to eat, no spending massive amounts of money on things to eat or items to use to exercise with. No supplements that seriously do nothing for you anyway.  This was a happy moment.

The flow that began during these latest coaching sessions has continued today.  I have identified two more HUGE memories of people that have abandoned/turned on me for a reason that is still not known.  And I may never know why these things happened, and the thing is that it doesn't matter anymore.  Now that I know that these things drive some very deep seated fears of mine, it is much easier to examine these painful memories.  It also makes it easier to see how I sometimes distance myself from people that young Debi sees as a danger.  A danger that they will leave me somehow and I won't have the pleasure of their friendship anymore.  That I am not worthy of them keeping in touch with me.  That I will be abandoned.

I am saying these things because I know that there are a lot of people who might read this  are at the beginning of their journey and you NEED to know that it is possible to change.  I had completed the first "successful" diet of my life 5 years ago, and felt just as horrible about myself as I had before.  I got to my goal weight and kept lowering it.  I got to my goal weight and all I could think of was I didn't want to do this all my life.  I just didn't want to DO this all the time.  And then I started looking around for some sort of guidance and Isabelle Foxen Duke said on a podcast with Anne-Sophie (first time I ever heard of my sweet coach A-SR) that she didn't want to think about food every god damn minute of her life.....  I grabbed that phrase and have held it tight because it spoke a basic truth that I knew was valid.

It is simple but it is not easy.  It isn't difficult, it is different.  And it is worth every penny, every tear, every page in a journal and meditation time and facing of fears and realizing how you can live an authentic life - a life that is large as you want....  a life where you don't have to shrink to meet the needs of someone else.

And we are all more than good enough for that.

Friday, June 9, 2017

summer time quick hits

Hello everyone!

It has been a LONG time since I wrote, the end of the school year is nutty and I have been mentally drained....

Anyway, I have had lots of plans for posts, but the length that they were bound to become made me defer it until "later".  Well apparently later became 6 weeks.

So, I thought I would write a little thing I thought of or dealt with lately- and something popped to my mind immediately.

Today was FINALLY the last day we were required to be at school and unfortunately it will be the last truly awesome day for a week, so I decided to ride my bike.  It is warm yet breezy, really good for riding.  I was going to just sit around, but I can do that tomorrow when it is supposed to get hot- relatively. Northern WI hot at least.

I decided to put on a tank top and leggings and when I looked in the mirror, I had a pause when I saw myself in that tank.  I do not have visible muscles anymore, I used to be quite sure that everyone thought that was the best thing about me.  As I was biking and I looked down at my arms that are more the "real me" - strong yes, but not starved into submission- I again had this little tiny moment of regret.  Today though, the Debi who is not in diet prison any more, who doesn't over exercise, the woman who values who she is inside, spoke up and assured me that those visible muscles were pretty meaningless.  That how I look in a tank is not the important thing in life and how we are so conditioned to think that if we look different from those people we see in the media  means we can't possibly be awesome or desirable or strong or happy.

HAHA!  Good point.  I am happy.  And I will wear what I want and I will not avert my eyes from the mirror because I don't look like I did 3 years ago.  It is something that still comes up, but my inner self is much more aggressive about calling out that disordered thinking.  And pretty soon I think those thoughts will just fade away.  And this is a good thing.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

My walking companions

I use walking as a major source of stress relief, the movement to keep myself "in shape" (be able to climb every mountain and kayak every sea- now sing that to yourself in the "Sound of Music" song and see if that leaves your head anytime soon. :) ) and as an excuse to take pictures.  These may or may not be any particular order, and that can change on any given day.  Anyway, I usually listen to podcasts while I am walking.

The podcasts I listen to are the diet recovery type (because I don't know what else to listen to right now) - including the one that I am a part of   I sometimes listen to my music but regretfully my phone doesn't have my favorite playlists anymore---  an unfortunate occurrence when I had to replace my phone last summer.  I have to reload them from my Dropbox at some point, but you know- sometimes things like that just don't get done.

The problem with listening to podcasts while you are walking is that you forget what in the world you were inspired by whilst walking, and this is getting to be a real problem.  Am I going to have to take along a notepad??  I get distracted by many things- mostly my incredibly active imagination- and I indeed forget by the end of the hour or so.  sigh.  I will listen to them again soon, but I did retain a memory from the end of a different podcast than Escape Diet Prison.  The ones I listen to are really good, but today it was apparent to me how different I am, in many ways, than most of the people who participate in the body positive/anti-diet sort of media.

A woman was chatting with the host about her history and what she does and she talked about how back several years ago she was just a child and so different--- and then she said she was 26. (All of my children are older than her)   hmmmm.  I am not saying that what this lovely person wasn't interesting or relevant or authentic.  She was- but when I heard her tell her age, I started thinking about how different things were "when I grew up".

Maybe the different isn't so much the when-I-grew-up sort of thing, but instead the how-long-I-have-been-doing-this sort of thing.  I don't mean at all to imply that younger people haven't gone through a lot of shit in their life.  People who have really suffered the physical and emotional effects of an eating disorder or disordered eating of any sort clearly have been through combat. And recovery from that is brutal.

I have been through that combat, and it is not fun, but it does lead to a much better life.  But beyond that, I have been around a while and I have probably never had a truly comfortable relationship with my body.  Until now.  I think back to my 20's and 30's and 40's and know that I was on a constant quest to change myself.

What began in my early teens with a casual comment that I would grow into my "baby fat", my mother admitting that she smoked to keep her weight down, the magazines that even then plugged different products that would guarantee weight loss.  It was hard to find cute clothes, or at least that was my perception at "my size".  We only had one car and we lived a distance from the mall and clothes stores....  and manufacturers really did not make stylish clothes in larger sizes.  If you think that you have a hard time now (it seems recently- in the last 2/3 years- that this is getting better: thank you internet) you should have been around then.

Forward to my 20's when I had my three boys.  I was cautioned over and over not to gain too much weight (while pregnant)- for no other reason that I could see than to keep my weight down.  I tested fine for everything including gestational diabetes and all the other lovely things that can happen.  While no one actively told me to lose my baby weight, that was expected.  In spite of no internet, there was pressure to regain your pre pregnancy body.  Ladies I knew complained about how they grew shoe sizes or how their waists were never the same.  Some hated that the boobs they grew during pregnancy then shrunk and then sagged.  You know because we want to stay the exact same from the age of 14 on until we are 85..... and those changes are so bad.  (sarcasm alert)

As the kids grew, I continued on my quest to lose weight, and was successful once or twice.  But as diets do, once you quit or are bingeing in response to the restrictions,  they fail. I was waiting for an art teaching job to open, so I was biding my time until I could begin a full time job.  All the while wishing for a different body.  Ignoring the fact that I was very frustrated and impatient to start a job I wanted. As we all have,  I was dealing with my own things in my life and all the while - so not happy.

I remember waking up for years thinking how I was going to "start today" to lose weight and then by the end of the day - I did things to make myself perceive that I failed.  I focused on my eating, I beat myself up if I didn't get the correct amount of exercise, I didn't feel like I had enough money to invest in the programs that were actually in our remote area- things like Weight Watchers or what have you. Instead I used the information that a friend had as she used it, and she shared.  I bought special food, restricted my calories, recorded everything and eventually got so sick of it all that I gave up.  Or I should say allowed myself to just drop it gradually.

I did this with a few programs, lost weight and then gained it back.  And then felt awful, all the while our culture encouraged that feeling of failure by always having a new program that was "sure to work when other things let you down".  Always a tone of- wow you loser, you can't even follow a simple diet.  I felt like I couldn't do anything right because I was always so hungry I caved.

Fast forward to the internet and me getting a smart phone and eventually a computer and WIFI.  And there was my"savior" a health and fitness app that helped me keep track of my food and exercise.  I had my phone with me always so I could fill in the form all the time and ALSO I had **friends** who helped support my quest.

I am not going to say that using the app and finding these friends was a bad thing because 2 or 3 of those people have become some of my closest friends.  I can not regret that time, as I actually came into my own - and most likely because of my age- I began doing things EVEN IF I was afraid.  My parents did not encourage doing unsafe things, my husband certainly does not, and I for the most part found "safe" friends.  But once online, I found not "safe" friends- not that they were creepy, but they did not encourage me to stay exactly the same and not break out of my shell.  My safe friends encouraged me to do things I didn't think I could do.  One of them constantly challenged me to do things I implied I couldn't.  And then I did.

Perhaps all these things happened because I grew up in a time when we were much less connected, and we lived on a farm far from our neighbors and I loved 10 miles from school.  My parents very much kept to themselves and we socialized with only a few families, most were relatives.  I understand how I am a product of my environment and of my own personality tendencies.

Anyway, I find I have a very different perspective on life these days, and it is frequently underscored when I am interacting with the many younger friends that I have.  Just because you are different doesn't mean you are wrong, and just because you are older doesn't mean your view is not important. We have a lot to share and a lot to teach, but it is very good to listen for alternative points of view as well.  But know that you have more wisdom than you can ever imagine and when you blossom and trust yourself and believe that you are worthy of sharing your thoughts.  You are more than good enough to contribute to this world.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Good enough

An interesting side effect of stopping restrictions, over-exercising and generally escaping the diet prison mentality is the fact that your mind is open to a whole lot more things.  Many of these things are positive, but sometimes what happens is your other insecurities pop up!

This is not exactly a pleasant experience, but it is a place from which personal growth can flourish.  I, like every other person in the world, am haunted by feelings of inadequacy.  Of course in an area that I get the most artistic and personal satisfaction, but yet I never feel like I can measure up to those I admire.  I imagine it is because I want to be "GOOD" at my personal passion of photography.


My issue is my perceptions of others.  I perceive that they have the way of thinking that is technical and mechanical and computer literate and they have extreme attention to detail and unlimited patience, knowledge, money and time- in other words: the ability to be a way better photographer than I am.  Lol.  I am exaggerating, but seriously, this is the path that I lead myself on when I look at the work of the people I admire the most.  It never occurs to my hyper-critical mind that perhaps they go through the same processes and struggles that I do.  Or the fact they all focus on one or two types of photography and don't do the same things I do.  And seriously how nice they are and how helpful they always seem to be if you ask for advice.

I doubt that these people would agree with my perceptions of them, and indeed I hamper my growth sometimes by getting distracted by all the stuff I like to do in addition to photography.  The saying goes- a jack of all trades, master of none.

As an art teacher, I definitely am a jackie of all trades- I can draw, paint, do clay, print making, etc, and I can hold the hand (figuratively) of my students as I go, helping them feel successful and teaching them about life and relationships and work ethic and creativity and perseverance.  They think I can do everything.  And if I can't, I can figure out how to fix it.

When I get out into the adult world, things are a little less full of admiration.  And I occasionally take this fact as rejection of any skills I actually do have....  oy.

Ok, so this isn't really all about photography, it is about the things I reflected on when this came up in my most recent coaching session.  I need to step back and think about things more realistically, less full of the feelings of inadequacy and insecurity.  I went through these feeling about my art teaching a few years ago, and I have worked through that fairly satisfactorily.  

The good thing about not being in Diet Prison is that you have so many other things that you can do with your life other than plan, execute and regret the things that you eat.  Fun activities that you can participate in besides figuring out how to burn the most calories in the most efficient way.  Ways to keep yourself occupied that does not involve research on the latest food fads, exercise trends, and fitness apps and apparatus.

But we have, lying in wait, the real issues that bother us.  These issues are ready to pop up when we are not paying attention.  They make us doubt ourselves and our go to response is to turn inward and blame ourselves for things we never learned or interests that never served us.  We are face to face with a job we still hate, a relationship that is toxic for our mental health, or being overwhelmed with people taking advantage of our unwillingness to disappoint someone and therefore we end up doing things that we smile and say we are fine with, but underneath we are seething and resentful.  The true issues that are still there and bubble into our consciousness.

It seems that these thing like to happen when you are innocently washing dishes, driving your car or when someone makes comments to you that alarm you.  You don't have the distraction of hating your body, but that might still be the go to reaction.  I find I have STILL times when I get unhappy with the way I freaking look in reaction to a great amount of stress in some aspect of my personal life.  We must deal with the underlying things that really, REALLY are there and causing us pain.  (Photography isn't a real painful topic, but it is important enough to me, and deeply personal, that it makes a good example)

SO, self care:   self coaching..... paid coaching....  meditation.... deep breathing..... journaling.....
this is my arsenal of tools that help me get ahold of myself.  So I can get back to feeling light and easy again.  So I can take another step down the path of true healing.  If you are in this place, know that it is normal.  Know that you can do this, you can face your life without the shield of dieting.  You can deal with your problems past and present and not blame your body for them.  You don't have to restrict your food and make yourself smaller to please those around you.   You, like me- we are more than good enough to take up our space.



The last couple of weeks...

I have had a very busy and sort of stressful couple of weeks here, I am presently on a break from school- as short one, but still- and I just listened to our latest podcasts.  There seems to be some issues with ITunes and the podcast library, which is disturbing.  Hopefully I will be able to link this up soon.

It is interesting how little things pop out at you when you are least expecting it- this happened to me just recently, and I am so happy to say I had the tools to deal with it.

In short, I had an exchange with a person who talked in great detail on how they restrict and what foods they do and don't eat and then went on to do some minor size shaming as well.  I just don't hear that very often anymore.  I also did not manage to get "into it" because it was just not worth it and wasn't the time or place.

Immediately before this event, I had some big body acceptance moments- as in, I was feeling bad about parts of me and it manifested itself while I was putting on an outfit....  which made me really edgy and cranky. The next day while getting ready in the morning I suddenly understood what was going on.  I don't want to make it seem like my entire interaction with this person was horrible, I love this friend so much, but that aspect of her makes my eye twitch.

I found I was able to step back from the whole situation and look at my reactions with curiosity and interest.  I was able to redirect my brain and feelings- I had a real hard time the next day, but I was able to synthesize the whole thing and come to a satisfactory conclusion....

People are truly afraid of fat.  They are afraid to have it, to experience it and to look at it.  They make judgements that are not at all based on true authentic science, as related to health and I think they are just afraid to see it. I might be way off base, but maybe not so much.

It is a pervasive idea that being heavy is unhealthy, as previously discussed in my Bob v. Oprah post. So, lets turn inward and look at this. Is there any person in the world who MATTERS that will love you less because of weight?  As Anne-Sophie said, she never looked at her mother and thought I would love my mother more if she lost x number of pounds.  It just doesn't matter.  My grandchildren won't enjoy being with me less or more based on weight.  It's a battle some days.

Yeah, that's all I have today.  :)


Saturday, March 18, 2017

Bob and Oprah

The Escape Diet Prison podcast has had 2 celebrities as points of discussion lately, here and here, and apparently they have been pretty popular.  And shockingly (no really- I am surprised) one of them was actually controversial.

People who know me in real life do understand that I am not a person who goes in for controversy.  I don't like conflict, I even get a little antsy during something that is supposed to be "fun" like a football game.  I just don't like it.  

So it was a surprise to me when I found out that MANY people messaged Anne-Sophie about our Bob Harper discussion.  Some people felt we were being unkind, thin-shaming and the like.  **needlescratchmoment**

Seriously??

Let's step back to the Oprah episode for a moment.  It was a very popular episode apparently- I want you to know that I have no knowledge of numbers or comments because I am not in any form an owner of the podcast.  Which is a-ok, dandy and fine with me!  I just know that was one a lot of people listened to.  We discussed ideas about whether Oprah should be trying to become something she is not, why the wealthiest woman in the US and a talented entrepreneur should try to be changing her body and most of all why she is using her popularity for financial gain.  None of us are particular Oprah fans, but we have no overt problem with her, in fact have varying degrees of admiration for her success in business, etc.  We did talk about why someone who is as successful as she is feels the need to change herself- could be construed possibly as somewhat controversial, but as far as I know there were few or no people saying we were picking on Oprah.

Fast forward to Bob Harper.  Here we discussed how different it would be (and Oprah's name was  brought up) if someone heavy would have had this heart attack, how the media and others would not have blamed genetics, how this man- as he makes his living to look a certain way as a trainer- most likely over exercises and (as Leila discussed- a man as tall as he is to only weigh what he does) this guy restricts his food.  He is not a teenager anymore(52?), people tend to put on natural weight as they age, their hormones are not the same...... There was little to no discussion in the media reports that thin at any cost might have been partially responsible for his health issues.  HIS ACTIONS MIGHT HAVE HAD SOMETHING TO DO WITH IT!!  And we are scolded for possible thin-shaming and other more mysterious things that are not easily identifiable.  We were being mean.  Um, no.

I (and I assume we) have no bad feelings for the person that is Bob.  He is most likely a nice person, but Bob is on a bad tv show.  A tv show that fat shames others.  A tv show that starved and over-exercised contestants, one that encouraged them to eat less food than the calories they burned....  a tv show that one blogger pointed out- if the producers did this to animals they would have been shut down by animal rights activists so fast their heads would have spun. (this was paraphrasing but the spirit is the same).  How is it that its ok to in essence torture people and it is ok for our entertainment?

So it is ok that we called out Oprah but not Bob?  Why is that?  Could it be that we were destroying ideas (that are LIES )so deeply embedded in our culture that people feel threatened by it?  Were we discussing things that hit so close to home in a person's journey that they lashed out so they didn't have to do that body image work, or feel that feeling, or know that what is presented as the truth in our culture is one of the biggest fallacies in our world??  If you feel uncomfortable about this- think about why?  Oprah is heavy, a woman, a woman of color, and beloved by many.  Bob Harper is thin, a male, a white male, and is probably seen as an authority figure of some sort.  It challenges much of what we believe in our core to be correct.  That a guy who looks like he does- he cannot be held accountable for his genetics, and yet it is just fine for Oprah to "fix" the one thing that to some peoples eyes needs fixing.  That it is fine for Bob to diet and over exercise however he deems necessary to look a certain way, and yet, by the lack of response to our discussion, people feel that it is ok for Oprah to adhere to wanting to attain a certain look. STILL!!!  She STILL isn't quite right?!?! These are some of the deepest issues of our western world and it pisses people off when those "truths" are challenged. Thin privilege does not like to be questioned. And when it comes to it- how they look are not what is important about either of these two people.

We are better than this.  

Time to realize how our culture judges people- by the most shallow of requirements.  Time to really improve the quality of your life in meaningful ways- how our bodies look is not meaningful.  What is in your heart and soul, what you do to enrich your life and that of your loved ones, your service to others and what you stand for are far more deep and authentic.  Step out of your comfort zone for a moment and do that hard thing.  Believing what most people find unbelievable- that you are not  your body.  You are so much more than your shell.  You are already more than good enough.



Thursday, March 16, 2017

Daffodils and waterbottles- self care and balance

Self-care and balance was the subject of the last podcast that we (Leila had to miss this one- *sadness*) recorded and it is something that I have been thinking about ever since.  I was fortunate to have a little time to listen to us while I actually went for a walk- outside!  and in the SUN today and I wanted to develop the ideas I was trying to say in this episode.



Balance in life is "possible" but what exactly is that?  What does this- in the present day's popular vernacular- even look like? I think the answer to that is an individual's idea of balance.  For me- being an optimist that I am- balance means that I am happy, that the irritations of the day leave me immediately after the situation has resolved itself, that I am happy to talk to people when I see them and I am happy to be alone when I get home as well.  I think happy is at my center of balance.

What could this look like to other people?  Could your balance mean literally that the bad times during the day are balanced by things going sort of ok- that your generally pessimistic outlook on life is balanced by a few things that don't suck?  I know people like that.  Are you an introvert and your balance in life is being largely left alone because you work in a somewhat solitary job, and you have a small family and limited social life, but enjoy being out and about in a limited fashion?  Perhaps you are fairly extroverted and you are on the phone with your friends frequently, and have a public workplace, then need to spend time with others in the evening and chit chat on text until you go to bed? What does balance mean to you?  I am not criticizing these ways of looking at life, merely thinking of people I know and trying to see from their point of view and imagining what could be a balanced life.  I, of course, only barely touched the surface of this, but the amazing differences in people would lead to different definitions of what balance is.

In our case, we were discussing the balance between real life and healing and I have to imagine that everyone processes this differently as well. I have to imagine not everyone can do this, but,  I personally went cold turkey when I began my healing and escaping from diet prison.  I quit weighing, dieting, and embracing diet culture really quickly, in literally a day.  I decided to stop and I did.  This does mean that I floundered around for quite a while, because after more than a couple decades of thinking that following diets and shrinking myself was the only way to self fulfillment, it took a lot of time and a lot of self care and body image work to change the way I saw myself.  There was not a lot of balance during the first few years of healing, there was a lot more feeling free, though.  It was outstanding to just eat what I wanted.  It took a lot longer to come to terms with the exercise component but I did.  It is so nice to really not care what I have for any given meal.  I don't care what my macros look like, don't think about if I have had more than 2 pieces of bread in a day, feel no concerns when I pick up a second cookie if it will feel good in my tummy.

Freedom gave me the space in my mind to work on my body image and my self worth.  I said in the podcast that I still have feelings that I am not doing enough, that I don't deserve to take rest time, or have down days.  (The self worth work goes on, but it is much easier to identify that there is something that needs to be turned and examined.)  So there surely was not a lot of balance during my early recovery period, there was just a lot of time given to my inner work.  I did a lot of guided meditations, I journaled, I had group and private coaching.  The meditations included visualizations and breathing work. I was religious in working on these things, doing the assignments and writing prompts from the group coaching, listening to the "tapes", finding new things to read and people to follow on social feeds.  And then I found I didn't have the NEED to listen to my morning meditation.  Didn't HAVE to journal for pages and pages every day....  that is when the balance began to happen.

I was trying to convey in the podcast that I think the balance of healing and real life happen in ebbs and flow.  We have cycles of nature, cycles of energy, and I think cycles of balance and imbalance.  I think the balance in our life happen when we can handle the things that are bringing us to our knees or making us not sleep at night or rest like a giant ball in your chest that take up all the space you usually have for patience, and breath, and love, and compassion.  When we know what authentic self-care tools we have to use and where we can go when we are in crisis.  The balance comes in knowing that we can find our way out of this and it does not involve trying to control life and people and situations and love by making ourself LOOK different or a certain way or a eat a different way because if I lose weight everything will be right again, because it is sort of magical because all the people on tv and the internet say our life will be perfect if we shrink and take up less space and become less than what we are.  whew.  No- that won't work at all, dieting won't work at all.

Self-care tools at their finest frequently don't cost anything.  They don't involve having someone do something fancy or luxurious for you.  While having the pedicure or massage or buying the shoes or the daffodils or taking that bath in the good bubbles might be momentarily amazing, these are the lesser self care practices.  These don't bring to your mind the things that affected your outlook on life from your childhood, or the friends that betrayed your, or the trauma you suffered, nor really do they help you see them from where you are living now, from your present point of view.  They don't let you really decide that the mean girl in your mind is really not speaking the truth.  The lesser self care practices don't cause the sublimation of healing happen in your mind and change your go to responses to stress.

Writing in  journal/notebook/scrap paper, meditation in whatever form works for you, movement that is healing and not punishing, breathing purposefully and rhythmically are things that are authentic forms of self care.  Moments that you find during your day- only 30 seconds or a minute- to truly give yourself positive reinforcement in some way are incredibly effective.  In my case, the water bottle filling, when I breathe slowly to relax myself is far superior to the beautiful little bouquet of daffodils I bought myself last week.  The flowers were lovely and I adore them, but they didn't quite do the trick to rescue me from my acute distress.  Coaching, visualization, time to actually relax and giving myself permission to be put aside things that just didn't need doing are what got me out of my funk.  I never could write out a sentence that said the last two weeks I have felt like a total disaster, a failure, a shipwreck and I can't sleep or relax  because.......  I kind of don't really know.  I do know that facing all the issues that were adding up and making myself stop several times a day to hold my hand on my heart and breathe into it was the thing that broke the cycle and has me back in balance.  Every time I face the demons and can bring myself back to balance without being on a diet or blaming my body for the situation brings me another day of peace.  

Take the time to find your own authentic self care and think about what balance means to you.  We are more than worth it.