At the start of Autumn last year, I was in the best shape of my life. I’d found just the right balance of workouts that made me feel strong, and utterly delicious food that my body was loving. Fast forward to November and I hurt my shoulder pretty badly at work, badly enough to take out anything but basic walking from my routine. I relaxed into the situation and welcomed the time to slow down. I “complained” about not being able to work out but I was secretly thanking my lucky stars for the time off. My body coasted along easily enough for awhile but eventually things just weren’t functioning as well. My digestion wasn’t as strong, my body was stiff, half my closet didn’t fit and the items that did were being reintroduced to a little thing called “muffin top”. Oy.
So I like to make a fuss about being all self-loving and such but I can’t say I accepted this little hiccup with ease. I didn’t feel good, the diet that worked 6 months ago made me feel sluggish, and every time I looked in the mirror at my snug tops and chipmunk cheeks I wanted to cry a little. All of this being said, I’m well practiced at not beating myself up when things aren’t perfect. I’ve played around a lot with food and not everything works. My body is basically a guinea pig for my wandering curiosity and I’m generally accustomed to it’s shifting shapes and reactions. So what’s my go to plan when I’m uncomfortable, unhappy, and unsure of what to do next?
1. Recognize that everything is impermanent. I’m not likely to get to a point where my body just stays the same for the rest of my life. No one way of eating works forever, no level of fitness remains stagnant. We go through phases in life, especially as women. Things shift around and we need to learn to flow, be flexible, accepting, and do the best we can with what we’ve got. You may experience phases of flawless, easy health where you love your body and everything seems perfect. And you may go through other periods where nothing is working. The best thing to do when you’re feeling stuck is to relax, accept that nothing lasts forever, and continue to be open to new possibilities.
2. Continue to act with kindness towards my body. Even if I’m frustrated. Even if my jeans are too snug. Even if the last thing I’m feeling is confident in my skin – I’m still nice to myself. I think of my friends or my baby sister and how heartbreaking it would be if I heard them beating themselves up when things weren’t the way they thought they *should* be. Sometimes “nice” means feeling my feelings, having a good cry, and moving on for the day. Sometimes it means buying a new pair of pants that let me move they way I want to (blue corduroy skinny pants in my case. super cute). No negative words, even if the circumstances aren’t my favorite.
3. Nourish myself properly. It’s that whole “listening to your body” thing. No starving or restricting, just maybe acknowledging that I’m not as active as I was awhile back so I probably don’t need as much fuel. It’s easy to go on autopilot when I’m used to eating a certain way without even acknowledging that I’m now going beyond my needs. Changes in life require extra presence.
So that’s that. In the last month I’ve been able to start getting back to my usual level activity and my body and mind are so grateful. I’m thankful for the rest but excited to feel strong again. That being said, I feel like I’m coming out of this with a new kind of strength.
How do you practice loving yourself through frustrating situations?