We recently talked about how the gift of radical self-love can help you navigate the stress-filled Sugar Holidays.
With the holidays behind us, it’s time to put self-love into action through an equally important gift for embracing wellness, releasing excess weight, and discovering a positive body image — the gift of radical self-care.
The great news is that you don’t need to rush around a crowded shopping center to find this gift, in fact you don’t have to wait to start enjoying it NOW!
Why We Neglect Self-Care
The New Year piles on even more responsibilities on top of our already-hectic lives.
Sadly, we often feel like we have to neglect our well-being:
● Our anthem unless we are on top of it is I do not have enough time.
● Impulse mode arrives along with our New Year’s resolutions.
● We get an extra serving of performance stress in the New Year.
● There’s pressure to put off what we really want/need.
● The weather weighs us down. The colder it gets, the more tempting it becomes to snuggle by the fireplace instead of walking outside.
Besides all these seasonal obstacles, there are plenty of year-round barriers to embracing the happy, healthy lives we deserve:
● Negative body image. We feel self-conscious about our appearance and our weight.
● Comparing ourselves to others. Whether at parties, on Facebook, or elsewhere, we measure ourselves against peers and celebrities. It’s a vicious cycle of self-hatred and body insecurity, and we lose sight of our authentic selves.
● Myopic focus on weight. Instead of embracing overall well-being, we obsess over numbers – on food labels, on our clothes, and on the scale.
● We think we just can’t do it. We’ll never be good enough, thin enough, or pretty enough, so why bother eating veggies instead of cookies in the first place?
● All-or-nothing thinking. If we eat one bite of dessert, we’re completely off the wagon. If we miss one day at the gym, we give up exercise altogether.
● All-right-now thinking. We have to lose all the weight today. If we can’t have the results we want right this second, what’s the point in taking care of ourselves at all?
If you’re facing these barriers, I can honestly say I feel your pain. Before finally releasing 100 pounds for good more than 27 years ago, I endured these same physical, emotional, and spiritual challenges. I’ve also had the pleasure of working with many fabulous women from around the globe who have walked the same path you’re on right now.
I’ve learned through much trial and error what you already know: permanent, healthy change is challenging. It can feel impossible. We know that most temporary diets fail. We know that permanent lifestyle changes have to take place before we can release excess weight for good and embrace the powerful woman inside. And on a bright note, this is healable.
It is not a life sentence.
Choosing the Path of Radical Self-Care
How do we overcome the obstacles that hold us back – during the Sugar Holidays and all year long?
Instead of viewing self-care as some onerous “job,” why not treat it as a beautiful gift? Here are Seven Simple Steps to launch your special journey down the path of radical self-care:
1. Start your self-care NOW. What are you waiting for? After all, this is your special present. Any day is the right day to take care of yourself.
2. Lead with self-love. When self-love is your priority, you’ll focus on overall wellness instead of weight loss – so it’s about the way you feel, not the size of your jeans.
3. Look for success in small packages. Just like a diamond ring that fits on your finger can be worth more than a house or car, healthy habits can be of great value when they come in small steps. Instead of throwing out all the “bad” foods in your kitchen all at once, start with one food you’d like to eat less of – or more of. Once that small change takes root, you can move on to other positive changes – one small step at a time.
4. Savor the process. Don’t wait until you lose weight or complete a marathon to reward yourself. Celebrate the small victories! Every time you enjoy healthier foods – do a little happy dance! Every time you finish your exercise, look in the mirror and say “Congratulations! You’re doing great.”
5. Forgive and learn. The next time you slip up and eat the “wrong” food or skip your morning jog – listen to the wisdom of Albert Einstein:
Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.
Mr. Einstein understood what we all know – change is challenging. New healthy habits – even when they’re good – take effort. When mistakes happen, forgive yourself, relish the chance to learn something new, and keep moving – one baby step at a time.
6. Keep calm when the Stress Alarm sounds. Remember when you learned what to do in an emergency? Whether it’s a burning building or a tornado warning – one of the most important rules is DON’T PANIC! Well guess what? The same rule applies in any stressful situation – including holiday stress! Worried about paying the bills? Getting the house ready for guests? The next time the Stress Alarm sounds, that’s your body’s signal for more care, not less. You’ll handle stressful situations better when you take care of yourself.
7. Finally, personalize your gift. A few years ago I worked with a wonderful client who had struggled with weight and self-confidence for years. After considering bariatric surgery, she finally decided against it after a single informational appointment. “I don’t want to do that!” she proclaimed.
What did she do instead? She started walking. Every day. Even on those cold Northeastern winter days. “No matter what, I’m going out in the cold!” she says.
Maybe going out in the cold isn’t your thing. While some find the chilly air to be energizing, others will not. The key is to find healthy routines that you can stick with no matter what.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to self-care. Can’t afford a gym membership? That’s okay! It’s perfectly fine to exercise at home, or walk at your Local Park or shopping center. We don’t all have access to the same things, but we can all do something that works for us.
Wherever you are in the world reading this or whatever stage you in with your personal self-care, I hope that this post gives you the encouragement you need to indulge in the gift of self-care for nourishing your physical, mental, and spiritual self – leading with radical self-love and focusing on wellness over weight.
That’s because you are already a strong, smart, beautiful woman who deserves a happy, healthy life – no matter what age you are or no matter what the number is on your scale!