As I've moved through the new year of 2017, I've done so with dragging feet. I have been going to the gym, making myself my morning smoothie, attending my yoga classes, yet still I feel like I have no energy to wake up everyday, no motivation. My passion seems to have vanished and I can't help but wonder why I haven't pushed through this slump already. I'm taking care of my body, aren't I? Shouldn't that mean I should feel good? As I've said in my previous post, everything is connected, so my next step is to look at what am I doing for myself spiritually and emotionally/mentally.

I've been trying to figure out what is making me feel this way. I have this feeling of loss, like the part of myself that is joyful has gone on vacation and the rest of me wasn't invited. I've felt that maybe it's where I'm living, my home town. It's small and there aren't many things going on. It lacks opportunities that bigger cities have; many people within this town struggle with homelessness and addiction. It's hard for me to meet other people who are passionate about life in general, and I spend a lot of time doing things on my own. Could these be reasons that I feel bad? Probably somewhat. For a while I determined that was the issue, but by doing that, I put the power to feel differently out of my hands. I decided I would feel bad until I moved. I was putting the blame on everyone else (nobody else having passion, being surrounded by other people's negativity.) Wait a minute, wasn't I just complaining about my own lack of passion and my own negativity? Our brains are funny sometimes. Maybe it's time to look inward instead of outward.

This time last year I was the most motivated I've ever been in my life. I woke up early everyday, commuted to school, came home, did homework, went to the gym, and worked out super hard. Every night it was hard to sleep, not from anxiety, like I have now, but because I was so excited about what I'd be doing the next day. I was excited to go to the gym, to try my new workout sequence that I was putting together while I was supposed to be sleeping. Every day I was so excited and full of energy. I was super confident and felt on top of the world. Nothing could stop me. I loved myself completely and believed I could do anything.

I lived in the same place I do now. Could school be a factor (another outward cause)? I was staying busier, I was surrounded by more people my age who were passionate and working toward their goals. I was close to graduation, my hard work paying off. After I graduated though, suddenly I was cut loose, a big goal of mine was complete, but I wasn't exactly sure where to go from there. I began to be harder on myself. Being harder on myself was an internal change, not an external one. Life transitions happen for everyone, and they're something we have to adapt to. We aren't superhuman and we can't always have the answers, but that doesn't mean we should think badly about ourselves. We have to trust the universe and trust ourselves. I want to go back to how I felt before, so I started thinking about how.

I am still the same person I was when I felt excited about life and was motivated everyday. I am still just as amazing and just as capable of doing anything I put my mind to. Over time I manifested some kind of negativity inside me that I now have to pep talk out of myself. Before, I was constantly pep talking myself, thinking about how great I was, how much I loved myself and in turn, I loved everything and everyone else too. When I was understanding with myself, I was understanding of everyone. When I felt deserving of love, I gave love freely. It was hard to be in a bad mood or to think badly about anyone. I wasn't thinking about how trapped I felt in my hometown, I was thinking about possibilities.

I didn't get to that place overnight, it took so much time of healing, patience, care, and everyday practicing kindness toward myself. When I practiced it everyday, it eventually became my natural state of being. It was a mantra I told myself, my pep talk, "I love myself. I can do anything. I am amazing. Being alive is amazing. This earth is amazing and there is so much life and so many opportunities. I'm working toward my goals and making progress. Every action I take is an opportunity to be my best self. I'm having fun." At the beginning I didn't feel these things all the time, but I still said them to myself constantly and it became true. When I felt confident in myself, other people saw me as confident, and it became a positive feedback loop.

What I've been doing, going through the motions of self love by taking care of my body, is very important, but I also have to pay attention to how I view the world, and I must self reflect every day. Self reflection is how we learn. I'm going to work on getting back to my self love goddess empowerment. Feeling unempowered or trapped is often easier than looking at ourselves for answers and making changes. It is a path that we are often used to, our brain takes us there before it takes us to self love, but doesn't lead to happiness. I don't want to be stuck going through motions without enjoyment. I don't want to do things just to do them and end up tired all the time. I deserve to be happy. I deserve to enjoy everything I do and have passion for life. So I invite you all to join me in my journey. Self love isn't easy and it doesn't happen overnight, but it's worth it. I have to love myself out of my bad days. This applies to women and to men. Tell yourself every day that you are amazing. Take the steps, baby steps to show yourself the love. Maybe you go the gym for 15 minutes, praise yourself instead of being negative. We all can fall into the trap of being our own biggest critic, but instead, become of your biggest fan. Sweet talk yourself every day, drown out negative voice in your head. Instead of saying "I can't do this. I can't believe I gave up so easily. Fifteen minutes wasn't enough. I feel bad today. I just don't feel up to it." Praise yourself "I did a great thing by going to the gym today, 15 minutes an awesome step in taking care of myself. I am so happy that I dedicated those 15 minutes to myself. I deserve love. I deserve to have fun. I deserve to be happy."

Sweet talking yourself really does make all the difference. Even if you feel negative, remember it's okay, its part of the process, but no matter how negative you feel, you still deserve love. How are we supposed to feel motivated when we feel bad about ourselves? IDK! That's why we have to practice patience and kindness and care to ourselves! When we love ourselves, we want better lives for ourselves. The more we love, the more actions we make to take care of ourselves, and while we do this, we also inspire others to love themselves and take care of themselves too. The most important relationship is the one you have with yourself.

I hope my reflections can reach and help someone. I dedicate this post to my mom who texted me asking if I would make another blog and gave me great ideas for future posts as well.

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Wellness

When I talk about wellness I'm talking about the wellness of our bodies and minds; a holistic approach to the state of 'being well.' As living beings, our minds and bodies are not separate entities. We are all whole. Simply, something that is good for us, is good for all of us, and something that is bad for us, is bad for all of us. When we eat healthy food, not only does it fuel our bodies, but it fuels our minds. It gives us physical energy but also the capacity to think more clearly. Whereas eating a load of greasy processed food and sugars can make our stomachs feel sick and make us feel sluggish, bad, and regretful. Smoking is another example, it damages our respiratory system as well as makes us feel mentally dependent. We cannot disconnect ourselves from ourselves. We cannot actually be well or healthy unless all of us is healthy; mind, body, and spiritually.

When I speak of spirituality I don't necessarily mean going to church, although that's what it could mean for some. To me, being spiritual means to have a connection with nature and knowing that all animals and plants and everything is connected. To feel one with the planet. Every action taken has a ripple effect. To have a connection with the food I eat, as it, and myself both come from the earth, and to have a connection with the air I breathe in.

Community is also an important aspect to being well. Humans are a tribal and social species. We made it this far by working together, strategizing together, and playing/interacting/joking together. Social interaction and cooperation is crucial to a person’s wellbeing. In this day and age, when people can do things very independently, there is a tendency toward isolation. Everything is very separate. We can grocery shop alone (which also leads us to a disconnection with where our food really comes from), exercise alone, work alone, etc. We have email so we don’t even need to speak to another person in order to correspond. When people have struggles with things in their lives, instead of having people there to support them, many people feel like they have nobody to turn to. This is why community is important. When people feel they’re a part of a larger group, we feel that our individual actions are more important. Going to yoga classes every day, I’ve formed a community with the other people who attend. It makes me less likely to skip class if I don’t feel like going, because I know people expect to see me there and I enjoy seeing them. I think that people tend to make better choices when a bigger group is involved and they feel they play some kind of role in that group. Scientific studies have shown that human immune systems improve from simply watching people help each other or be kind to one another. There is a profound connection of our wellness with being part of a group and caring for, loving, and helping each other.

Food is a huge factor in our lives and wellness. Today’s food is largely produced in factory farms and with massive amounts of chemicals and cruelty. People did not evolve to eat this kind of food. Our ancestors didn’t eat Cheetos and drink Coke. They didn’t eat sedentary animals that were pumped with hormones and mistreated their entire lives. We already know that stress has a huge impact on the body and makes our bodies excrete stress hormones. Eating animals that have lived in distress their entire lives has an immediate impact on our bodies. Everything is connected. What you fuel yourself with and where you get your energy from is extremely important. Even switching to eating grass fed beef or real free range chickens can make a difference. Getting produce from local organic farms can be a huge help in supporting farmers who grow food to nourish people, to reduce to fossil fuels it take to bring you that food (keeping the air you breathe cleaner), and to reduce the intake of chemicals (pesticides, weed killer, hormones) into your diet. Some people don’t even think about meat coming from animals. They go to the store to pick up steaks but are grossed our when people hunt and eat their catch. It seems backwards to me that people are willing to eat something that they wouldn’t be willing to kill themselves. It’s a living animal that dies for you to eat either way, and I think that people should have a relationship with the food they eat besides the grocery store. I encourage you to go to a farm and talk to the farmer about the food. I encourage you to research where your food comes from. If you wouldn’t be willing to kill a cow or chicken yourself, maybe ask yourself if you really want to be the reason for its death. If you like eating meat, it would be good to get meat at least from where the animal lived a healthy life and to be fully aware that you are taking the life to eat, and having respect and gratitude for the animal. If you want to incorporate less meat into your diet, I will be posting plant based recipes on my blog, as well as vegan brand food that I like.

The human body knows what it needs, and many times we ignore it. We often push the feelings we have down and pay more attention to our thoughts and stressors such as what we need to do next at work or school, arguments we had with people, someone who cut you off on the freeway, etc. People rarely drink enough water or listen to their body when it’s had enough of sitting or enough food. Sometimes we ignore that we’re getting hungry until we feel famished which leads us to overeating. Once you start paying more attention to what your body tells you, your life comes more into balance. Tuning in can be difficult at first since we’re used to pushing our needs aside, but actively listening can become easier and easier the more you practice it.

Exercise is one of the most critical but ignored needs we have. Bodies were meant to move. The amount of time spend sitting per day compared to active moment can be scary sometimes and too much inactivity is correlated with depression. We shouldn’t deny ourselves what we were made to do. Exercise comes in many forms and should be practiced every day. It gets our endorphins going, improves our cardiovascular health as well as respiratory health.Our bodies need and crave movement. We have limitless way to exercise, and we can combine community and exercise, spirituality to exercise, and more. Invite a friend to go on a walk with you, take a yoga class, dance with a partner!

On my blog I have different categories, like food, fitness, yoga, etc, but wellness is where you can look to see all these things together, as they are all a part of what is important for us to be well. I hope you find information that is useful to you. Thanks for reading.

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