All too often I think women (myself included) focus on our physical health more than our mental or spiritual health. After having babies, we feel the pressure to get our bodies back RIGHT NOW and to look a certain way.
And while it’s great to want to be back in shape after having a baby (I know I was anxious for that), the truth of it is that dwelling so much on the physical can lead to some pretty negative body image stuff. I guess this post isn’t really so much about physical health as it is about letting physical obsessions get in the way of our mental well-being.
As women and moms, pressure comes from everywhere. Have a perfect, clean house. Cook wholesome meals for your family. Have perfect kids. Look perfect.
Do you see the connection there? Perfect? Yeah um, no.
Obviously we aren’t perfect. No one is. And trying to be perfect just wears you down.
I know this because I’ve been there. I was the girl who had to be skinny and perfect all the time. I was the girl who had to have perfect grades in school. I was the girl who let her love of ballet fuel an obsession with looking a certain way so much that she couldn’t enjoy a “cheat meal” out. I still do that sometimes.
Ok, a lot of the time.
I suppose what I’m getting at is that being mentally healthy is much more important than anything else. If you are healthy in your head, it’s going to translate to the rest of your body. You’ll be able to make the right decisions about the food you eat and about exercising. When you’re stressed out and depressed, you gravitate toward sugary, salty, and fatty foods. But when you’re feeling good, it’s easier to choose the fresh, healthy foods. And then you’re not only mentally healthy and happy, but physically healthy and happy as well. It all works together.
So then, how to get mentally happy and healthy so you can be physically happy? A few tips for you.
1. Realize that YOU ARE ENOUGH. I think this is worthy of a hashtag: #youareenough. You were created for a purpose, and no matter what you are going through right now, there is a greater plan for you. For me this has a Christian slant, but whether you are religious or not, I hope you can agree with this statement.
2. Stare yourself down and say positive things. Ok, its seems cheesy, but next time you’re rushing to get ready in the morning, even if you’re a stay at home mama and getting ready means throwing your wet hair in a messy bun on top of your head and finding the least dirty pair of yoga pants you own, say something nice to yourself. Seriously, try it. You’ll probably feel dumb, but you’ll also probably walk out of the bathroom with a little smile on your face.
3. Look at your kids. I don’t think I need to say more about that. One look at my daughter and nothing else in the world matters.
4. Count your blessings. When I start feeling BLAH, I remind myself to think of all the things I’m blessed with. Sure, there are things I wish were different, but I really have been blessed with some wonderful things, more than I need. Thinking about that reminds me that whatever is bugging me is going to be ok.
5. MOVE your body. Yes, exercise. Getting out for a walk or run, taking a class at the gym or studio, or pushing play on a DVD are all going to get your blood moving and release endorphins. To quote Elle Woods, “Exercise releases endorphins. Endorphins make you happy.” (We all know the rest of the quote).
I truly believe that if you work on your inner self, you’ll be so much happier and will have an easier time sticking to a workout program, healthy eating plan, or whatever new physical health habit you want to create. So much of the time we think that if we could just lose those last 10 pounds THEN we’d be happy. It all depends on the physical aspect.
But what if it’s really the other way around?