To the Personal Trainer who told Me I Need to Lose Ten Pounds

*Trigger warning: contains content concerning body image, dieting and specific numbers regarding pants size and pounds*


To the personal trainer who told me I need to lose ten pounds,

I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you probably didn’t realize how triggering a statement like that could be. But I grew up as a ballerina. My teen years were full of weighing and measuring and comparing and worrying if I was enough. Or if I was too much.

You probably didn’t realize that for some people, coming to the gym isn’t about tracking calories or going down a pant size. You didn’t realize that I’m here to empower myself, to be my strongest and healthiest and happiest self.

And you probably didn’t realize that my strongest and healthiest and happiest self has absolutely zero interest in what my BMI is or the number on the scale or my exact body fat percentage.

You probably didn’t realize that I silently told you to f**k off as soon as you told me that according to you I am over weight and you think I should lose ten pounds.

Because I disagree. Because I love me. Because I haven’t ever loved my self as fiercely as I do these days. Because I don’t give a flying rat’s ass if you think I’m not thin enough or strong enough. Or if you think I’m too much of anything.

I love me and I don’t care what you think.

I could have cried when you told me, a woman who wears size zero jeans, that I’m overweight. I could have left the gym and skipped dinner. I even thought about texting a friend to call me and fake an emergency so I could leave my session with you early.

But I didn’t. I silently reminded myself that you were wrong. I played along until my hour was up. And I went home where I cooked a full meal for myself. Veggies and chicken with spicy sauce. Accompanied by red wine and followed by chocolate cake. I knew that you telling me to lose weight didn’t impact my worth. And I knew that I was confident in myself that I could ignore what you thought.

Because I love me. Because I’m not more or less worthy of love and food and self-care based on someone’s opinion of my body. Because I am enough.

This unfortunate event isn’t going to stop me from going to the gym. I’m not going to stop attending dance classes. I’m not going to let myself feel like I’m only able to track my progress if I go by numbers on a scale.

The thing is, sir, you asked me how I was supposed to be able to track my progress if I am not going to weigh myself or measure what my body is doing. How much did I want to be able to lift? How far did I want to be able to run? How much weight did I want to lose?

I was stumped, I didn’t know how to articulate it in person to you then. But here is my answer:

I count my success at the gym by feeling healthy and strong in my everyday life. I track it by the smiles my workout playlist causes. I’m succeeding when my muscles feel comfortable in familiar ballet poses I haven’t attempted in years.

I’ve never actually gone to a Saturday morning yoga class, because I love sleeping in on weekends, but if I ever get myself there I’m sure I’ll consider that a success too. I’ll know I’m successful when I’m 70 and I can still move and dance and wiggle around. (Y’all I wanna be fit and healthy like Jane Fonda when I’m 70 – ya feel?)

To anyone out there who’s ever wondered if you’re too much, or if you’re too little. You’re enough. You’re exactly how you’re meant to be. And you deserve to define progress for yourself as you strive to be strong, happy and healthy.

 


I texted my friend Kara after this experience, and I wan’t to end today’s post with some of the encouragement she gave me:

Weight is just our relationship with the earth and gravity. The number would be different if we were on the moon. Meaning it’s literally just a number.

The world needs MORE of you if anything, not less. Do something tonight that allows you to feel one with your body, connected and appreciative of it! Affirm it out loud tonight, treat it gently.

Cherish your weight and be grateful for every inch. It has gotten you where you are today.

 

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The Lies We Listen To

The credit for this blog belongs to my friend Montana Wood, because she mailed me a copy of one of her favourite books and it’s the inspiration of what I’m going to be writing about today. The book is Carlos Whittaker’s Kill The Spider.

In the self-care series I think there are two ends of spiritual self-care. I think spirituality can be a calming force in people’s lives that brings hope encouragement and peace. But the other side of it is what I want to focus on today, that you need to take time to care for and invest in your spirit.

Spiders & Cobwebs

The premise of Kill The Spider is that there are lies we are believing about ourselves. These lies are spiders in our lives that build cobwebs and impacts how we live our lives, have relationships with others and ultimately how we serve God. But we can solve this by figuring out what those lies are and replacing them with truth – killing the spider.

Whittaker defines spiders as an agreement you have made with a lie and cobwebs as medicating behaviour that bring false comfort to the lie. Cobwebs can be things like insecurity with body image, seeking approval from others, substance abuse , control being a control freak, finding worthiness through being a workaholic. Any type of behaviour that brings false or temporary comfort to lies about ourselves.

When I first started the book I was like “oh this is nice, but I don’t think I actually have any spiders”. But I was so wrong, because I do and we all do, it just comes out in different ways. As you figure out what these lies you’re listening to are you not only kick them out, but you replace them with truth. This can be done by;

  • Keeping track of how God is present in your life, how He is speaking to you and answering prayers
  • Trusting God always, when when you don’t really understand what He’s doing in your life
  • Involving God in the small and ordinary parts of your life, not just when you’re in trouble and need help
  • When you feel lies creeping in that make you feel unloved or unworthy push them out with what you know is true
  • Be honest with your friends about what you struggle to believe so they can hold you accountable
  • Practice gratitude for the small moment
  • Keep digging deeper and grow in your faith to prep for challenging seasons

Fact or Fiction? 

I recently heard: “Just because you’re feeling something doesn’t mean those feelings are true, should be validated, should be entertained or acted on. I think thats a lifelong quest to figure out what is truth and what are feelings” and I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately and wondering how it impacts our interpretations of the world.

We deserve to feel like our emotions and feeling are valid but it’s important to challenge if they are always true. We need to work through assessing when what we feel is contradictory to what we know to be true.

I’ve written before about Jamie Tworkowski’s post What I Feel vs What I Know but I’m bringing it back up again in this context because I think it’s helpful to illustrate an important point. We can have days or weeks or seasons that feel pretty terrible, where we don’t feel good about our lives, maybe we build up a lot of cobwebs trying to bring comfort to the lies we are believing. We could feel stuck or unloved but what know is that is not true. We are loved, we are worthy, there are things to be grateful for even in hard seasons.

Jamie wrote;

“i feel sad more than i feel happy.

i feel stuck more than i feel free.

i feel defeated more than i feel accomplished.
i feel i should have found love by now.
i think about it every single day…
i feel stuck in the best and worst moments that i’ve known.
The million bucks and the silence that followed.
But what is true?
What do i know?
i have a lot to be thankful for.
Mom and Dad and Jessica and Emily and Baby Landon.
They’re healthy and they love each other and they love me.
i have amazing friends. Old friends and new.
Friends who want to know me and want me to know them.
i get to do a job that i believe in. Most people don’t.
i have the opportunity to make a difference.
A lot of people would give anything for that.
i am healthy and i am young and there is air in my lungs and a shining sun outside and a sea as well and a story still going. And i’m allowed to be honest…”

There are things we might have believed about ourselves for so long they seem true, or maybe fears or insecurities that are so tangible they must be real. But it is important to take the time to be mindful that sometimes those fears or lies are holding us back from really living and engaging with others in a meaningful way.

Delight in Truth 

I know this post is just giving you a cursory understanding of this concept of killing the spiders in your life, and you should probably just read the book because it’s great, but I hope you’ll walk way from this post today thinking about where to find truth in your life and inspired to .

It’s not only important to be mindful of the lies you are believing that aren’t true about you (you’re unloved, unworthy, you’ve not perfect enough, etc.) but to then replace those with Jesus and with things you know are true.

“Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in truth” – 1 Cor 13:6

“Let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth” – 1 John 3:18

“I am the way the truth and the life” – John 4:16

When I feel stressed out, insecure, or like I’m walking through a hard season I’ve found leaning on faith and truth is the best way to navigate that time.  In Kill The Spider Whittaker writes that in the good seasons of life it’s important to build your faith and tackle the spiders and lies you’ve got going on.

My favourite quote from Kill The Spider is this: “Levi said this: “ Trials reveal foundations; they aren’t the ideal time to build them.” Well, listen up, all of you “good season”-ers, pain and suffering’s off season is the ideal time for spider killing CrossFit. This is when you buckle down and get ready because you know that it is just an off-season. Jesus didn’t promise a pain-free life. But He did promise he would be with us as we run, skip, limp, crawl, or stumble toward the finish line” (pg. 151).

In good seasons, easy and comfortable ones – we need to build faith and resilience. Not to be pessimistic, but in knowing that harder seasons will come- and being deeply rooted in faith and having strong healthy relationships with God and yourself and others will help you to face more difficult seasons.

This post is part of the self-care series because self-care is a tool to build resilience, and this is how I think we can build spiritual resilience. Be intentional about your routines and rhythms, so that you have the spiritual foundation in your life you need when you’re going through the challenges life throws your way. Just like any other form of self-care, having the practice in place to take time for you is important to when you are put under stress you can manage it better.

Love Don’t Cost a Thing & Your Self-Care Shouldn’t Either

Welcome back to week two of the September Self-Care Series!

Self-care is often talked about hand-in-hand with the concept of treating yourself. This week I’m talking a little about why it’s problematic to commodify self-care the way that we do. Self-care is a practice meant to build up resilience in yourself. When it goes from being the rituals you to do practice self-love and keep yourself feeling balanced to something that costs money it means that it is no longer accessible to everyone.

Self-care isn’t a commodity that only some people should be able to access. Self-care is a mindset, it’s habits and routines and actions you can do to take care of yourself. Practical self-care, such as setting budgets for money, taking care of your physical health, or going to sleep early might not be Instagram worthy, but it’s just as important than the glamorous self-care we think of.


Last week I wrote about how the first step of self-care is listening to what you need, being willing to take breaks, and then being intentional about responding to those needs. This week lets dive a little deeper to what that can look like.

Treating yourself from time to time is great. Buying yourself something you’ve admired can be a nice way to reward yourself. However, a quiet night in with facemasks and 7 layer chocolate cake in a lavender bubble bath with a new book that you treated yo’ self to… it sounds dreamy but could run you about $50. That isn’t practical or accessible.

When I brainstorm mainstream self-care many of the things that come to mind aren’t accessible to everyone, and self-care should be because everyone deserves to have the resources to take care of themselves. In the conversation about self-care I think it’s important to think more about the little daily things rather than the big treat yo’ self moments.

Championing self-care means being mindful of inclusive practices and having an intersectional approach (Kaitlyn’s inner feminist is coming out y’all). I’m not going to sit and write about facemasks or splurging on expensive lattes and leggings. As self-care becomes a bigger topic in our culture we should be mindful of how we are really being gentle with ourselves vs. spending money on ourselves and calling it “self-care”.


A few months ago I was buying groceries and saw these pretty flowers on my way to the cashier. I thought “those are so pretty, I’m going to get those for me because I deserve it” – but as soon as I got home I felt like it was a frivolous purchase and I felt silly because I was more stressed about wasting money on the flowers than I would have been if I just left with what I had set out to buy.

We hear the message ‘treat yo’ self’ all the time, but if the message we actually need more often is ‘stick to your budget and don’t buy things you don’t need’ then this is me putting that into the world for you. If you take one thing away from my blog this week, let it be this, when self-care goes from being tangible actions we do to fill ourselves up so we can love others better, to expensive or extravagant things it is becoming exclusive and not available to everyone who needs it.

The other day my friend asked the question on instragram “what are your favourite ways to practice self-care?” and these were some of the responses she got:

  • Going to bed early
  • Working out
  • Drawing
  • Going to an unexplored coffeeshop
  • Turning off my phone
  • Writing down feelings
  • Getting off social media
  • Running
  • Cooking and eating wholesome food
  • Writing in a notebook, giving voice to feelings
  • Spin classes

Sure, they aren’t all completely free – but in terms of practical self-care these are a lot more accessible than going on a shopping spree or an expensive spa every one in a while.

I heard someone comment that how self-care is becoming another one of those thinly veiled performances of affluence – and that really stopped me in my tracks. If we are intentional about listening to our bodies and our needs, I think we should also be intentional with the way that we care for ourselves. Maybe that is setting a budget, maybe that is eating a salad instead of a burger, maybe that is choosing not to treat yourself to something you can’t afford, maybe it’s sitting with uncomfortable feelings you’d rather avoid, whatever it is be mindful of what you actually need to do for you.

I found this interactive guide to self-care online and I had to include it this week – it asks you questions to help you figure out what practical things you can do to meet your needs and it’s great: http://philome.la/jace_harr/you-feel-like-shit-an-interactive-self-care-guide/play. If you made it to the end of this post about practical & financial self care and inclusive feminism – thank you. Next week I have a special guest post for the September series I’m excited to share with y’all!

Inspired by Lori

For the month of September I’m kicking off a series of blogs on different aspects of self-care. This week’s post is dedicated to my good pal Lori.

Lori is a great friend, wise beyond her years, I often forget I’m the older of the two of us. We bonded a lot in out time living together in Florida, and maybe even more since. When we talk the topic of self-care comes up frequently. Lori is great to bounce ideas off of and we encourage one another to find ways to to pause and practice some self-care when we need it most.

This week’s post is inspired by some of those converstatins, so it only makes sense to credit half of these ideas to lil’ mama.


How are you, actually?

A key part of practicing self-care is being mindful of how you are really feeling. When we feel stressed, especially when it is frequent stress about little things that we wouldn’t usually find overwhelming, it can be a sign to slow down and be intentional about pausing to take care of ourselves.

Self-care isn’t always a big thing, I think it is most effective in our everyday lives when we are mindful of how the little things we do can add up to impact how we are feeling. Once we recognized that everyday things, like how well we are sleeping, how much coffee we are drinking, and if we’re working out and getting endorphins going are crucial aspects of wellness along with other acts of self-care we can do a better job at caring for ourselves.

The little rituals and habits in our lives add up, they can have a huge impact on our mood and when we practice living well and listening to our bodies we can take care of ourselves in a gentle and understanding way.

As the summer has simmered down to a near close I’ve been reading a book called Heart Talk: Poetic Wisdom for a Better Life. I can’t recommend this book enough, and the author Cleo Wade starts the first chapter with a beautiful description of why self-care is important;

“Self-care is how we fuel our self-love so that we are able to share our love with everyone around us. Our hearts are warm when we are able to show up with generosity, patience, and compassion for the ones we life, but we must remember that it is impossible to truly be there for others without taking care of ourselves first. We take care of ourselves by asking what our needs are. We take care of ourselves by making healthy choices when it comes to our  physical and emotional bodies. We take care of ourselves by lightening up and not being so damn hard on ourselves…It does not benefit anyone when we live our lives running on fumes. Love is an action, a thing in motion. Therefore, it requires fuel.”

Balancing Act

Life can get busy and with all the things we have to accomplish at school, at work and in our social lives we can sometimes get frustrated that we can’t keep up with the go go go pace. The best way to stay energized and integrate self-care into a busier lifestyle is to make to-do lists that have the regular tasks you might except along with self-care stuff (such as running , having a bubble bath, painting, watching Netflix, eating cake etc) so we remember that is a priority too.

Another quote I love from Heart Talk about this idea is ;

“At times, life seems to be one never-ending to-do list, but we must learn to disrupt the flood of life’s demands in order to replenish our energy so that we can fully show up for all of our passions and responsibilities.”

Self-care is not always about treating yourself but learning to listen to what you need and allowing yourself to take breaks and take care of yourself a little bit everyday. Sometimes the most important part of self-care is learning to recognize when to give yourself a break.

I once had a professor say that self-care is building healthy coping habits for yourself when life isn’t stressful, so that when it gets to be stressful you already have those habits in place. These habits could be waking up early to drink tea before the morning rush to give yourself space to feel centred or booking off a night just to hangout and catch up on your favourite tv show. Writing “eat cake” or “take 15 minutes to draw” on your to-do list might sound silly, but from personal experience I know it can help you to feel more balanced.

Simple Self-Care & Accountability 

The less exciting side of taking care of yourself is taking steps that will help you in the future rather than in the exact present moment. Like budgeting or eating healthy or going to bed when you’d rather go out.

When you do little things you don’t want to do because it’ll help you in the future, you’re practicicing self-care. When you take a break and let yourself just sit and breathe for 5 minutes before rushing about your day, that is also self-care because your future self will have had time to be present and hopefully be feeling less stress.

In the words of my girl Lori, “it is a mix of the two” [doing the things you don’t want to because it is good for you, and giving yourself a break].

As I said above, Lori is someone who I talk about self-care with a lot and it’s not only helpful to have someone to debate it with and think about it in different ways. It is so powerful to have someone who holds you accountable to practicing self-care too. Having people in your life who also believe in self-care and hold you accountable are so great.

It’s self-care, it’s up to you to actually do it. But having friends reminding you can be important too. We picked up this phrase living in Florida where if you’re hearing someone talk about a bad day or something they are struggling with you ask “what are you going to do to take care of yourself today?”. It’s so powerful, just to even be asked and reminded that I am in control – the ball is always in your court when it comes to self-care.

If I reach out to a friend and express some hard things I’m going through, I love the empowering reminder that I can go do something to fix how I’m feeling and feel better about my day.

The other day I texted Lori , I was having a really stressful morning and was telling her all the things going on, she asked what I would do to care for myself and I just said “I am practicing self-care today by drinking a green tea latte from Starbucks instead of coffee bc it doesn’t make anxiety worse” – it’s little things y’all. It’s listening and knowing when you can’t handle coffee, it’s knowing when you need a break, it’s knowing that you cannot show up for people if you don’t show up for yourself first.

September is a month of transitions, of going back to school, of building new routines, and I wanted to talk about self-care this month because now is the time for you to build in the habits of taking care of yourself. Transitions can be exciting but also stressful, so listen to yourself, give yourself credit, and remember that to stay in motion you need fuel.

Lost & Found

Sometimes things get misplaced and lost and we have such a strong desire to find them again, it’s not even that we necessarily need the item but we had it. When I was little a family friend gave me a Gorilla beanie baby. I loved it so much. And I lost it somewhere – I’m not sure where but I remember being upset about it for a long time. It happens all the time right? You’re getting dressed and you realize you can’t find that favourite blue shirt and now, even though you didn’t want to wear it that day, you desperately want to find it and you’ll waste 15 minutes of your morning looking for it.

Sometimes people can get lost too. Have you ever felt lost? I know I have. Feeling like I don’t know what direction I’m meant to be moving in, seeing other people have their lives together while I don’t know what the next year holds. Sometimes we feel lost in relationships – if we lose someone we might feel like the world isn’t quite the same or the things we thought we understood have now changed. Sometimes we know we’re lost or that something is missing, but other times it isn’t so clear. Sometimes I feel like I’m doing pretty good, like I’m on the right track, and then it becomes obvious that I’m not- that I need something more.

When I think about my faith, I think about how each day feels like a new beginning. The line “I was once lost and now I’m found” from Amazing Grace. I think we are all lost at one time or another, and we need help to get re-centered, be the person we want to be, and know how to keep moving forward.

I spent most of Easter weekend listening to old Hillsong United albums, thinking about how precious life is, and knowing that I need to learn to lean into my faith a bit more. I was investing in what I like to think of as “spiritual self-care”. There has been a lot of conversation lately about what self-care is, and what it is not limited to. No, it is not just eating ice cream or having a bubble bath – I think it can be spiritual and reflective.

In my own life, the hardest self-care practice for me to do is alone time – because I’m so extroverted that I sometimes have a hard time scheduling time for myself. But lately I’ve been trying to give myself that time to reflect and process my feelings. This is where my spiritual self-care flourishes. I need that alone time to make time for God – and I think sometimes that makes it easier for me to be motivated to find the time.

If you need an analogy get ready: I love bacon cheese burgers. And I love soft serve ice cream. Together that sounds like a dream, right? Well if my diet was comprised of that I’d feel sick within a day or two. Have you ever found yourself just craving healthy foods when you know you haven’t been putting good food into your body? This girl can only handle so many waffle fries before I need a salad or an entire bag of baby carrots. Our spiritual health is more similar health than we think and you need to nourish your heart and spirit just like you need to nourish your body.

While in Florida I’ve been part of a bible study, a few weeks ago we talked about the idea of being “overflowing” with the spirit. If you aren’t familiar with what the fruits of the spirit are, they are  “love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Gal 5:22-23). The way I interpret the idea of being overflowing with the spirit is embodying those qualities which requires giving yourself time to recharge to have energy to be the person we want to be. If you’re burnt out it’s a lot harder to be those things. And I know when I skip out on that I start to feel more lost, maybe you do too?

Last week I was watching This Is Us with my roommate and was struck by a quote from Mandy Moore’s character “Life has a middle, and middles can be hardest because that’s when you can get really lost.” Sometimes it feels like we are on the right track, sometimes it can be a little more obvious that we don’t have our bearings. And if you are already feeling lost that can be scary or confusing. In the moments I feel most overwhelmed, taking that time to re-center helps me feel a little less lost and a little more found.

Usually, we find the things we lose. Of course there are things we can’t get back – I’ll never know what happened to that stuffed animal gorilla that I loved so much. But I did find my blue shirt at the bottom of my laundry hamper. By giving yourself the time and care you need – you can find yourself a little bit more each day.

Heart Cries

This week I’m really excited to let you know that we have a guest post. It wasn’t written by someone I name drop on here often, but a lovely new friend named Jess. I met her through one of the girls I’m living with in Florida and on a whim I asked if she would think about writing something for the blog. I didn’t know what to expect, but she did write something and it’s lovely. If your heart is tired, this one is for you.


Do you ever have those seasons where you are just really struggling with something? And you don’t want to admit it? You dont want to acknowledge that you’re not doing okay, that you’re feeling so much.

I’m right smack in the middle of one of those seasons right now. I don’t like being vulnerable, but here I am, about to be vulnerable, and hating every second of it. But I think that maybe this will help me process. And maybe even help you?

So anyways, I have been struggling with my looks (shocker, a girl struggling with her looks—but read on). I’ve been struggling with my looks in the sense that I know I’m not awful looking, in my own opinion, but knowing you’re not awful to look at and believing you are beautiful are two completely different things. And well, I can tell you this, the last time I felt beautiful was March of 2017 when I was in a saree (traditional Indian dress) in India going to a birthday dinner for a close friend. Y’all, its 2018. Its been a bit. And I’m not staying I’ve struggled with my looks that whole time, but that’s the last time I’ve truly felt beautiful. Believed that I was beautiful.

I think I started battling the lies of beauty and ultimately insecurity since January of this year. So about  two months now.

And I think I have not wanted to admit that I’m struggling because then I feel weak. And weak people are needy people. And needy people are too much for people to handle. And if I tell someone their immediate response is to affirm me in my looks, but that’s not what I need. And I don’t want to be seen as weak, as needy, as too much, and the last thing I need is my friends and family telling me Im beautiful; I need to believe it myself. I guess if you’re a therapist or someone who looks for root causes, it can all probably come down to the question “Am I enough?” But we’re not going to go that deep today.

This back story all brings me to what happened the other morning, and the reason I’m writing this, I promise. I was going to Whataburger to pick up some breakfast for my mom (if you have never had Whataburger I highly encourage you to go asap). As I pulled up the drive through line was halfway blocked by an 18-wheeler and there were too many cars and it was kind of chaotic, so I decided I would beat the system and just walked inside (spoiler alert: it wasn’t faster at all, it was a lot slower). As I was shuffling through people to get a drink I side-stepped so a little old man can pass by, we made eye contact, I smiled, he smiled, he said hi and I said hi back and then he stopped and looked at me. Then he said “just so cute” and then he smiled and giggled and started walking again. Then I laughed because I didn’t know what to do.

But I immediately thought about how that has been the question of my heart lately. Does anyone think I’m beautiful? Does anyone think Im valuable? Does anyone see me? And I know that he said “cute” and not beautiful, but my heart needed to hear it. My heart needed to know the answer to a question is has been asking for two months now. And it was from a complete stranger, from an old man who will never know how much it meant to me.

It was then that I realized the Lord truly hears our heart cries. I honestly believe Lord sent me that little old man to remind me what He thinks.

Through the sad thoughts and the mental battle that happens within my own head, I have a God that listens. He’s listens—truly listens. He’s been listening to my heart cries. Cries of not feeling beautiful, of not feeling lovely, or wanted, or valued. Just honestly the things I only admit to Him because He knows my heart.

In times when our hearts are broken and hurting and we don’t know when we will be okay again, the Lord hears us. He hears our deep cries. And every so often, He sends us people to remind us of that. Remind us that He is with us in this journey. Now, I’m not magically not questioning my beauty anymore, and Im not magically 100% again, but I am trusting this process and am encouraged and hopeful.

And please don’t hear me say that beauty is the only thing that matters, because it definitely is NOT. But it’s the battling I am currently fighting, its the battle that I will soon be winning. We all fight different battles, we all have things we wish we weren’t going through, we all have those deep cries of our heart that we think no one hears or cares about.

But the Lord cares; He hears, He listens, He cares.

 

Boring Self-Care

I know I preach self-care a lot but I’ve been noticing a trend lately that I think is a great illustration of practical self-care. And the moral is that practicing self-care isn’t always doing what you want.

Wait – boring self-care??? 

“Boring self-care” is the kind that doesn’t look glamorous, it doesn’t translate well to Instagram, but it’s the little things you do that keep your life balanced. Now this isn’t always fun to do, and it isn’t the self-care we’ve seen branded or commodified, but things like going to bed on time, eating well, being intentional about time alone and with people are all important.

Recently I saw cool art on Instagram promoting boring self-care such as doing dishes, taking medication, unfollowing social media accounts that make you feel bad about yourself, letting yourself not be busy, or doing laundry. (check out @makedaisychains y’all)

I have friends that practice self-care in so many different ways – yoga, booking one night a week off to not be social, journaling, running in nature, snowboarding, photography. The range is endless – but the little everyday things really add up.

An important aspect of self-care to keep in mind is is practicing it before you hit a breaking point – which can be part of the boring aspect. Because it might not feel important or necessary or fun – but preventing bigger issues coming up is a main function of self-care.

Duck, Duck, Extrovert

As an extrovert my boring self-care sometimes means having time alone. It’s not boring because I can’t find fun things to do alone – it’s because FOMO is real and I don’t want to miss fun things friends might be doing. When left to my own devices I’ll spend days or even weeks without proper alone time.

I currently have the pleasure of living in community with five really wonderful girls and this past weekend I took a shower and realized that was the longest I’d been alone in almost two weeks. Which. Is. Wild. I’m an extrovert and I love people but y’all shouldn’t go two weeks without time to yourself. Sometimes you gotta spend time with you.

Maybe you already do it, maybe it needs to be added to the routine – but be intentional about spending quality time with people. Go for walks, go out for ice cream, go to brunch – build relationships because they are important and so good for you. But also give yourself time alone.

But here is where boring self-care comes in. Sometimes I have to say no. I can’t let FOMO make me go on every possible outing, adventure and ice cream run (well, maybe every ice cream run). The point is sometimes I have to learn to say no. Maybe if you’re an introvert sometimes that means forcing yourself to say yes because a balance of time to yourself and time with people is important.

Outer Space and Inner Space 

In the last few days of being intentional about giving myself space I’ve noticed that my ability to process thoughts, feelings, and produce creative ideas is better when I’m alone. Even just brainstorming this blog and giving my mind time to wonder and centre myself is easier when I give myself space to be alone.

This might seem obvious to you if you’re an introvert, or simply someone who doesn’t think spending time with people, either in person or on the phone every waking moment for two weeks is a good idea. But I really love people and it’s easy for me.

Brené Brown talks about being busy as something people do to numb themselves and avoid things they don’t want to face.  In her most recent book, Braving The Wilderness she writes, ‘Crazy-busy’ is a great armor, it’s a great way for numbing. What a lot of us do is that we stay so busy, and so out in front of our life, that the truth of how we’re feeling and what we really need can’t catch up with us.”

When I know my pattern is to over socialize and not take space some of the most important self-care I can practice is to do the ‘boring’ thing and create that space. Space to think and feel and process and create, and to not be busy.


Maybe you relate or maybe it’s totally foreign but I would encourage you to think about what boring self-care you need to do.

Are you avoiding either spending time with people or yourself? Community is a lovely thing and I’m beyond excited to be where I am – but remembering to balance fun with the potentially boring but meaningful self-care is what will make me a better version of myself. What do you need to be doing?