Thursday, June 27, 2013

Taking care of me

Today, with this blog post, I am joining the Declaration of You Blog Lovin' Tour. The Declaration of You!is a new book by Michelle Ward and Jessica Swift, giving readers all the permission they've craved to step passionately into their lives, discover how they and their gifts are unique and uncover what they are meant to do! When I first learned about the book and the blog tour, it seemed like a fun and exciting opportunity to write, to get back to my blog, and to join forces with over 100 other creative bloggers.

This week's topic is self-care, which has been a big area of change for me these past couple years. As a mother, a wife, a daughter, an optometrist, a business owner, etc. it has sometimes been too easy to neglect the area of self-care as I made sure everyone else was taken care of first. Now this doesn't mean I wouldn't try, but often I was too tired to do the things I needed, and wanted, for me.

But a couple years ago, I learned some life lessons that helped things click. I slowly found the energy, motivation, and courage to take time for me. And when I started taking care of me, it was almost magical. I finally lost 40+ lbs, I discovered new passions like writing and running, I went from couch potato to marathon runner, my family and I finally made a move we'd been dreaming of for years, and I was checking things off of my "big" to-do list, like finally having my wisdom teeth removed (silly I know, but it needed to be done and was constantly being put off). When I started taking the time to take care of me, things started happening and it felt amazing!

So how did I do it? And how do I continue to do it? It does take effort and reminding to include "taking care of me" in my day. But as I look back at when things started to shift for me, these are the life lessons that helped me.

Happiness is a choice
This simple, yet complex, statement was the first big shift in thinking for me. It started a ripple effect that changed everything without changing anything (if that makes sense). I had been spending much of my life focused on all the things I wanted to change or the things I didn't have. Which often left me feeling disappointed, helpless, and unhappy. But through a series of events, I finally realized that the way I viewed my world was a choice. It was all a matter of perspective. Happiness was a choice. So I started spending my time and energy seeing all the amazing things that I did have. And when I did, I felt happy. And from this happy place, I felt a sense of control in my life that I didn't have before. Yet nothing had really changed. Just me.

Invest in yourself
For some reason, it's much easier to spend time and money on loved ones than on myself. When it's for me, I question every minute and every dollar spent. But I'm just as important, just as valuable. Spending time and/or money on myself is a powerful reminder of this. And as silly as this sounds, this first became apparent to me when I was buying my first pair of running shoes at a local running store. And it's not the hundred dollar shoes that made me realize the importance of investing in me. It was spending the extra fifteen bucks on "running" socks. At the time I was still new to running, and these socks ended up being more than socks. They reminded me that I believed in me and that made all the difference. Making this simple purchase helped me see the value in investing in me.

Help is good
In general, I like to be in control and do things myself. It's rare for me to ask for help. But doing everything myself takes time and energy. The idea of asking for help finally became apparent during my weight loss journey. I had felt that since I was smart enough to research the best foods and exercises for weight loss, I should be able to lose the weight on my own. But after trying countless diets and exercise plans, it just wasn't working. I needed to try something different. I needed help. So I joined Weight Watchers (WW) and lost 40+ lbs in half a year. Getting help from WW provided me tools and strategies that didn't require lots of time and energy to use. And WW provided a supportive community, which helped keep me inspired and motivated. I quickly learned that even though I could do something on my own, having help and support was often better. Not to mention more fun.

Dare to believe anything is possible
If anything proved this to me, it was running my first marathon this past December. Or even better proof was signing up to run that marathon, having only run less than a year for no longer than a 5K. They say magic happens outside your comfort zone and I've seen this first hand. When you give yourself permission to believe that anything is possible, it allows you to dream and take chances. And when you're out there taking chances (like writing for this blog tour), you're out there living your life to the fullest. And even though every chance may not end the way you envision, they're still worth taking. Who knows? Things could even work out better than imagined.

1 comment:

Kerryn Hewson said...

Perspective is magic! Huge congratulations on running your marathon and proving that crazy things do happen. :)