Have you ever seen the reversible rain coats? The kind that are oh so schnazzy whether you wear them one way or the other? Not only do I think they are brilliant but they are a good visual for self care. One thing I have come to learn in this last year is the inside will take care of itself when you start taking care of the outside and vice versa.
I, like a lot of people, knew that it would be best for me to take care of my physical self and I even had a push to do so but I never stuck with it so much before this last year. It has not been easy but I’ve stuck with exercising up to five times a week and I have come to miss it if I can’t get out and sweat. I know! How odd is that right? Turns out not so much. It is the reason it is suggested so much. The physical aspect of us needs that outlet. It needs to release energy and reconnect all aspects. If you don’t think you have a spiritual side, agree to work out with a trainer. You will be praying to every deity in the universe to save you from the madness. Then you will praise every one, including self and said trainer if they are as good as mine, that you made it through and are grateful for the new appreciation of self.
This external care does not need to be excessive to be successful. It simply needs to be what lines up with you and your desires. I happen to like the push and the drive of an intense workout because as one of my dear friends says, it’s a mind dump. It gets rid of the chaos, overthinking and chewing on things you can’t do anything about anyway. All you can think of is counting the reps or hoping the next minute is the shortest in the history of time. It’s a gift of oblivion while ironically, being the most focused time you spend on yourself.
Conversely, in order to get to those workout times, with a trainer or with yourself as the trainer, one has to have the inner talk about getting there in the first place. THIS can take the most courage ever because the critic will want to talk about everything else you have to do in that time frame. Committing to taking care of all of you is not an easy job but it is so worth it when you realize it helps you be a nice person and it helps you to enjoy your life and how full it is.
Recognizing that we are very complex and our amazing systems will self titrate if we listen to them is something in our very busy, over technological worlds that is necessary. Sometimes it really is as easy as going outside and playing that restores the desire to be here in the first place. I would love to see exercise or some form of play prescribed with every medication that is handed out for depression. The medicine may still be necessary for the time but when that external self is acknowledged, it starts to heal the internal self.
Do you engage in any activity that gets that heart rate up and reminds you that you are an amazing human being? Do you have a regular chat with yourself when it wants to sabotage but you hug it and assure you that the world will not stop spinning if you go for a hike, a bike ride, chop some wood or attend a yoga class? This may be necessary when you first start taking care of you. Be ready to support yourself with truth.
What if you didn’t wait until the first of the year, month or day to decide you want to reconnect the physical and non-physical aspect of yourself? What if you heard that inner voice that has been talking to you and you embraced it rather than ignore or shun it? It doesn’t have to be huge, take the stairs instead of the elevator, take that kayak out for one more spin around the lake, challenge a kid to see who can run the fastest and the furthest. This one is a win win, they get moving too and when they beat you, and they will, you can show grace and have a good laugh with them.
Take some time and really ask yourself what would be a good way to reconnect all the aspects of yourself. Oh, and when you feel the least like you want to get physical is when you will want to do it the most. This can reprogram the default message of I’ll do it tomorrow to I will do this right now and I will get to celebrate after. As you get stronger physically, the emotional self gets stronger and the belief in self goes through the roof because you know you’ve done something challenging and lived through it!
Another benefit of having the inner support the outer and the outer supporting the inner is as your muscles get stronger it is a tangible reminder that you matter and only you are in charge of the health of you. That is pretty powerful and as someone who thought the first work out was going to be her last, I can tell you it only gets better from there!
You have both sides of that raincoat. What colors do you rock? How can you support both sides right now, this week, this month? Be willing to show off how stylish you are!