Self-care, treat yo’self, yolo…
Some of my favorite things in life – and also some of the most mocked, belittled, and convoluted ideals. When in reality, it might be exactly what you need…
Lately I have transitioned the way I coach my clients a lot. I have been doing a lot of self-development work, a lot of focusing on eliminating stressors, and treating nutrition and fitness as a way of life. This idea that we must have perfection and absolute adherence to result in a healthy body is not only unattainable, but mentally draining. Prior to writing this blog post, I was going through my client check-ins and five of my female clients all needed the same advice. Their problem? People and things stressing them the f*ck out.
One client check-in had the opposite update. She started using some of the products I suggested for stress relief, fully lived up her birthday weekend, and dropped three pounds on the scale. THREE POUNDS OF STRESS. You see, when your body is stressed out, it doesn’t exactly want to do any of the good things you want it to do. At least not as streamlined as you would like it to.
To summarize my recent podcast: Ep. 6: Let’s Talk About Stress Baby
When your body is stressed out it releases your stress hormone, cortisol. Cortisol essentially is produced in your body to be sure you have enough energy in times of emergency. So every time your body feels it is in “fight or flight” you are producing this hormone that pins your stress alertness on high. When we are constantly pinning this reaction, our body stops being able to bring all of our levels back to normal as easily. Over time, and constant stress and elevated cortisol levels are going to inhibit other hormone functions. You will feel lethargic, your muscles will start to break down for fuel (read: your metabolism will begin to slow), and your midsection will begin to feel “thicker” and bloated… sounds awesome, right…
We need cortisol to have normal bodily function, but if we are not properly addressing our stress we are setting ourselves up for failure. This stress can be over working or over exercising to the point of degrading our bodies. It can also be over-dieting and restricting for too long. Obviously the most common stressor that we think about when we talk about being bogged down with stress is our mental stress:
- People or situations at work
- Partners and children
- Friends and family situations
- Unexpected events
- Depression and anxiety
- A To-do list a mile long
- Big life changes like job changes, deaths, moving, relationship changes, big purchases, big trips
The list is really endless… but you get the idea.
We turn to pushing aside our workouts to a different day. We sit alone in our cars or our kitchen floors and we binge eat shitty food until we can’t feel feelings anymore. We overwhelm ourselves even more with work and tasks so that our productivity can make us feel more in control and more accomplished. We give ourselves to others selflessly and forget to make ourselves a priority.
You are not defined by or are more worthy because you can get more shit done in a day than everyone else. You are not healthier and definitely aren’t any more mentally stable because you can go non-stop for weeks on end without a break.
So at this point you’re like “YEAH OKAY ECHO SO WHAT THE F*CK DO I DO”
First of all, stop yelling.
Second, I got you homegirl. Here is the exact words I sent to one of my clients this morning:
People are going to be assholes, and circumstances are going to be awful… and the only thing we can do is choose to not be reduced by them – so instead I choose me. I choose to treat myself like a goddamn goddess and keep doing what I can control together: my food, my self-care, my wine intake… ha! Because the only person you can’t escape is yourself (told to me by a wise friend and client). So hold yourself together like a boss ass bitch and all the rest of the things get easier to deal with.
This mentality has helped me escape my emotional eating. I still get hangry, I still want comfort food, but I can calm myself before I choose to go over the top. I still want burgers and beer at the end of the week – and so I honor that if needed – but not to the point where I disappoint myself in going over the top and choosing it from feeling frantic. I had a couple of really emotionally bad days recently. In full disclosure and always wanting to be proof that there is balance, here is what my following actions looked like: I drove myself and my dog to Burgerville and got two tiny hamburgers, drove to my office, sat on the ground and ate 1.5 of them with Puppy Chulo, and then slept in a dog bed. It happens. (right?) I didn’t wake up and feel awful or chastise myself, because I could rationalize that it wasn’t that bad, and I just started taking care of myself again in the morning. I will always have these moments, but being an advocate for myself and my health will help me to continue to keep my head above water.
The ultimate goal here is to change your mindset around where you place yourself on your priority list. It’s not to say that when you have a lot of things to do and accomplish that you should just pretend they don’t exist and get nothing done. It’s also not saying that you shouldn’t live to serve others and take care of your people. But simply that you do not need to annihilate yourself and your goals, and light yourself on fire, in the name of being productive for others. I love being selfless and I love helping others – but if I am an anxiety blob of a human curled up in the fetal position on my couch… I’m not really going to be of any use to anyone.
Self-care is a BASIC HUMAN RIGHT. It isn’t all bath bombs, pedicures, and extravagant shopping trips. It’s finding time for a walk or your favorite book. It’s using your breaks to meditate or just catch your breath. It’s relaxing at the end of the night with magnesium tea, or CBD and chilling the f*ck out instead of eating so many mini reese’s peanut butter cups you can’t breathe. Perhaps you kill two birds with one stone and your self-care is someone else’s as well and it is a walk through the park with your partner or your best friend. This isn’t fancy, its not boujee (I mean, it can be. Sometimes I make it boujee), it’s literally keeping your sh*t together to function and enjoy your life. I know I don’t personally want to live my life day to day just getting through it. I want to be present, and able to be aware and helpful. If you can’t get your head out of your anxiety loop of things you need to do and how people think of you… the rest of your life is going to go by the wayside.
Be your own best friend, your own advocate, your own priority.
Here are some of my fave products I mention for stress relief:
Spirit Junkie – What really made me start meditating (besides my therapist)
Check out the rest of my podcasts for more information on stress, diet stress, self-care, and confidence to keep the knowledge bombs on life improvement going.