Mind, Body, and Spirit

mind body spirit

I have been thinking about this quote for awhile and when I saved it I knew that one day I’d write a blog post about it.  Today, while out for a short (yet very frigid!) walk, I started to think more about it and what it means to truly take care of myself – mind, body, and spirit.

Like many others, I’ve been on every diet and workout regime imaginable at some point or other throughout my adult life.  I’ve counted calories, lifted weights, went running, did aerobics, kept food journals, joined Weight Watchers, used a Fitbit,  and obsessed over every food I ate (or didn’t eat) and every workout I did (or missed).  Needless to say, taking care of my body has always been at the forefront of my mind.  That’s not to say that I’m always taking the best care of it, but it’s definitely something I understand the importance of.

Until recently, though, I never really thought about intentionally taking care of my mind. I’m a pretty sensitive, emotional person who over-thinks a lot of things and internalizes a lot of situations. Not taking things too personally is something I am currently working on, although it’s not always easy.  I have a pretty high-stress job working with children which is more mentally exhausting than it is physically.  I am a stepmom to two children (ages 12 and 16) and a wife so I have all the responsibilities that comes along with those two roles.  I’m a people-pleaser.  I don’t like to say no and I always worry about upsetting others with my actions.  Long story short, sometimes I’m pretty hard on my own mental state.

All of this came to a head this past fall when I started to really notice a change in my moods.  For the second year in a row when October hit, I began to struggle with what I believe could be seasonal depression (although I have never been diagnosed by a doctor).  As the days get shorter and darker, so does my mood it seems.  I notice a major lack in energy, more feelings of anxiety and feeling overwhelmed, and less ability to deal with the every day pressures of life.  When these feelings strike, I just simply don’t feel like myself.  I’m moody, irritable, cry almost daily, and just can’t get my mojo back.

It was on one of those bleak nights a couple of months ago, that I first found this quote online. Fall in love with taking care of yourself – mind, body, spirit. I realized then that despite all the work I had done over the years to try to keep my body healthy, I had never made intentional efforts to take care of my mind (or mental health). So I began to give it some thought….  but what could I do to take better care of my mind?   Here’s what I’ve come up with so far….

Write

Even though I spent hours as a child writing stories, filled endless journals as a teenager, and studied journalism in my undergrad, life had gotten in the way and I’d totally forgotten how meaningful writing is to me.  I’ve always felt that I could better express myself in writing. For instance, often when I’m angry, I’ll sit down at my computer and just hammer out all of my feelings.  As my fingers fly over the keys, my emotions pour out of me.  And once it’s all out, I instantly feel better.  But writing doesn’t just help me when I’m upset.  It also helps me express other pieces of myself, which is the main reason I started this blog.  Most importantly, it helps me to empty my mind of all the things that consume it day to day. No matter what I’m feeling, writing is fulfilling and helps immensely in clearing the space in my head.

Go for walks

Although walking has proven physical benefits, it’s another great activity for clearing my mind.  I’ve started the habit recently of taking a short, brisk walk after work which allows me time to reflect on my day and unwind (I get so wrapped up in my days at school that I often think of nothing else while I am there, so it’s nice to let all that go).  On top of that, the fresh air (despite how cold it is lately!) feels amazing and gives me the boost of energy I need to get through the evening routines at home.  The best part of my walks is letting my mind wander.  In fact, as I ponder different ideas, I’ll often start writing my next blog post in my head (like this one!)

On a freezing cold yet refreshing walk this week.

On a freezing cold yet refreshing walk this week.

Do yoga

I am definitely a beginner when it comes to yoga.   I’ve done a few basic classes and absolutely loved them and definitely plan to do more (starting tomorrow night!)  To me, yoga brings peacefulness, calm, and mental clarity.  It relaxes my mind and my breath while making my body strong.  I also happen to think that yoga poses are beautiful and know that it’s definitely something I want to incorporate more of into my current lifestyle!

Try meditation

If I’ve had only a little yoga practice, I’ve had even less with meditation. This being said, from the reading I’ve done about it, I’m eager to try my own meditation practice.  I’m still at the “learning” stage of this goal, but I’m sure that learning to be more mindful will only have positive outcomes.  For now, I plan to do some research and reading and to develop a better understanding of what exactly meditation is and the benefits it brings.

Take Vitamins

Currently I am taking B12 and Vitamin D (since we get so little sunlight these days!)

Be Gentle with Myself / Good Enough is Good Enough.

Of course, both of personal mantras lend themselves to a healthier state of mind (after all, that’s the whole reason I developed them in the first place).  I use these words often (sometimes aloud, sometimes quietly to myself) and find them both comforting and reassuring.  In the past, I’ve put too much pressure on myself which has only lead to exhaustion, anxiety, and stress.  I am slowly learning to let go of my perfectionism, to accept that little things are good enough, and to be more gentle with myself.

 

All this being said, I do realize that taking care of your body, mind, and spirit are not always separate entities.  There are certainly cases where these three areas overlap.  Going for walks and doing yoga, for example, obviously have both mental and physical benefits.  And it’s not hard to argue that taking care of your mental health naturally affects your spirit. That being said though, I do want to be more intentional about taking care of my mind and my spirit as much as I do my body.  Like many things, it’s a learning process but I’m always open to ideas and suggestions 🙂

What do you do to take care of your body, mind, or spirit?

xo,

K.

 

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Stronger Body, Stronger Mind

happiness
Like most of my attempts to lose weight in the past, my most recent attempt has had its ups and downs.  Actually, I think it’s safe to say that this one has had more “downs” than “ups”.  That being said, I am feeling another big boost of motivation today and am ready, once again, to climb back onto the bandwagon.

One difference between my past adventures in getting healthy, and this one, are some of my reasons for doing so.  Of course, wanting to look better is always near the top of the list, but more than ever, wanting to feel better is as much a motivation as anything.

I know I’m not exactly old (as much as my husband likes to tease me that I am!) but I definitely can feel changes in my body that come with being in my mid-30s.  Having been substantially inactive for the last year or so definitely hasn’t helped.  In fact, it’s led to a lot of minor aches, pains, and stiffness that I’ve never felt before.  Getting up after sitting on the floor sure isn’t pretty anymore, and I’m so out of shape, that I can barely go for a fast-paced walk without getting out of breath.strength

In addition to that, I’ve really noticed this time around, the mental and emotional challenges of not being active.  The longer I sit around, being lazy, the more I want to sit around and be lazy.  Then I feel crummy and guilty.  But even the guilt is not enough motivation to get myself up off the couch.  So I try self-loathing instead.  That doesn’t work either and before I know it, I’m caught in a vicious cycle of terrible self-esteem and just wanting to give up altogether.

But all that is going to change.  It’s going to change because I am not a lazy, self-loathing, unenergetic type of person.  I am determined, I have drive, I have a self love that is dying to come out.

Today, I am feeling a rejuvenated sense of motivation.  I am inspired to make my body (and my mind) strong again.  I want to challenge and push myself to places that will surprise even me.  Last time I took this journey, I ended up running 10k marathons. Running was something I had tried in the past, but had always failed miserably at. I was convinced I’d never be a runner.  And then I learned to run.  I began with one measly minute and continued to surprise myself as I was able to tack on more and more time.  When I competed in my first 10k race in 2011 I felt like I’d climbed to the top of an insurmountable mountain.

That feeling of victory, of confidence, of self-pride, of genuine happiness when you reach goals you never thought you’d accomplish, is exhilarating.  I miss that feeling.  I want that feeling again.

fitness quote

So this time around, while I can still admit that I want to wear cute clothes and bikinis and tight dresses again, I’ve found a new inspiration that I think will stick.

My motivation comes from wanting my body and mind to be healthier and stronger.  I want to be an inspiration to others again.  I want to feel proud of myself again.  I want to meet goals and reap the rewards.

I want to feel victorious.

Strangely, this new source of motivation came to me today while watching the Blue Jays game.  It was Marcus Stroman Bobblehead Day so they were featuring the young, rookie pitcher who was supposed to have been the Jays’ big star this year.  Unfortunately, Stroman drastically injured his knee in spring training, had to undergo surgery and may be out of the game for the entire 2015 season.

But what inspired me about Stroman is his determination, dedication, and never-ending positivity.  While others may have let devastation and disappointment consume them, Stroman is using his time off to work harder than ever to make himself an all-around better player and person.  He is attending Duke University, is just months away from obtaining his sociology degree, and is working his butt off in rehab with hopes of returning to the Jays this fall.

Follow Stroman on instagram at @mstrooo6

Follow Stroman on instagram at @mstrooo6

I’ve been following Stroman on Instagram for some time now, and his outlook is incredibly inspiring.  Although he’s had major setbacks, his smile is as big as ever and his focus is sharper than ever.  More than ever, he’s determined to make his dreams come true, and he’s not letting anything get in his way.

So I’m taking a lesson from Stroman, and I’m making the choice (again!) to put in the hard work, determination, and dedication it will take to meet my fitness goals. I know it will take time (as it did before), and I know there will be ups and downs, but  I’m excited to get back in the game.  I’m eager to be strong, to set and reach goals, and ultimately, to be victorious.

positivity