The Year of Self-Care
You may have noticed I've been absent from the blog for awhile. I took a big step back from everything to start focusing on myself, which I've never been very good at doing. Instead of making New Year's resolutions, I planned out a list of intentions and broke them out over the course of the year. All of them were focused on improving my health and mental state after one of the most personally challenging years of my life. I spoke briefly about it on a livestream while driving to Colorado last year, but one year later, I realized I never truly dealt with all the losses contributing to where I found myself. I've decided to open up about what I'm doing to try to improve myself.
January's main focus was to create two very simple habits. I've never been consistent in taking off my make-up. I know, seems simple, but I just rarely did it. So I started an actual skin care routine... facewash, toner, night cream, the works! The other simple habit goes along with an overarching theme of organization and eliminating clutter- making my bed every morning. Neither of these sound like a big deal, but they were the start to a bigger plan to improve several aspects of my life. I made a deliberate decision to not attempt to introduce anything else, like working out or any dietary changes. I think that's where you can come into trouble with any sort of big goal or resolution is introducing too much at one time.
In February, I turned my focus to improving from the inside out. First, I introduced taking vitamins each day. I never knew where to even start with supplements, but I knew I could benefit from starting. If you haven't seen the ads for Care/of vitamins, the little personalized daily packs, have you been on the Internet at all? :) If you missed it, the idea is to take a short survey about your health and goals and it gives you a recommended list of supplements with the research behind them. I had a code for $40 off the first month, so I did it! If you're interested you can also save $40 on your first order using the code BL9XYU. I didn't love the amount of waste created by those daily packs, and thought I could do it more cost effectively by buying in bulk, so I cancelled the subscription. But it was a good way to test out how I felt on their recommendations. I liked what I had, so I ordered reusable pill bags and bulk vitamins and made my own daily packs! Money and waste reduced. Win win.
The most intimate and crucial decision I've made so far was to start seeing a therapist. I haven't shared this with many people, but I want to talk about how I overcame the apprehension to start that process. It felt very overwhelming to search for one and just hope it would be a good fit, but I reached out to my insurance provider and got a list of Licensed Professional Counselors and read their profiles. Making that first inquiry felt monumental, but walking into the first appointment was truly terrifying. But I will say it's been of the best things I've ever done for myself. When you feel so utterly isolated and alone, having someone to talk through all the pain can make a world of difference. Once I was there, I realized it was less about finding a perfect fit with the therapist (which was the source of my anxiety) and more about the process of doing the work. I have a long way to go, but it's been crucial to starting to feel better. I was diagnosed with low-level depression and anxiety and it's nothing to be ashamed of. I think being open about your struggles and pain is really important. I had some significant people leave my life over the past 18 months or so and, frankly, it sucks... but coming to terms with it and being the best version of myself that I can be is the only path forward from here.
So what's the plan for this month? Along with continuing everything I've started so far, I'll be getting back into physical activity! Now that my environment has been decluttered (thanks Marie Kondo) and I've started some real work on the inside, it's time to embark on improving my fitness level. I ran a 15k last month, which was honestly ill-advised, but I finished! It was way too much too fast considering I hadn't been doing anything with any regularity for months beforehand... But to avoid burnout, I'm breaking this intention into smaller goals. First, I went to a free OrangeTheory class to kickstart my newest journey. I plan on introducing small workouts to my mornings (no longer than 15-20 minutes). And lastly, I'm going to start going to a weekly class to have a true commitment to getting active again.
If you made some goals or resolutions for the New Year which have fallen by the wayside, consider starting really small. Getting the sense of accomplishment from forming good habits can be the most encouraging thing to keep going and start doing more. One small change. You can start new journey at any time. Just make the decision to start. Be intentional and make a plan.
The most important thing I can say is if you're struggling, there is help. You are not alone. The first step is the hardest, but it's worth it. I'm happy to help steer you in the right direction if you don't know where to go. Self-care is so important, so be sure to check in with yourself. Here's to always making the effort to improve!