I loved TODAY's #ShareKindness challenge over the holidays. It inspired me to host a minimalist potluck and donate toys and food to our local families in need. Energized by how good it feels to be kind, I'm ready to focus on sharing kindness with myself.
Health, Not Weight
To take better care of me, I will pursue health goals instead of weight goals in 2017. I wholeheartedly believe that trying to lose weight or diet drains precious energy from things that I love and sets a bad example for my two young daughters. We live in a world that doesn’t always accept women for who they are and how they look. We're always supposed to become a "new" version of ourselves and far too often, the focus is on our bodies, not our minds or our abilities. I want to encourage my girls to accept themselves just as they are, embrace their mistakes as lessons, and stay committed to self-kindness no matter what.
Acceptance is Kind
I’m finally at a point in my life where I’ve accepted my body 100 percent as it is, and I'm not going to let any marketer tell me anything different. It wasn’t always that way: I was on and off diets for years. As a teenager, I considered myself “good” if I was cutting calories or avoiding foods. It was a false way to measure my self-worth. It was dramatic. It turned eating, which should be pleasurable, into a thankless task. I blamed myself, shamed myself, and inevitably fell off the wagon, time and again. Because here’s the thing: Dieting just doesn’t work in the long run. In fact, diets are more closely linked to depression and anxiety than health.
Dieting and all its baggage isn’t for me, and it won’t make me a good role model for my kids. That means no sugar "detox," no cleanse, no elimination of any food. Instead, I'll focus on balanced and delicious meals and the special meaning behind sharing them with my family, no matter how chaotic they feel.
Being Kind to My Body and Mind Every Day
Instead of dieting, I focus on self-care and how I feel, letting my body look the way it wants after 40 years and two healthy girls. I learned to let go of excuses about being too busy with work or parenting. I’m worth my own time, even when my exercise is 15 minutes of full-body movements while I fold laundry (squats and lunges) and cook dinner (planks, push-ups, and jumping jacks).
I know that eating well, exercise, and sleep are as crucial as air. I need them to be more effective everywhere in my life, from relationships to work to parenting.
My 2017 "Taking Care of Me" Checklist
As I continue on my path of pursuing health and well-being, these routines matter to me most in the year ahead:
- Setting firm and respectful boundaries to make space for things I want to do just for myself, whether it’s yoga or a fitness class. Maybe this means saying “no” to an occasional play date, birthday, or volunteer opportunity. I don’t have to do everything to be a “good mom.”
- Prepping meals on the weekend, even when I might not want to. It’s worth it, because it saves time during the week.
- Involving my kids in family meals as a source of quality time and using exercise as playtime. My girls ride bikes while I jump rope, and we all enjoy some positive movement.
- Making time for interesting hobbies. This is tough for me: I need to give myself more permission for fun beyond the typical ideas of self-care, like cooking healthy meals, exercise, and sleep.
I bought an adult coloring book and high-end pencils over a year ago, and they’re still in their wrappers, untouched! (I know I'm not the only one who abandons their good intentions for side projects hobby.) My goal is to work on two pictures, 30 minutes each a week, and give them as a gift to my daughters sometime in 2017.
Wish me luck on my art projects! How will you take care of you?