Because I Need to Take Care of Myself

I’ve been thinking about self-care a lot lately. I haven’t been taking proper care of myself. Brian likes to joke that he feels responsible for making sure I’m well cared for, and I joke that it’s because my parents gave up that responsibility when he walked into my life. In reality, I need to make sure that I’m doing everything in my power to actually take care of my mind and body. Because when one part of me isn’t working right, the rest follows suit.

I participated in an Influencer Activation Program on behalf of Influence-Central for Massage Envy. I received compensation as a thank you for creating this content. As usual, the thoughts, opinions, and beliefs expressed in this post are wholly my own.

With the last week and a half off work, I’ve been focusing more on me and what I need. As a gregarious lady, I need vastly different things in my life than my introverted boyfriend. I’m at my happiest when I’m surrounded by people that make me smile, laugh, love or some combination of the three in a comfortable setting. Basically, I consider myself to be an introverted extrovert so I want to be in a place I know and feel welcome, but I recharge through the energy of people. In short – Party at my house, people!

Just kidding. Sort of. Self-maintenance, for me, involves a combination of activities that allow my physical and emotional well-being to thrive. This is how I do:

In your busy life, you need to make sure you're taking time for yourself. Try one of these 5 ways to promote self-care in your own life.

Yoga – physical and emotional

My practice is a safe space to meditate, relax, and breath. Not only does it help me move my body physically and stretch muscles to encourage activity without injury (well…I try anyways), but it also calms my thoughts, minimizes my anxiety and makes me a more positive person. I need yoga in my life. It gives me confidence, strength, peace. It gives me a sense of control. This is something I’ve been missing for a few months, since returning to my normal from my back injury, and I know I need to regain my yoga time. I’m starting back up again, and can’t tell you how excited I am to do so.

Yoga is part of my self-care routine.

Writing – emotional

Who needs a therapist when you can write all your crazy out in a story or blog post? When I’m anxious or depressed or just can’t seem to sleep, writing is my go-to version of insta-therapy. I can sit down with a notebook or in front of a computer screen and pour my heart out through words. In my previous role, I was writing so much dull marketing content, that I was slacking on writing for me, a mistake I won’t be making again.

Writing and painting my nails are both therapeutic exercises for me

Writing and painting my nails are both therapeutic exercises for me, which leads me to the next part of my self-care

Painting my nails – emotional and physical

Yeah, yeah…I know what you’re thinking.¬†Chrissy, that can’t possibly be part of your self-care routine. And yet, here it is. When I can occupy my mind doing something that requires physical concentration, I can often think better, focus more thoroughly, and listen more intently. I paint my nails when I’m binge watching TV or having a conversation with Brian, because I’m more apt to pay attention without distraction. Also, when my nails look nice, I feel better about myself. It’s something I can pride myself in, and I take that as a necessary part of caring for myself and my body.

Socialization – emotional

While I can’t get behind the idea of forced socialization (something that happens when you feel obligated to join a group for a social outing – typically a work or organization obligation when you don’t love your peers), I love being with my people. It is an unfortunate circumstance that some of my writer friends are scattered around the world, but I’m also super lucky to have a lot of fabulous friends right in my backyard.

Just me and a bunch of awesome ginger writers. No big deal

Just me and a bunch of awesome ginger writers. No big deal (except that it’s totally a big deal).

In addition to interacting with my peer groups through parties, dinners, and board gaming, I find myself soaking up the brilliance and silliness in Facebook groups with writers I adore, I attend conferences and meet those writers face to face, and I recently met up with one of my new favorite people to talk, snack, and write.

Massage – physical

Monthly massage is one of the most important things that I do for myself. I’ve been a member of Massage Envy since the summer of 2007 when I was a catering manager who was consistently spraining her ankle and pulling muscles. For a few months, I saw whatever therapists were available, but the day I met Craig, everything changed. He asked if I had a preferred therapist, and I shrugged. His response is burned into my memory, ‘Well, let’s see if we can change that.”

Eight and a half years later, I feel like I’m cheating on Craig when I visit another therapist (which he, ¬†encourages when he’s unavailable). When I hurt my back this summer, I made several extra visits to Massage Envy in addition to my regular monthly massage (sometimes with Craig, who only works Monday through Friday, and sometimes at another location with my secondary therapist who works weekends).

 

Massage is not some fluffy thing I do as a luxury for myself, it’s a necessary part of my Total Body Care.

Because I am active.

Because I spend 8-10 hours a day sitting in front of a computer.

Because I fall down, trip over chains, walk into poles.

Because I hurt myself.

Because I still feel injuries from more than a decade ago whenever the weather changes.

Because I care about my mental and physical health.

Because it makes my body feel healthier.

I am an advocate for taking care of yourself, your body, and your mind.

What is your because moment? What do you do to take care of your emotional and physical well-being? Do you take the time out to get regular massages? What activities do you participate in that make you you?

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Practicing Self-Compassion After an Eating Disorder

WARNING: This post may contain triggers for and about eating disorders. I had intended to write about yoga, but this post molded into something completely different.
1000Voices
Today, 1000 voices around the world are speaking and writing about compassion. This movement isn’t intended to change the world, but maybe…just maybe..it might. You can follow the movement by checking out the hashtag #1000Speak or by reading posts on the 1000 Voices for Compassion Link Up.

Compassion. What a beautiful and complicated word. Want to complicate it even more? Direct it at yourself.

Compassion. What a beautiful andI’ve had a love-hate relationship with my body since I was a little girl. I was the chubby girl. Bullied for my weight. I’ve had a love-hate relationship with my body since I was a little girl. I was the chubby girl. Bullied for my weight. Awkward. Quiet around my peers, but social around adults. Bigger than everyone else my age, but told I was beautiful by adults. Constantly informed that “I had a woman’s body.”

Chubby middle school pic

When I was in high school, I thought I was fat. I went on Weight Watchers for the first of MANY times. I lost between five and ten pounds. I would kill to weigh that much now.

Pink Princess

In college, I went back on Weight Watchers with my best friend. I lost about thirty pounds. I would kill to weigh that much now.

College party shirts

Over the years, my weight fluctuated as much as Oprah’s. Since I was 14 years old, my range has extended nearly 100 pounds. And sometimes, it was because of healthy things I did…and sometimes, it was not.

I guess it started in college when I was binge drinking. In college, I drank a lot. And I almost always threw up after drinking. When I felt sick, I’d preemptively puke. It seemed okay because everyone puked when they drank. And a lot of times, it wasn’t even preemptive…it just happened. I would drink to excess nearly every weekend.

And then it transitioned into something more.

At the end of and after college, I threw up. A lot. And it was no longer just because I was drinking. I purged daily for long periods of time. Some days it was more than once. Sometimes, after every meal. And after every snack. Between meals. Between dinner and dessert. I could go weeks or months without doing it. I didn’t believe I had a problem. And then one day, I would eat too much or not fit into a shirt the way I wanted to…and start again. I didn’t consider myself a bulimic. Because I was still fat. And I could stop whenever I wanted to.

Business suit

I would be eating something. And thinking about how full I was getting or how my stomach hurt just a little…and then I would think, well…just go throw up. And then I would. I started eating things that would be easier to un-digest. I preferred to eat out where I could purge in a public restroom rather than at home.¬† I would pull my hair back and take my shirt off before crouching over the porcelain god. I blamed itchy contacts for my red eyes after going to the bathroom. I carried gum and breath mints everywhere. I was strategic. But I still didn’t think I had a problem.

When my mom asked me about it, a couple years after it started…she was very blunt. “Are you bulimic?” She had seen remnants in the bathroom on a regular basis. The evidence was pretty stacked against me.

Chrissy at a wedding rehearsal

By then, I knew I had a problem. I had even admitted it to one of my friends. A friend I knew wouldn’t judge me…and a friend I knew wouldn’t take action. And she didn’t. But she would talk to me about it. And try to support me as best as she could. I responded to my mom in the only way I thought could be more evasive than point-blank lying. I told her I was just drinking too much. I wasn’t lying. I definitely drank A LOT. But I was still lying. To her…and probably to myself.

Self-Compassion After an Eating Disorder

I didn’t have compassion for myself. I didn’t respect my body. One of the clearest memories through all of this was the control that I felt. It wasn’t feeling skinny or the satisfaction of eating whatever I wanted. It was control. I would stand in front of the mirror, suck in my stomach and think, I can control this. But I didn’t love my body. Not with everything I was putting it through.

Feeling skinny

I remember telling another very good friend. Another friend who I knew wouldn’t judge me…but he would try in his own way to help me. And he definitely did. At dinner, he’d ask me why I was going to the bathroom at a restaurant. And eventually, just knowing that he had his eyes on me and could confront me held me back. When I was out with that group of friends, I would only go to the bathroom when I needed to pee, and I’d be fast about it. I puked less and less.

Somewhere along the way I stopped for good.

I wish I could tell you what made me stop. I wish I could tell you the moment that I took control of my urges and changed the control from puking to not puking. But I can’t. And it’s not just because I decided to stop one day and magically did. I know I could have benefited from professional help.

The funny thing is…as I was trying to find old pictures for this post…I couldn’t find one where I thought I was REALLY fat. But at the time…I thought I was huge. I know that I’m bigger now than I have ever been. And while I will continue to try healthy routes of diet and exercise, I’m becoming more comfortable with myself. I’m respecting and loving my body. Even when trolls on the internet think I’m fat. Or ugly. Or stupid. Or worthless. I am none of those. I am beautiful. And by respecting myself and my body, I can better show compassion toward others.

When we have compassion for someone, we sympathize. We empathize. We express concern. We show love. We sometimes pity. We worry. We care. We think. We share in the experiences of others. Compassion is difficult.

When we have compassion for ourselves, we have to dig deep to truly understand our minds and our bodies. We learn to respect what we can and cannot do. We strive to achieve. We exist.

curvy yoga
I recently started practicing yoga again. And I can’t tell you how much the support on Instagram and Facebook has meant to me. I’ve been participating in yoga challenges, and posting yoga pictures daily. Not only is it keeping me accountable, but I’m able to channel that same control I once had over my body into a new venture. Instead of controlling what goes in and out of my body, I can control how I move my body. And I can challenge myself while respecting my limitations and understanding that I am beautiful. Regardless of my size. Or whether society thinks I should take a picture of myself in a sports bra.

curvy yogaHow do you practice self-compassion? Have you suffered from an eating disorder? How have you handled body issues for yourself?

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!