I’ve had to deal with some health issues recently. That has woken me up to the importance of self care. The key is in finding out what works specifically for you. What is the right balance of work and play at this particular point in your life? What once was good may very well have changed. You have to keep tuned into your inner voice. The more you learn to listen to it, the clearer it gets.
My self care essentials are walks out in parks and the city streets. At this time of the year the darkness makes every bit of light decorations shine magically. Just looking at them transports me away from everyday work seriousness. My essentials also include a liquid pleasure called coffee. I feel uplifted as I make my way to my trusted coffee shop and chat with my baristas. Buying nearly one coffee a day sure adds up in the end. But self care is an investment.
My third self care element is yoga, Pilates and ballet. I have a mat on which I play in my activity room. I observe my current state and then engage in an activity that meets my need the best. Sometimes calming yoga, other times boosting and physically challenging training. Next to the yoga mat, I have a stair climber. Whisking away on it at the end of a busy work day often feels good. Going out for runs is another tempting possibility. My energy level ultimately makes the decision.
I encourage you to stay connected with your inner self. Ask yourself what it is that you need today to feel the best. Make a list if that helps in keeping track and not forgetting when you need gentle self care the most.
My Facebook group Happy Place – Fitness Community in English in Quebec City is well on its way. There are 30 members now and we are getting to know each other. I started the group after joining another group earlier in the summer, created by Mary Ann and located in Seattle. I wanted to have something local. A chance to get together from time to time in real life.
The anchor of my group is the workout class that I am teaching on Saturdays. This year it will be a mix of zumba and power yoga. We will be doing half an hour of each. There will also be some other cutting-edge fitness techniques thrown in like Pilates and Barre in the course of the year. I’m excited about sharing my fitness knowhow. I used to teach aerobics and work as a personal trainer at a gym so this is in a way going back to my old love.
Creating a group like this can give the founder and the participants a great boost. You make connections with likeminded people and they can pull you higher. We are all on this journey together. No one has the ultimate answers, nor is everyone the same. We have to figure out what exercise routines and eating habits fit our unique bodies and lifestyles. Learning from other’s experiences can provide precious inspiration.
I recently got asked how I figured out a way to body love. I used to pick on myself. I didn’t like the way I looked. There were favorite body parts, like my abs, that I especially focused on. I was constantly trying to loose weight. I wanted to maintain a weight lower than what was commonly recommended for my height. Then one day came a moment when I did some serious soul-searching. I wrote down my true values. None of them turned around bodily measurements. I also recognized that when I was in contact with others, I never paid attention on their weight. I wanted to see them as they really were, a person with interesting things inside. So, I figured that I needed to apply my core values to my life as well.
I decided to stop the fight between my weight loss wanting mind and the actual needs of my living body. Trying to maintain a lower than normal weight led me to controlled and inflexible behavior. Keeping things where they naturally aren’t supposed to be is hard work. Some people spend their lives fighting with the scale, deciding that they’ll never go over a certain number, come what may. But in the meantime they are limiting how much they really experience this life. There were times when I’d stay at home just because I didn’t want to eat more and thus didn’t have the needed energy to go out and enjoy other’s company. Or maybe I’d go but only be a shadow of myself because I was exhausted. These are rather extreme examples but you get the picture.
I decided to allow myself the amount of energy, nutritious food, that it needed to fully function. Slowly I incorporated all foods back into my life. I had forbidden foods like nuts, chips, pizza or chocolate from myself. I now go by the 80-20 principle. I try to eat 80% clean, just because I know it makes me feel my best, and 20% indulgence. I’ll have that chocolate chip cookie if I want to. I do physical activity every day. I do it because it helps me to feel good in my body and also boosts my mood. I know that I have to be mindful of maintaining my happy spark alive. I also know that I have to be proactive. I take myself out for a walk or do some yoga before I feel too sad.
I have recently focused more on health magazines and social media in comparison to the fashion magazines that I used to read. I still like fashion and read the glossies I subscribe to, but I pay attention on not getting any negative body vibes from them. If my day’s good and I’m feeling great in my skin, then there’s no problem in looking at a young girl with a very thin (and probably photo shopped) frame. But if I’m already feeling self critical so then maybe that day I need to entertain myself with other things.
I continue to look for articles, social media influencers and messages that support my quest for body love. I’ve found a group on Facebook where women support each other’s sports and health goals. That has been a very positive experience. That is why I was inspired to start my own Happy Place fitness community here in Quebec City.
So, what’s the secret to body love and peace within? Deciding to want it more than anything else and then doing all you can to get it. There’s beauty in putting yourself out there and giving encouragement to others. That’s why I wrote this post.
I had flirted with yoga before but it is only this summer that I’ve really delved into it. I took yoga lessons back in Paris which left me dubitative. I craved sports and didn’t find it in that particular practice. But now either I or something else has changed, and I really see the interest in yoga. I still feel that it is a lot like my twenty years of ballet – a discipline based on strengthening and lengthening the muscle all within the same practice – and what is more precious than that.
I enjoy yoga outdoors and with music. I also like the mental side of it. Sometimes the instructor will encourage you to set a certain goal to our practice like finding peace or energy, or even an answer to a question. I like the emphasis on being thankful and also radiating the love you have sparked when finishing your session.
I recently discovered a beautiful girl – inside and out – who teaches yoga lessons online. Here’s a link to Boho Beautiful if you also would like to try working out at home with her. She will take you to do yoga on the beaches of Asia. You find differently focused lessons: core, shoulders, morning wake up, digestion and so on. I say let’s go find peace and power…
It’s been the longest blog break I’ve taken ever during the lifetime of this one since 2007. Things just went that way. We were enjoying ourselves by the ocean and wireless network was unsure. So I took time to live real life and to breathe in the ocean air.
I’m extremely happy to be back though. I am contented to be reconnecting with you. My blog is about sharing joy. It’s about bringing sunshine and positive vibes into this world. I’m thankful that you’re here right now. That you’re interested in reading what I have to say. As the new business/school/activity year is dawning, I’ll be here more enthusiastic than ever to inspire you to feel good be it fashion, self development, traveling or relaxation.
Our first vacation week was spent on Cape Cod in Massachussetts. We camped less than a mile from the Atlantic Ocean. We took long walks on the beach. I did yoga there. We swam and cuddled and slept there. We took in all the renewing breezes. As my tank top says, I needed “vitamin sea”, and I truly got my dose.
This weekend I wish that you also find “your beach”. Go take some time for yourself. Rejoice in what is beautiful, calming and energizing around you. Get lost in the moment. Be you.
I’m done bashing my body. I’ve decided to stop complaining once and for all. Yes, I’ll never be perfect, but does that really matter? I don’t expect perfection in others, so why in myself. I believe that many of us will be freed to truly live, not just to get by, when we uncover the key to unconditional body happiness.
I read an article talking about three points leading to body wellbeing. Let’s start. The first point is the most powerful. Focus on what you love about your body, not on what you don’t. Let’s stop wasting our precious time on complaining about this and that. The tummy that isn’t as flat as I’d like or the shoulder bones that don’t define themselves as clearly as once before. Is my body functional? Does it enable me to truly live, to go where I wish and pile up on activities that I long to engage in?
The second point is about stopping negative internal talk. Practice and learn how to talk to yourself like you would to a dear friend. I would never ever tell a friend that they don’t look their best today or that their cheeks look too chubby to be cute. I don’t even notice these things in others. According to my values, I’d find that small-minded. So, why would I pick on myself in such a way?
The third point banishes our damaging habit of comparing. We compare body weight and firmness of tummy but also jobs, finances and success. This leads to what. Deep dissatisfaction, ungratefulness and general lack of motivation. Let’s appreciate our lives, bodies and doings to their true value. I am unique. So are you. Let’s do “us”. I believe that practice makes perfect. Once you catch yourself in the comparison game, snip it off right there and then.
What do you think? Are you game?