Why changing my shirt was the greatest act of self love (and how to turn around shitty moods)

THE BAD MOOD

We’ve all been there: Nothing was wrong other than the fact that it is a tired, rainy Monday morning, and your mood wants to match the weather.  Especially if you were over the moon happy a day or two ago, why on earth is this happening?  For me, I notice all the signs on the outside that accompany that shitty feeling on the inside: I didn’t want to get out of bed, I want to eat everything in my fridge, I go through a mini Instagram-scrolling binge, and I try to walk out the door a billion times but kept forgetting something important each time.  It feels difficult to push a single positive thought to surface of your mind among the negative ones filling the space; thoughts you may not have seen in so long that they look unfamiliar.

Have you ever felt this way? You are cruising steady and then all of the sudden, something flips a switch that leaves you standing dazed and confused wondering why the mood changed.  Maybe you turn toward your mind-number of choice (sugar, alcohol, Instagram, TV…) or lash out at a loved one on accident or start crying for no reason.  You know you are in a bad mood, but you don’t know why and don’t want to take the time to figure it out.  It is so tempting to just play along with that negative feeling because it is so much easier to keep that negative energy rolling rather than turning around and saying “No, I will feel good today”.

On my particular rainy Monday, I saw this negative energy snowballing into a larger and larger dark hole I was about to be swallowed up into.  I could see myself slipping and further into it, while my happy mood sat flailing on the sidelines saying, “Stop! Don’t go down this road!”.  The problem was, I couldn’t see any other path to take.

THE TURNAROUND

I decided that if the change wasn’t going to happen from the inside, maybe I could make it happen from the outside.  (I.e. “Look good, feel good” mentality)

I had thrown on the “I’m wearing sweatpants and don’t give a crap” look and knew I was going to feel frump–no matter how I actually looked–if I left the house, and realized I was at a critical point: either wear my sweats and continue feeling bad or go change into something that makes me excited.  So I marched myself back upstairs and put on a shirt that made me feel sexy.

And it made all the difference.

I left the house in a slightly better mood than I would’ve had I stayed in the same clothes (and mindset!).  Once I made that initial move to start feeling better, the ball could start rolling in the positive direction again.

So why was changing my shirt really so important? Because I was showing myself that I cared about feeling good, and I wasn’t going to let anything else in my day ruin my mood.  If you rely on your surroundings to improve your mood (like relying on somebody else to get you out of the dumps),  you may get disappointed because there is no way to control every single thing that could happen to you.  You take your happiness into your own hands when you start showing up for yourself.

And I am not saying that other people can’t make you feel better.  In fact, there is nothing like another person’s loving gesture to you to help you out of a dark place. But we’ve all been in that spot where no matter what somebody else does for us, if we run with our negative emotions, every effort made can still leave you feeling sad.

THE FIX: SELF CARE

The best way to get back into the sunny view of life means taking care of yourself.  Recognize that you are feeling sad and have compassion.  Let yourself off the hook a little bit.  It’s okay to feel sad.  But instead of self-sabotaging, treat yourself like you were comforting a close friend.

Make yourself a cup of tea.  Wear your favorite outfit.  Go do your that activity that leaves you smiling no matter what. Paint your nails.  Hang out with a bestie.  Meditate.  Eat a meal that will make you feel good, not something that will leave you feeling bloated with a stomach ache (greens, healthy fats, fiber, and quality protein rather than sugar, caffeine, alcohol, or processed foods).  Go to sleep early.  Sleep in late.  Move that bod (don’t kill it in a workout, just break a sweat and get some endorphins running!).  Listen to music that feeds your soul.  Have a dance party (with your friends or solo in your room).

Even if it is small, that first action of self love will make each following one easier and easier. 

Remember, you deserve to feel awesome every day.  You deserve to be happy every day.  You deserve to feel confident every day

Love,
Lucy

Judging yourself? Turn it into something helpful

Have you ever just had it with that inner voice that judges yourself? It’s that “obnoxious roommate”, as Arianna Huffing says, that tells you you are too this or not enough that.  Well guess what?

img_5853You are not your thoughts. You have a mind, but you are not your mind.

The first step in spacing yourself from that “obnoxious roommate” is to recognize that she is not you! You are a kind soul and deep down, is that how you would talk to a friend or loved one?  Exactly.

Next step, turn that judgement into observation. What about that judgement may be objectively true? As the example given in The Mindful Twenty-Something, by Holly B. Rogers,  turn your mind’s thought “I am so lazy” into “I am experiencing low energy”. Instead of automatically jumping to the “I always do x“, take a step out of the emotions and belief in that story your mind tells you. Turn into “I have a history of doing x at this point in the day”, for example.

Recognize that you don have to operate or be held to that belief and story you are telling yourself.  Seriously, take a breath right now and feel yourself let go of that little story by letting go of the judgement.  So now you can say, why do I have low energy? What can I do about it? What would you rather be feeling? How can you get there?

Think about all of the possibilities you can bring to your life by letting yourself go past the judgement by coming at it from an open-minded perspective.  This is where growth can start to occur.

Instead of putting yourself down, ask yourself why you are feeling down and what you need to do to bring yourself back up.

Remember, you are always free to love yourself, your body, and your life.

Love,
Lucy

Self Image

Hello to all.  I was going to try to take advantage of my kitchen at home do a food post this week, but I completely forgot my camera.  And, well, Easter distractions happened, and here I am with a late post.  So I am sorry! But I also decided to write about something that I have been struggling with lately.

SELF IMAGE.  It is one of the things I believe people, especially myself, struggle with the most, and along with self-image comes self-acceptance.  For the most part, I truly accept and love myself—-in the the way I look as well as the qualities beyond the physical that define me.  So when I see people who have a hard time loving themselves or seeing how wonderful they really are, I feel sad and just want to help.   I always wish I could just show them an outside perspective of themselves, maybe that way they could love themselves the way that I and/or others love them.  ( This could be a little too cheesy for people, so if you don’t like it that is totally fine! Feel free to skip this post entirely.  But for anybody who does want to hear how I try to improve my own and other’s self-images, read on…)

I read in a book years ago (I believe it was You Can Heal Your Body) that you should try to look yourself in the mirror every morning and say “I Love You” to yourself–and truly mean it.  It does sound a bit weird, but the first time you do it, it is actually somewhat challenging.  You can’t easily lie to yourself while looking into a mirror and saying the words out loud.  The first time I tried to say it, I thought of all of the things I didn’t like about myself or things I wished I could change.  When I tried to say those three words, they came out sort of hesitantly.  Hearing them out loud was quite the effective indicator of how much I loved myself, so effective that I almost scared myself with how hesitant I sounded.  Right then I decided I was going to try to convince myself that I loved myself, which can be as easy or as hard as you make it.  A while later, I can’t even remember what I was doing, but I had the thought, “I’m glad I’m stuck with myself for the rest of my life”.   When I realized that I just had that thought, I rejoiced a little bit–I mean, it is an incredibly happy thought! It made me happy to be able to write down in my journal or  just say to myself in the mirror, “I deeply love and accept myself”, and really believe it.

So whenever I start to lose that mentality, or see others who haven’t even grasped the feeling, I become physically pained.  When it is people I love I try to send them notes or actions or anything that will make them smile–but also tell them the qualities that I love about them (both physical qualities AND personality traits).  And I realized that this was kind of the way I got myself to accept and love myself too.  I just wanted to share a few ways, because, well, we all deserve to love ourselves!

  1. As I mentioned above, look at yourself in the mirror and say out loud “I love you”.  Really try to believe and mean it when you say it.
  2. Start making a list of things you love about yourself that AREN’T physical traits.  As hard as it might sound (and actually be), it is really great to look at that list whenever you are feeling down.  Even if you can’t think of more than one thing on the spot (I couldn’t at first), keep the list and write something down whenever you think of it.
  3. Make a list of physical traits you love about yourself.   It is hard to consider your self image when the only image you have of yourself is, well, your body! Every little thing you love about your body is important! It is so much easier to love yourself entirely when you see the positive things instead of the negative ones.  Plus, at least for me, it makes you just that much happier!  Whenever I am feeling down about my body, I try to remember all of the things it does for me– it lets me play volleyball, lets me run 3 miles when I feel like it, and it even breaths all by itself!
  4. “Love what you can’t change, change what you can’t love”.  I read this in the book Getting Naked (I promise it is actually not about literally getting naked!) and it really resonated with me.  I believe that part of loving yourself is simply accepting who you are and the things that you won’t be able to change, and being able to distinguish the things that you can and can’t control.  A lot of things that you can’t change are physical–being 6’1″ as a 19 year old girl with small boobs and a strong nose is something that I will always have to live with! Well, age will change, but you could spend all the time in the world worrying about those things and they wouldn’t change.  So why not spend your time working on the things you can change? These could be physical things, like becoming more physically active, or they could be things that bother you about yourself.  For me, I am really shy and have a hard time meeting new people, so I always try to push myself into being a little more fearless when I’m around new people.

We are going to be stuck in our bodies for our entire life, so we might as well make peace with it, right? We are going to be living with ourselves for our entire lives as well, so we might as well try to become best friends with ourselves.  I hope this helps you make your own day, after all, you are the only person who can make you truly happy!

Love,

Lucy