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

Things to Love about Gaining Weight

I have gained weight since tearing my ACL.  It may not be that noticeable, but it has happened.   I haven’t been able to work out, which is tough because, as I have shared before, exercising is a great source of joy in my life (like yoga!) and because I love to eat.  Now, already over a month into my new sedentary lifestyle, I have already noticed a smaller, slower appetite.  But this doesn’t mean that eating habits don’t die hard… And even though I have been eating less, I have still noticed myself gaining weight.

My initial reaction is an overflow of self-doubt, shame, worries of social standards, and any other negative thought.  How terrible is that? Not only am I in physical pain from my surgery, but I am experiencing completely unnecessary emotional stress as well.  How terrible is it that I feel bad about my body when it is working overtime to give me back my normal life, but I have the automatic fear of NOT looking “perfect” (as if it were attainable for anybody anyway).

So I have decided not to let it bring my happiness down.  Why should occupying a few more inches in the world have an effect on how I feel about myself and the joy I experience in life? The people in my love me for being myself.  And right now, carrying an extra layer of skin around is still part of me, and they still love me.  In fact, I feel more loved now than ever.  And guess what? This has no correlation to my weight or perception of my weight.

Life is about moving through change. We all go through different cycles and stages at different points in our life.  There is an ebb and flow. And this change is okay.  It is inevitable! You might be at a point in your life where you cannot do the things you might want to (like lay on the beach in the warm weather because it is, at least in Virginia, snowing and below freezing.) In my case, the thing I cannot do is exercise, work out, be active at all, and even getting myself in and out of the car without assistance (thank you mom!!).  But this too shall pass, and there will be a time in my near future where I will be able to be active and live the lifestyle I want.  (Aka go to a yoga class, go for a run, lift weights, or even bike on a stationary bike without pain.)

If this is one of those times where you need to love where you are right now, no matter what point on your journey it may be, here is a list of great things that come with gaining weight.

 

Things To Gain With Weight

  1. Bigger Boobs.  As a member of the “itty-bitty-titty-committee”, I am not going to lie about this one.  It’s nice to have more of my girls present and accounted for.  Why not enjoy it?
  2. Time to appreciate qualities in yourself other than your weight….and whatever else might come with it.  Used to having abs you can see through a shirt? Me neither.  But I am used to how my normal stomach looks and feels, and this is not it.  Instead of taking time out of our day to stress and worry about it, let’s take the opportunity to think about things you might not notice if you just stopped the thought process at your appearance. While staying ” a great quality about me is my 6 pack” is always nice  (again, nothing I have been able to claim), try reaching deeper for something like: “I love how patient I am” or even “I love that I am able to take care of my cat”.
  3. At least for me, gaining weight means looking like this goddess.
    Ashley Graham is one of my heroes.  She is makes amazing strides for body acceptance, and truly redefining what the “accepted standard of beauty” is.  If gaining weight means looking more like Ashley, I look forward to it.

    For those of you who don’t know Ashley Graham, she is   g o r g e o u s  and  s e x y  and  c o n f i d e n t
  4. Focusing on confidence.  It doesn’t matter what you look like.  It matters how you present yourself to the outside world.  If you are confident in yourself, other people will feel that.  Trust me, I know this is harder than it looks.  It is hard to deal with change, even just to accept it.  So embracing the change enough to embody confidence? That is tough.  But it is this step out of our comfort zones that allows us to grow.
  5. Practice in accepting what is.  That feeling of accepting yourself in a new and different state that you aren’t used to is just great practice to sit with yourself and get comfortable being uncomfortable.  What are you able to offer yourself now? Are there new things you can do now that you couldn’t do before?
  6. Re-framing your definition of yourself.  You aren’t living the ins and outs of your normal life, which means stepping out of that story you tell yourself everyday.  The story about how you are, who you are, the way you “should” be, or what you “should” be/look like.  As our bodies change, it forces us to jump out of that definition we have of ourselves.  This is a chance to open your story to anything you want it to be.  What about your story can you let go? What is a new lens can you view your entire person through?
  7. Take up space in your life.  I think that the desire to be tiny and take up less space, physically, in the world is linked to feeling a lack of permission to be here.  And that does necessarily mean not mean here on this earth, but rather not granting yourself permission to be yourself, to really claim your aspirations, or even speak your mind.  What mental space is free for you to take up as your body claims more physical space for you?
  8. More of you to love and more love to go around.
  9. Embodying more feminine energy.  Gaining weight means more curves, right? When have curves not been a great womanly quality? How can gaining weight help you move into your expression of your feminine side?

Just remember life is more than fittin’ in your jeans.

-Ed Sheeran

Have a soft heart with yourself.  It is tough to love your body sometimes, but just remember there is really no right way to be.  The only right thing to do is be the most authentic expression of you.

 

Love, As always,
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