Here are eight things I wish I knew years ago. But at the same time, I probably wouldn't have figured them out without having gone through everything I have the last 5 years or so.
1. Exercise can be fun
I used to hate the idea of exercise. Sweating? Eww! Getting smelly? Double eww! People will look at me and judge me because I have no athletic ability! Ahh! Run away!!! Looking back at it, I was just being silly. So what if you get sweaty and smelly? That's why we shower. And a cool shower after a hard-hit workout is one amazing feeling. I just had to find something I loved to do. For me, I like videos at home. I can get up before the kids or do it during naptime. It is 30 minutes to myself where the kids are FORBIDDEN to interrupt me and I feel so much better afterwards. Karate is fun because I am doing it with my family and we encourage each other to get better and work harder. Exercise isn't so scary when you find some joy in it.
2. I am FIERCE
I am not "sporty" but I can be the best me I can be. I can work harder and get better. I can give 110% in order to prove something to myself. I am not putting myself up against anyone else. I am looking at where I have been and where I have come. I can jump higher today than yesterday. I can do one more push-up today than yesterday. I can say no to the pumpkin spice cake with cream cheese icing today when I ate it yesterday. I am fierce and I can work the body the good Lord has given me. Woot!
3. Diet is 80% of the battle (if not 99% for me)
"The food you eat either makes you more healthy or less healthy." ~Dallas and Melissa Hartwig. "Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food." ~Hippocrates. "Food has the power to heal us. It is the most potent tool we have to help prevent and treat many of our chronic diseases." ~Dr. Mark Hyman. It sounds easy. Eat food that makes your body healthy. Don't eat the food that will make you sick. Uhg. But why does the unhealthy stuff taste so good?? My biggest battle is not working out. My biggest battle is eating the proper food. I can go all day eating the perfect meals, but if I have chips in the house, I could polish off the entire bag after the kids go to bed. Or eat an entire pan of brownies. Or .... well, you know what I am saying. If I can stop myself from eating what I know I shouldn't eat then I have won. This is a HUGE part of what I am working on right now.
4. You are beautiful and you are good enough
How many girls suffer from low self-esteem? Not just girls. So many people suffer from low self-esteem. It comes out in many ways: bullies, anorexia, depression, emotional eaters, etc. Most people suffer, to some degree, with unhealthy thoughts about themselves. What I needed to hear years ago is that I am beautiful, not because my hair or make-up is done well, but because I AM MADE IN THE IMAGE OF GOD! I am made by God himself. He formed and molded me. He loves me as I am. Right now. He loves my belly that bore four children. He loves my thin hair that has stood the test of Hashimoto's. He loves my freckles on my nose and the wrinkles on my forehead. HE LOVES ME. So why shouldn't I also love me? It is easy for me to love others and see the best in them. So why can't I do that with myself? I am beginning to, with thanks to my husband who pours affirmations into my heart when I need it. I am good enough for God, and I am good enough for myself.
5. Extreme fatigue DOES NOT MEAN you are lazy. Depression DOES NOT MEAN you are lazy.
I am not lazy. I am exhausted from fighting a chronic disease. This was a hard one on me. I honestly thought I was lazy which made me feel like I wasn't doing a good enough job in my life. It took reading about my illness and being honest with my doctor who slapped me out of my own funk. It isn't about making excuses. It is about being real. I can only do so much. I can only be who I am. I am not looking for attention and I don't enjoy this. With the help of my husband and on occasion the children, I am getting to a place where I am gentle with myself. I want to work and I want to get things done, but I am sick all the time. This is my life and learning to accept myself is an ongoing process.
6. Make yourself a priority.
This is SO SO SO important. This means taking time to destress in whichever way works. Crafting, exercising, reading, getting away from children for an hour, etc. As a mom it is easy to put everyone else's needs ahead of my own but in order to function, I have to make myself a priority. Sometimes that means putting the TV on for the kids so that I can relax in my room for 20 minutes. Sometimes it means leaving the kids with my husband AND NOT FEELING BAD ABOUT IT so that I can get away for an hour. This is hard, but important. If I don't take care of myself, no one will do it for me and I can't be a good wife and mother if I am on empty on the time.
7. Never forget a dose of your meds. Ever.
You don't want to know why I know this. Just remember your meds. Please.
8. Natural deodorant does work.
I started using natural deodorant about a month ago or so. I had doubts that it would work. Well, color me pink because it works. I don't smell! This is another important change I made because the aluminum in standard deodorants can mimic estrogen which increases your risk of breast cancer and brain diseases. The aluminum is designed to plug your sweat glands in your armpits but the problem with that is your body NEEDS to sweat in order to release toxins. If you plug those pathways, then you are keeping trash in your body. I also do a bentonite clay mask on my underarms once a week to help pull the toxins out as well.
There are more things I wish I knew years ago, but these are the eight most important. What about you? Is there something you could tell your younger self in order to save yourself?