As I transition into taking on the role of dietitian at an additional Hy-Vee location in Sioux Falls, my thoughts have been all over the place. It’s an exciting opportunity in my career, but naturally that comes along with some associated stress. Some of that stress is necessary. It keeps me motivated and striving towards my goals. However, it typically leaves me a little scatterbrained. Therefore, my post is coming at ya in the form of a list (because that’s about as close to coherent as my brain can get today, ha!).
As I was driving home from work last night, I was thinking of things that I needed to hear repeatedly when struggling with body image, anxiety, and depression a few years back. To this day, these are still things that I tell myself when life gets a little overwhelming.
Note: I made the images the size of your phone screen so you can easily save them as a screensaver for a daily reminder. 🙂
When I think back to some of the tougher times in my life, I always felt like the pain and adversity were going to last forever. Simply telling someone who is struggling to “be happy” or “just be positive”, while well-meaning, are not helpful instructions. When you are in that particular state of mind, it’s challenging to step back and have perspective. Through my meditation and yoga practice, I have learned to keep these four simple words in my toolbox. Whenever I sense that anxiety is creeping in my life, I make a point to pause, take a deep breath, and mentally note: “this moment is temporary.” If it’s more effective for you to say the words out loud, do it! As with anything in life, this technique is going to take some practice. It may mean that you need to take a step away from your environment and take a deep breath. If you have a special piece of jewelry or small trinket you can keep in your pocket, this can help serve as a reminder. For me personally, I like to wear a Lokai bracelet as my reminder that “this too shall pass.”
This statement may sound kind of silly at first and you’re probably picturing the words on your side view mirror of your car. However, I think the underlying message is important. For my clients who struggle with disordered eating, eating disorders, and even chronic dieting, looking in the mirror can trigger a number of emotions. It often can cascade into a myriad of false stories about one’s self. Looking at the mirror, you may first exaggerate how your outward appearance comes across. This may soon turn into a false narrative about yourself. The mirror and a scale tend to have this effect on people. There are a couple of things I want you to remember here: First, you are the only one who notices those minute details about your body. Second, your appearance does not tell you (or anyone) anything about who you are as a person. Finally, your body does all these really neat tasks for you even when you hate what it may look like to you. It pumps blood to carry oxygen through your body. It breathes. It metabolizes the nutrients you bring into your body. You get the point. I know it’s easy to fixate on what we look like. But remember that your body is so much more than just a decorative object in the world.
Finally, always, always, always remember that you are not alone. In light of the recent deaths by suicide of Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade, I feel it is especially timely to continue to spread this message. Life is hard. In fact, it is more than that–it’s really damn frustrating a lot of the time. I don’t think it helps that it has now become easier to be hurtful to others behind the keyboard of your smart phone. I may not know exactly what you are going through at this very moment. Just like you may not know what I am going through at the same moment. But I can guarantee you this: your life is valuable. It may not seem like it all the time. It may seem like it’s too hard to go on. But see Truth #1. This moment will pass. You will get through this. And you CAN get through this. There is NEVER shame in getting the help that you deserve.
In 2017, I got the semicolon tattoo on my wrist. Initially, I received a lot of questions about why I got the tattoo as my one and only tattoo. While there are a number of factors that went into my decision to get that ink, the main thing I wanted to do was have a conversation starter for important things in life. When people see the semicolon symbol, I want them to realize that they are not alone in their struggles.
Pause ; but keep on going ; you’re story doesn’t end here.
Note: As a precaution, I also want to include the Suicide Hotline on this post 1-800-273-8255 and also a resource for starting a search for reaching out to a trained therapist: Psychology Today.
Sending you all my love today! <3