Health Life

What I’ve Learned On My Wellness Journey (So Far)

April 20, 2016


Photo by Lindsay Henwood

I’ve been trying to journal on a more consistent basis and it really is helping me sort out my thoughts on this process towards a healthier mind and body.  I thought I’d start a dialogue with you, as I know that we all have times of struggle in our lives and I wanted to share mine.  I eluded to some of this in this blog post, but here is the story behind it.

To give you an idea, 2015 was both the best and worst year of my life.  The apartment flood part one really highlighted that and I could no longer ignore the fact that I had completely burned out.  The problem was that I loved my 4.5 jobs (wedding planning counts as at least a part time job) so much. But, just because you love every sandwich on the menu, doesn’t mean you should order them all.  In fact, I wasn’t even eating three meals a day. I was lucky if I was having more than just coffee.  I was stressed all the time.  I had too many projects on the go and wasn’t doing my best work for anyone, which took a toll on my confidence.  I had “no time” (but really) for anything.  To cook or clean or workout or do anything remotely for myself was out of the question.  I simply did what I needed to do to get by.  I was trying to Olivia Pope ‘handle it’ but life isn’t (thankfully) an episode of Scandal.  I didn’t have her team of associates to help me, or her killer power suits to wear around town.  It was painfully obvious that I couldn’t continue on that path.

Sometimes we’re not okay, and that’s okay.  Going through extra obstacles, whether it’s a physical injury, an illness, feeling out of shape, depression, etc. really pushes you to change your mindset.  Sometimes things aren’t as easy as they are for others, or even as they once were for ourselves.  It’s these times that it’s important to REALLY check in and do what needs to be done to feel better!

I have always struggled with exercising consistently and how these people with “success stories” magically changed their entire lifestyle.  And that’s the thing.  I don’t want to become a tall slender blonde model (because that’s literally impossible).  I want to be stronger.  I want to feel healthy.  I want to nourish my body with the food I put in it.  I hope to start a family within the next 5-ish years and want to make sure my habits can be a great example for them.  Below are a few things I’ve realized in the last few months.

Let Go Of The Guilt
When I’m not exercising consistently or eating well or working on what I think I should be or being my best, then I am overwhelmed with guilt.  Guilt, guilt, guilt.  It’s unnecessary, often paralyzing, and takes up far too much space in my head.  I now question these thoughts immediately.  WHY do I feel like I SHOULD be doing that?  It’s about breaking that vicious self destructive cycle and deciding that you don’t need to feel bad about not acting a certain way or finishing something.  Go back to basics.  Celebrate the wins.  Make goals and commitments that are fun and rewarding.  And if you don’t complete them?  That’s cool too!

Be Okay With Not Being The Best
My cousin Melissa had a real epiphany about exercise and I related to it so much.  What we concluded, is that we like doing things that we’re good at.  It’s that detailed ‘perfectionist’ side that we share genetically.  It sounds so simple, but I had really never put it all together – that I didn’t enjoy exercising because I’d deemed myself unfit/not skilled at it.  As soon as she said it out loud, the wheels started turning, the lightbulb went off and I realized this was a barrier I’d had since childhood.  I’m now owning the fact that I’m not the best at things.  Learning new skills is great!  Being out of breath isn’t a sign of weakness, it means that your blood is pumping and your workout is, well, working!  I’ve gone from feeling like there’s only the gym and yoga and tennis in the summer, to a whole list of new things to try!  I found out that I love hiking.  I hope to try rock climbing and paddle boarding and to become a better runner.  There’s a ton of possibility now, and that, my friends, is beyond exciting!

There’s Always Time For Health
I used to be the queen of excuses.  There was always work to be done.  Netflix to be watched.  Someone to meet up with.  But these things weren’t helping my mental or physical health at ALL when they were replacements for exercise…and eating properly.  I really didn’t seem to have the time to squeeze it in, so I did everything I needed to do to carve out the time.  And when you change your perspective on time, it’s one of THE most powerful tools for positive thinking.  I will touch more on this in my upcoming post about maximizing productivity in your days, but realizing that there is time for things if you choose to make time for things is life changing.  Especially for someone as lazy as I am!

And so yeah.  That’s where I’m at right now.  I hope you’ll join me in this journey to get #2016strong because this is the year to be our best selves, right?!?  Would also love to hear what your tips and tricks are for living a healthier lifestyle.  Anything helps!

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  • Lisa April 20, 2016 at 6:16 pm

    “Sometimes we’re not okay, and that’s okay.” This is so true. After the boy hit his burnout last year it took a toll on both of us and we postponed the wedding to just focus on us. I remember during one heart-to-heart with a friend, she pointed out that many people think everyone else’s life and their own have to go up and up in one straightforward trajectory (especially in an age where people often seem to only share the positives on social media!), but often real life has peaks and valleys. Valleys are just a part of normal living.

    These are great tips! Especially agree about just making time for exercise with no excuses.

    • Alicia April 22, 2016 at 8:54 pm

      I can only imagine how tough it was to make that decision, but I’m so glad you and L did what was best for you two! It’s always tough veering away from the original plan, but I’m really happy he got time to focus on his health and that both of you were able to work as a team to get through it. I’m always wishing you guys the best!!! Thanks so much for your support, hope 2016 is going well for you guys so far xo

  • Noelle April 20, 2016 at 7:56 pm

    Seriously, you are one of the hardest workers I know so I’m happy to hear that you are taking more time for yourself!

    I can totally relate to the perfectionist barrier when it comes to exercise, but I’m starting to overcome it. I force my friends to come to different classes with me so we can laugh at ourselves when we are the ones in the back failing miserably to keep up and get excited when we (slowly) improve.

    Right now though, my biggest motivator is my fitbit. I just got it this month after noticing how sedentary my desk job has made me and it is great for keeping me accountable. When I’m leaving work and I still have 5k steps to go before my goals I know that it will be quicker to just go to the gym and get it over with rather than walking forever. It’s like I’m tricking myself into being healthier because I’m so lazy? Hahahaha

    • Alicia April 22, 2016 at 9:11 pm

      Noelle, that statement really took me by surprise, which is just an indication that I’m still in slight burnout denial. But, thank you! I desperately need a fitbit in my life, though I try to be my own fitbit (ghetto lol) and estimate steps. Love that you’re hitting your walking goals, will keep you posted if I find other exercise alternative for us lazy folk 🙂

  • Nikkey Dawn April 21, 2016 at 4:24 am

    Great post 🙂 My tip is regularity, for example have a daily yoga practice which you do at the same time everyday or the same days every week. This helps our minds block-off that time and bodies anticipate it. Laying out your mat, workout gear etc the night before is great too. Especially if you struggle with taking time for yourself!

    • Alicia April 22, 2016 at 9:13 pm

      Hi Nikkey! It’s so funny you say that, I just started doing nighttime yoga and it is SO good! Your’e absolutely right about the routine aspect and it really has improved my sleep. Thanks so much for reading and sharing your tips xoxo

  • Kate April 21, 2016 at 7:18 am

    Great post! And a really great reminder that we should always make time to take care of ourselves!

    • Alicia April 22, 2016 at 9:12 pm

      Thanks so much, Kate xoxo

  • Ashlee April 21, 2016 at 3:40 pm

    I can relate to so much about “doing only things we’re good at” and credit my fall off the health & fitness wagon to the same mindset. I’ve always been athletic and in the past it was my dislike for working out that made me wary of the gym versus my inability to work out and be good at doing so. I was always able to keep up, push myself, and I generally felt pretty good about my ability to work out. Now that I haven’t done anything remotely close to exercise in nearly a year I’m feeling discouraged. I don’t identify as being “athletic” anymore and every time I try to broach working out it feels SO hard and I feel so insufficient.

    I figure there is no better way that just to start again (but it’s so hard to start – to know pain, guilt, soreness, and anger are on the other side of the treadmill or weights). I will pick myself up and try again though, because I know it’s in me somewhere. I can’t wait to read more about your tips and your journey!

    • Alicia April 22, 2016 at 9:23 pm

      Ashlee, thank you so much for reading and taking the time to leave a comment! Finding out that other people relate to this is so encouraging, there’s power in realizing that you’re not alone. I definitely agree that the best way to start again is to just do it. I started REALLY small. Like super small. I committed to lots of walking and taking the stairs whenever I could. I immediately noticed the feeling of gaining strength, felt less tired each time, and started sprinkling in a gym visit or two. Build slowly and set new expectations for yourself. You ARE an athlete, just need to tap into that again. So excited for you! Keep me posted on your journey and let me know if I can ever help out xoxo

  • Riley Nowlan April 21, 2016 at 6:14 pm

    This is exactly what I needed to read what now, I literally related to every word! I’m trying to take better care of myself and I feel so powerful when I’m exercising constantly and seeing what my body can do for itself but as soon as I miss a workout or eat an unhealthy meal I am overcome with guilt. I’m going to try to adopt your attitude and move forward the best I can. Good luck on your journey and I can’t wait to read more!

    Thank you for sharing!


    • Alicia April 22, 2016 at 9:29 pm

      This is exactly what I needed to read as well! Thank you so much for taking the time to share your experience, it’s so encouraging! Letting the guilt go is a huge step in the process and clears so much other space in your head for positive and encouraging thoughts. We simply cannot be our ideal selves at all times, it’s not realistic! Good luck on your journey too, please keep me posted XOXO