Personally I can attest to the fact that it's not easy. After all of my studying and all of my own self work, I still have those doggone, dreaded moments. I still judge myself too harshly or wish I could "walk the walk" a little more easily without sometimes stumbling along the way. I've taken hundreds of hours of health and well being classes, literally, and I still have rough days. Although, comparatively speaking, if you put my old thought patterns next to my new ones you would see a huge difference. My bad days are few and far between and I am more happy with who I am now than I ever was before, but still. Those little buggers creep up on me and hit me out of nowhere.
All I really want for all of us is to be able to move past those. To be able to accept ourselves just as we are and to banish the negative thoughts as much as is humanly possible. Deep down all I know is that to move forward we have to quit looking back, and to improve the world view of things we have to first improve our own.
While thinking about all of this last night I started to wonder...when did it get so hard to take good care of ourselves? When did living, the thing every single one of us has in common, get so complicated?When did we all transition from accepting ourselves just the way we are in this moment, to hating our bodies, our lives, our decisions and then repeatedly beating ourselves up for choices we make?
Back in the day, shall I say, before we had TV and video games and dishwashers and twelve million food products in the grocery store aisles, we were a healthier bunch of people. Exercise wasn't something you had to schedule in to your day because you did it all day long without even realizing it. You plowed your field and grew your own vegetables, washed the dishes and laundry by hand, did all kinds of outdoor activities everyday because there was nothing more entertaining inside the house to do, and went to bed at a decent hour because you were so incredibly tired from all of your daily labors that staying up late wasn't even an option.
Now we have to add exercise in to our already way too long daily list of to-do's. We have to consult food specialists because we need their services to tell us what we need to do, even though deep down inside some part of us already knows. We Google our little hearts our for "The Answer" to why we can't sleep, can't relax, can't stop eating, can't function at all, and then we go see our doctors so they can give us medication to fix all of the above.
I think we need a re-awakening. To the simpler things. To the truth at heart. To ourselves.
I recently discovered the book If Life is a Game, These are the Rules and I love what the author has come up with, so I came up with a few of my own which focus on the more get healthy aspects of life. I want to narrow it down though, keep it as simple as I can. I took at least 300 pages of notes in my first nutrition class alone and I've realized that simple is the answer. No high-falutin', rootin tootin, encyclopedia-required type of answers. Just easy ones.
The Rules for Taking Care of Yourself
Rule One: Sleep
I've said it before and I'll say it again. This is the most important rule of them all. It doesn't matter if you eat only vegetables every day, work out like a dog, and avoid every chemical on earth. Depriving yourself of this very basic need will eventually ruin you. Every single cell, atom, molecule and organ of your body needs to rest so that it can re-charge.
Think of your cell phone. You absolutely, positively must charge it for it to work. If you don't, it dies. If you only charge it for a little bit, it only lasts for a little bit and then, it dies. You cannot treat your body any differently. It needs 7-8 hours of sleep every single night. Napping during the day counts, but doesn't make up for the sleep you need at night.
Rule Two: Water
Water, water, water - drink it up. It's really that simple. Soda, juice, smoothies, and energy drinks cannot replace what water does for your body and to top it all off, you're just drinking empty calories.
Rule of Thumb: You should drink half of your body weight in ounces each and every day. I don't care if you have to pee 22 times a day, drink your water. Think of it as a bonus exercise routine. You have to get up and walk to the restroom which equals more calories burned. Voila! Two birds with one stone.
Rule Three: Move
We all know that to burn calories we need to move our bodies. Exercise is a great way to do that, but don't limit yourself to just thinking of exercise as a gym activity. Wash the dishes by hand, go out and plant some flowers, take the dog for a walk every night. There are a million ways to move your body, you just need to find out what works for you and then do it. Cleaning the house is one of the best ways to work out and get things done. Also, consider this: If you like watching TV every night promise yourself only one hour of actual sitting-and-not-doing-anything-productive time. Then, if you must watch more TV, get up and move while you watch. Do some squats, pump some iron, dance while they're Dancing with the Stars. Just move. I prefer hula hooping.
Rule Four: Eat Your Veggies
Fruit is great for you. Protein is important as well, but nothing quite compares to vegetables. The things they can do for your are pretty much amazing, simply put. Eat veggies with each meal. I know that can seem difficult, especially at breakfast, but get creative. Challenge the customary ideas! There is no rule that says you can only eat breakfast foods at breakfast time. I eat a salad for breakfast almost every day. I get my veggies in right off the bat and I feel pretty darn awesome then for the rest of the day. Shake up what you've been told is right and acceptable make up your own mealtime rules.
Rule Five: Accept and Move On
Struggling is hard in general. Battling for the good, the green, the cause - whatever it may be - is a lot of work and sometimes you just need to accept things for where they are before you can change them. Likewise, you need to accept yourself. So you had a cupcake for breakfast? Just accept it and move along with your day. Jeans too tight? Maybe, but there's nothing you can do about it in this nano-second. Just acknowledge it and accept it.
Fighting with yourself internally over every little thing that didn't go as planned or over things that aren't as you want them to be right at this exact moment isn't going to accomplish anything. You're just holding on to it. Face the facts head on, accept wherever you are at, and then let it go. Only then can you really move forward and make a change.
And without further adieu...
The Ten Rules for Being Human taken from If Life is a Game, These are the Rules.
Rule One - You will receive a body.
You may love it or hate it, but it will be yours for the duration of your life on Earth.
Rule Two - You will be presented with lessons.
You are enrolled in a full-time informal school called "life". Each day in this school you will have the opportunity to learn lessons. You may like the lessons or hate them, but you have designed them as part of your curriculum.
Rule Three - There are no mistakes, only lessons.
Growth is a process of experimentation, a series of trials, errors and occasional victories. The failed experiments are as much as a part of the process as the experiments that work.
Rule Four - The lesson is repeated until learned.
Lessons will be repeated to you in various forms until you have learned them. When you have learned them, you can go on to the next lesson.
Rule Five - Learning does not end.
There is no part of life that does not contain lessons. If you are alive, there are lessons to be learned.
Rule Six - "There" is no better than "here".
When your "there" has become "here" you will simply obtain another "there" that will look better to you than your present "here".
Rule Seven - Others are only mirrors of you.
You cannot love or hate something about another person unless it reflects something you love or hate about yourself.
Rule Eight - What you make of your life is up to you.
You have all the tools and resources you need. What you do with them is up to you.
Rule Nine - Your answers lie inside of you.
All you need to do is look, listen, and trust.
Rule Ten - You will forget all this at birth.
You can remember it if you want by unraveling the double helix of inner-knowing.
Are there any rules you think should be added?