“Fack me, I’m exhausted.”
“Why are my ankles so cold”
“You really need to get to the gym”
“But I’m so tired, my eyes are heavy.”
“Yes, but remember your commitment to losing some pounds, don’t bail on that again please.”
“Can we maybe just do some yoga? The gym sounds like death to me right now.”
“You need the cardio fatty”
“Ew that was yucky”
“I just want to cuddle and watch Netflix.”
“Well you don’t have that option either, you have a meeting tonight and shit to do to get prepared.”
“Ok so I can’t work out anyway cause I have too much to do”
“No you need to prioritize your health, Annice.”
“Ugh, this heater is not warm enough.”
“It’s the weather’s fault that I don’t wanna do anything, it’s depressing.”
“No you’re lazy.”
“No I’m tired and it’s ok to be tired.”
“It’s not ok to use that excuse all the time.”
“This is making me more tired, and this self-talk is anything but motivating.”
“I should write a post about having more self-compassion”
And here we are.
Some days we’re on top of the world. Some days we feel like we’re at the very bottom. Some days I have the energy to teach grade 2 all day, get to the gym, write a blog and make an amazing dinner for my partner and I. Some days I can barely get through my morning muesli. And the self-talk I have on those days can differ as significantly as my energy levels.
Some days I am so compassionate and loving (seemingly more so when I am productive and killing it ) some days I am embarrassed, shamed and thinking maybe I need some medications or something is wrong with me, or ultimately, why the shit can’t I just do it all and feel like a million bucks while doing it? And none of these thoughts or feelings are right or wrong. Some are for sure more helpful than others. But today, as I drove home thinking I should at least get some cardio in, but wanting really only to sleep and eat carbohydrates, I stopped and thought, “Ok Annice, what do you need, in reality?” And the answer was something like a cup of tea and some Netflix, preferably accompanied with some cuddles from my dog (Jake). And then I stop and ask myself again what is the real reason that I can’t give that to myself without judgement? And the answer is tied, ironically, to the same reason that I want to get to the gym in the first place. It is not coming from a place of self-love and self-worth, but a place of should, and not good enough and be better. It is a slippery slope to say the least, as I can lack compassion for not having enough self-compassion and isn’t that a tangled and messy thing. And so I ask myself this, how can I love myself today? And what does it mean to love myself?
It means that some days, and hopefully most, I love myself enough to move my body and feel good doing it, but it also means I allow myself rest without judgement when I need it. It means I give up the exhausting striving to be anything but what I am, and focus instead on loving myself more and seeing where that takes me. Maybe one week it takes me to yoga 6X. Maybe the next, it means walking outside instead of being in the gym.
Maybe one week it means more green tea and less coffee. And ultimately, it means that all of that is okay and exactly what I need in the moment. Every moment is different, and I am different every moment, so why would a regimented routine on repeat, not tailored to me or my rhythms, serve me?
In fact, I would argue really, that it hurts me because the days that I need something other than what I should be doing, the guilt and resulting depressive funk keep me from connecting with what I actually need and the behaviours that result are not loving either; sloth, disconnect and likely more wine than necessary. And the longer this goes on, the harder it is to return to yourself and the honest asking and receiving of loving action and behaviours that do nourish you.
So ask yourself, and listen. Be weary of the shoulds that mask themselves as your highest good. Yes, that cardio, for example, is good for you, but is it what is going to serve you in that moment? Or do you need rest and a moment to recharge? What is actually loving in this moment? What do you need?
If you’re having a hard time deciphering this, here is something to keep in the back of your mind. Treat yourself like you would treat your small child or any little person in your life. If they came to you after school with red eyes, yawning and borderline crying, would you say to them, “too bad fatty get to the gym?”
No! So why on earth do we ever think it would be ok to say to ourselves? Nor would you encourage your child to do his or her best by telling them how shitty or disappointing they were or that they had to do better because they are not reaching someone else’s ideals or expectations.
My goodness there would be an uproar if anyone ever spoke to your little person that way, so why is it acceptable for us to do to ourselves? And what’s crazier still, why do we think that it’ll somehow work; that it will actually affect long term positive change? As a teacher I can tell you it has never worked with children, and it never will with you either.
So what are the most important factors in achieving long term health and well-being? Self-compassion and self-love. Love yourself enough to honestly ask for what you need, and be compassionate enough to comply and start over with the same amount of self-love every single time you trespass against yourself. Self-love is much more sustainable than your bikini body regimen, and bestows health not only on your body, but also on your spirit and your mind. And truly, there cannot be whole health in one, without the other.
Yogi. Teacher. Foodie. Moon Mama.
For all my life I have been surrounded by the striking power and vast vulnerability of women. Growing up with my sister and my mother, a team of three, the constant narrative of my upbringing as a girl was to thine own self be true, because no one could be responsible for my happiness or wellbeing but myself.
Founded in this place, I have always been the mother hen, watching out for my girls, encouraging them to be brave, confident and true. And my experience with the women I love has taught me, that not all wounds can be healed alone.
The women we know today are nothing short of superhuman.
We aspire to so much and are proving to be more and more fearless when it comes to chasing down our deepest wants and desires. And still, we are called to be the nurturers, caregivers, teachers and counsellors we have always been. Attempting to be everything and anything to everyone in our lives, we can sometimes find that we have nothing left to offer ourselves. We are left wondering how we can feel fully aligned with our potential; how we can offer the world the best of us and take up the space we deserve, without draining our own light. In this place, we all have questions, wonderments and worries that may seem to, at times, isolate us, but in fact, it is our shared experience as women that can bring us together.