even after you've worked through those intense moments of pain, you still need to focus on you. this isn't you being selfish or not showing up for the people in your life, this is you recognizing (and respecting) that you need to fill your cup up before you can pour into the people you love. which is the most loving thing you can do at this point in your life.... so fill that cup up to the brim babe. regardless of what anyone else may have told you or how they may have made you feel, you DO deserve it and you ARE worth it.
1. read - everything you can get your hands on. if you're not sure where to start, check out my book lists for each of the three stages of healing: pain, growth, rediscovery (i strongly recommend starting with pain regardless of where you are on your healing journey because you may still need to validate the pain you experienced and are potentially either still experiencing or actively repressing).
2. therapy. if you don’t have insurance and can’t afford a therapist, think about other ways you can address your mental health concerns. i’ve personally signed up for Thais’ Gibson’s Personal Development School to better understand how attachment styles develop in childhood and how they affect our relationships in adulthood (unsurprisingly, sexual abuse or assault in childhood has a significant effect on your attachment style in adulthood). it’s only $67 a month and you get access to all of the classes and the workbooks. but that’s just one example and potential option, do your research and find the one that's best for you.
3. journal - write EVERYTHING down. do morning pages, journal prompts, gratitude journaling, write about how your day went at the end of the night, write poems, keep track of your goals, write down EVERYTHING. you’ll start to notice patterns - both in your good thoughts and bad.
4. get into the habit of telling yourself “i love you. you did a good job today. i’m proud of you.”
every. single. night. before you go to bed.
5. meditate - start small. do one minute a day (it sounds like it's too small to make a difference, but it will).. work your way slowly up to 5 minutes, then maybe 10. don’t go past 15 if you start falling off the wagon. find a number that works with you and just stick with it.
6. move. DO NOT EXERCISE. i repeat. DO NOT EXERCISE. exercise sucks and it feels like punishment, instead find ways to move your body that bring you…… JOY. i know it sounds crazy, but trust me. i stopped running altogether last year and instead started going for bike rides and dancing in my room and stretching every morning, and it's completely changed the way i feel mentally about "exercise". i haven’t put on any weight and i definitely don’t feel any less healthy. in fact, my knees and calves have never been happier. that said, if you genuinely LOVE weight lifting, keep doing it. but if you hate going to the gym and only go to stay fit, then drop it and find something you actually love doing.
7. pick a goal (any goal) and commit to do something to work towards it EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. for a whole year. You can dedicate as little as 5 minutes a day to this goal, but commit and work towards it every day. Even if you don’t reach your goal, your belief in your own ability to achieve your goals will skyrocket because you’ll have proven to yourself on a subconscious level that you’re a dependable, committed person who will show up for yourself.
8. Look at yourself naked in the mirror and find one thing you love about yourself every day. it should be something different every day.
9. eat healthy 80% of the time. this isn’t about weight or how you look. it’s been scientifically proven that diet plays a role in our feelings because the food we eat directly affects our body chemistry (and guess what feelings are? yup, they're just body chemistry). so whether you like it or not, the food you're choosing to eat is going to affect how you feel.
10. create a weekly spiritual practice. this can be church, but it doesn’t have to be if you aren’t religious. it’s just good to carve out time once a week for an hour or two to connect with god/the universe/whatever you choose to believe in that’s bigger than you, as a reminder to yourself that you’re here for a purpose. even if you don’t feel like you are and you don’t believe it yet… you are, and it’s a good habit to get into to remind yourself of regularly.
making these changes isn't easy. i don't recommend making all of them at once (and definitely don't beat yourself up mentally or physically if you slide back into old habits). but if at any point you need support or have a question you think i can help you with, please reach out! one woman to another, i'm here for you.