Prioritizing the Whole Self

What do you see in this photo.png

This is a still-shot from a video I almost didn’t keep… along with the 10 others I filmed for the free stress management program I just released because… I am super bloated. And it’s incredibly visible. To me at least. And that’s how it is, right? We are so hard on ourselves, often honing in on the things we don’t like first. This is true for ANY body, but especially true for those that don’t fit “the mold” and are likely feel added scrutiny from the public, too.

I’m really good at telling everyone else to love their bodies as they are, but I need to take my own advice more often than I’d like to admit. That voice doesn’t just go away. Some days I have to work really hard at not beating myself up over “lost progress”, not feeling as though I look the way a personal trainer “should” look, comparing myself and my fitness routine to others’, etc.

Sometimes I need a Zack-Morris-timeout to remind myself of my goals (sorry Gen Z – look that reference up). The reality is that structured exercise isn’t my priority right now. I’m trying to eat often enough and nutritiously to fuel my brain, but I’m not worrying about anything beyond that. I’ve got some big, short-term goals that need to be attended to in order to reach my ultimate goal of helping others live their best lives… and the truth is something’s got to give right now.

My summer challenge has nothing to do with the way my body looks; it’s all about professional and intellectual development while trying to prioritize my overall health as much as possible – overall health, not my body composition percentages.

I have a lot of determination and drive… almost too much sometimes, to the point where it can come at the cost of my health. I think when you really find your purpose, it can be hard to slow down. I have so many ideas and things I want to do… just, a burning passion inside of me; I really struggle with turning the internal volume down and just taking a mental break. Maybe for you, the stress and overwhelm comes from activism or family – there are many things that fuel drive and passion outside of just the career-oriented, but the physical and mental consequences are the same.

It’s a lot easier to physically rest than to mentally rest, which is the entire reason I came up with this quick 10-minute daily relaxation program – Stretch More, Stress Less. I wanted some way to commit a few minutes to myself each day to take a mental break and just be present; to take a few minutes to do something kind for my mind, body, and soul.

I’ve learned over time that active/healthy lifestyle doesn’t mean I’m always going to prioritize working out and eating super nutritiously; it means that I am going to learn what my *whole self* needs depending on what’s going on in life, and then try to prioritize that accordingly.

Right now, my body needs consistent movement to stay loose, my brain needs periods of structured rest… and it needs to stop worrying about some body composition changes over the next few weeks because it’s all temporary for long-term goals.

And even if it weren’t, so what? I’m almost 40… I’m not going to look like a 19-year-old fitness influencer gifted with amazing genes (psst, I never did anyway). The only thing that should matter to me right now is that my physical markers are healthy – blood glucose, cholesterol, blood pressure, etc. – and that I focus on the short-term goals at hand.

The version of fitness that I enjoy will always be there for me on the other side when I’m ready again, and it won’t care about how much muscle I lost, fat I gained, or endurance I need to rebuild; it will welcome me with open arms right where I am.

On that note, who’s going to relax with me tonight? I can’t wait.

About shauna@reyoutotalhealth.com

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