Burned to a Crisp
I sat in the church service, not knowing what was going on. From beginning to end, the tears were flowing, and I could not stop them (Lord knows I wanted to). At the end of the service, I went to have someone pray for me and I could barely articulate what my issues were. Thankfully, the person praying for me was someone I knew. She prayed for me and my husband as I sobbed all over her blazer. I could not help it; it would not stop. With my makeup completely destroyed, I walked back to my car and asked God, “What was that?” The few days after, I figured I could work through this as I have before. “You keep living life and plowing through.” But this was a different situation than what I have ever experienced before. I could not pull myself from whatever this was. I asked myself, “Girl what is wrong with you? You have a blessed life.” I had to truly go to God and have Him tell me what was going on with me. The answer – I was burned out.
I do not let many people in. I keep moving. I live in my head. I don’t ask for help a lot. I feel like I must be strong, or everything will fall apart. I know that many women can relate to these sentiments, which can be a recipe for disaster. At some point, this way of being catches up to all of us. We don’t even realize it is happening until we are sitting in the front row of a church service sobbing uncontrollably. Writing this post has made me think about the situation in it’s entirety. Weeks before my “episode” I remember being annoyed easily and grasping at anything to make me feel comfortable in my own skin. I was always thinking and I felt heavy yet empty at the same time. This way of being is exhausting to a person’s mind, body and soul. You cannot do your best living this way and the negativity that comes with it permeates through all the areas of your life.
Here are some things that I am learning right now:
- God must be the center of my life.
I knew this before, and I thought I was making Him the most important thing in my life. But if I am honest with myself, I allowed life to get in the way of our relationship. I spoke with Him everyday and He would speak to my spirit at times; but there were weeks that I did not give God my complete attention. It’s kind of like the relationship between my husband and me. There are days that we say hi to each other and talk for about five minutes while we are on our phones or doing something around the house. Then there are date nights when our focus is on each other—and not the needs of our jobs or social media. I need this with God to keep me sane.
- We were never meant to live life alone.
My pastor says this often and I always agreed, but I did not know what that truly meant until that day at church. I do not let many people in and as a result, it is very difficult making friends. When I say friends, I mean people who are like family—who I feel so comfortable with that I tell them almost everything. Truth be told, I do have people who I can talk to in my life, but I also have this thing where I don’t want to bother anyone with my issues. Everyone has their own problems. Why should I dump mine onto others? I am learning that we need people to “dump on” and that if we look hard enough, they are ready and willing to be there for us. Also, I have to make myself available to people. If I want friends, I can not be a hermit and spend all my time in my house with nothing but my own thoughts to keep my company. I must be willing to cultivate relationships with people. I am still learning this lesson.
- Have non-negotiable appointments with myself.
I am learning that certain things that I do throughout the day regenerate me: Spending time with God; working out (exercise); spending time outside; reading a good book; or allowing myself to write whatever comes to my mind. These are things that give back to me in some way. I must invest in these types of activities in order to have something to offer to the world.
Making these few changes has made me feel like I can now come up for air. Not only have I learned what not to do; I can recognize the signs of exhaust quicker than I have before. When I recognize it, I can do something about it; and I am better equipped to ask for what I need while I am on the road to restoration.
As I started delving into my situation and why it came to be, I couldn’t help but think about the people who feel this way and don’t feel like they have a way out. Suicide is running rampant. There are teenagers, moms, and even celebrities ending their lives. Once that decision is made and carried out, there is no coming back from that. If you are reading this and feeling like life would be better if it were over, please reconsider. If you feel alone, God loves you more than anyone else can and things can always get better.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
New Journey, Improved You
How many people have ditched their New Year’s resolution already? Did you tell yourself you would lose those 10, 20, or 50 pounds and now you find yourself in the same cycle that brought you to overweight status? So many of us go through this cycle over and over again. We want to make a change and we get so motivated. As the excitement dwindles, so do all the promises that we made to ourselves. Some of us come from these situations worse than when we went in. We beat ourselves up for not holding up our end of the bargain and the cycle continues.
I know this all to well. As I started to learn more about myself and why I do the things that I do, I noticed a pattern. When I am nervous, agitated, or stressed, the first thing that is on my mind is food – and no, I am not thinking about celery and carrot sticks. It is the worst food that pops into my head (burger and fries with a chocolate milkshake; or a pint of ice cream and several bags of chips). I was addicted to these foods. As I continued to live my life like this, my body started to reject this way of being. My mind on the other hand was not willing to let go. So, here I am in another cycle. My mind really wants this whopper with cheese and a large fry; but shortly after, my body clearly lets me know that it is not okay with my food choice. I had to get myself out of this downward spiral. I will share with you a few tips that helped and continue to help me.
Love your body as it is now.
I know some people may say, “Well if I loved my body as it is, then I would not try to change it.” But that does not have to be your truth. You can still love your body and want to change it. As you look in the mirror, I invite you to discover the parts of your body that you love. Maybe you have great eyes or cheekbones. Maybe you have great curves or wonderful legs. Every woman has something that physically stands out as her best feature. Dress your body with clothes that accent your body in such a way that it shows off your best features. As you step out into the world, you will feel a little more confident. I have also found that because I learned to love my body in this moment, I am more careful as to what I allow into my body; and if I have a slip up, it is not as big of a deal as it was before. I just make better choices the next time.
Drink water with every meal.
When I first started thinking about my health, I felt a little overwhelmed because I was accustomed to eating junk food. The thought of going cold turkey from those foods was very daunting. I started with baby steps. I still went to McDonalds, Burger King, Wendy’s, etc. But no matter what I ate, I drank water instead of my normal soda. This decreases the number of calories that you intake and helps to flush out your system a bit better. I also gave myself a water goal. Before I laid my head on a pillow for the night, I had to drink a certain amount of water that day. Many of us carry 5-10 pounds of excess water because we do not drink water. When we do not drink water, our bodies will hold onto water because it is in a habit of not getting it. As you feed your body water it will start to flush out the excess because it knows that water is coming throughout the day.
Don’t focus on scale or measurement goals.
At first you may or may not lose much weight. Don’t hang your health hopes and dreams on your body numbers. The scale can be a liar and your measurements don’t always change as fast as you would like. Most of us have a number in mind when it comes to weight, but don’t allow that to be your main focus. I suggest having non-body goals. For instance, when I started working out, I could only use 5-pound dumbbells or none at all for certain exercises. Now, I use 10 – 20-pound dumbbells and I continue to add weight as it starts to get easier. For you it may be running a certain distance without stopping, or increasing the amount of sets in each exercise. Find a goal that takes the focus off your body and onto what you can do. You will amaze yourself!
Find what works for you.
It can be overwhelming. I like doing research on the different diets and workout plans, but at a certain point it can be a bit overwhelming for some. It is great to research and ask friends what they are doing for their health regimen, but you have to go out there and try things for yourself. If a friend runs 2 miles a day and you try it but hate it, you will not get the same thing that she is getting out of it. Health is about the total package – mind, body and spirit. Hating the exercise will not garner the same results as if you were to find something that you loved. You will spend the majority of your time thinking about how much you hate what you are doing instead of being in the moment and feeling the total experience of the exercise. You are also more likely to quit if you do not like what you are doing.
Exercise and Meal Preps are appointments. You can’t miss them.
If you made an appointment with you doctor, boss or client would you cancel them? Usually we don’t unless something important came up. We do our best to honor the promise that we made with the other person. Why are those people more important than you? The answer is, “They’re not.” We do have other responsibilities, but we also have a responsibility to ourselves. When you put yourself on the priority list, everyone benefits because you have given something back to yourself and now you have more to share with the world. Schedule a time that you know that you can exercise and make a few meals for lunch that week and do not miss your appointment with yourself.
I hope you found this to be helpful. These tips are to help you feel fabulous throughout your health journey. I am not skinny nor have I hit my “weight loss goal” by any means, but I am enjoying the journey this time around. I remind myself that this is a continuous course because all things work together – mind, body and spirit. If one is not functioning properly, it affects the others. Even when we reach our goals, the progression will never stop. This health journey is a lifestyle and it never ends. Many times, we are so focused on the “end result” that we forget to enjoy the process; and there is so much joy in learning the lessons in the process. God speed on your health journey!
March 1, 2018