Does anyone else feel like the only constant about their bodies is that they are always changing?
I mean, you just get used to your adult body, and then something changes. Maybe your weight goes up, or your skin breaks out (again), or your sleep schedule gets all messed up. Let’s talk a little today about the cycle of change, and how we can be more at peace with our ever-evolving self.
1. Childbirth. I never quit being amazed that we are able to grow and feed other humans with our bodies. Childbirth is so cool! But let’s be real—your body may never be the same again. Any number of body parts have changed in ways that may be frustrating, and even a little scary. And it can be hard to embrace who you are now, not knowing whether those new breasts are yours forever, or only while you’re nursing. Celebrate your amazing self, my friend, and know that you are exactly who you should be right now!
2. Injury or Illness. My love for Jazzercise is pretty well known to my readers at this point, but engaging in regular, vigorous exercise didn’t come without a cost. A few years ago, I had an ankle injury severe enough to talk surgery, and I don’t think I’ve ever fully recovered my intensity. Along with that loss of intensity, I also suffered a hit to my self-esteem and body image. It’s not unusual for someone who is used to feeling “healthy” to struggle if illness or injury changes what they are able to do. So what to do? As the song says, “Just keep breathin’ and breathin’ and breathin’.” As long as you keep trying to take care of your body, you ARE doing enough. Be the very best you that you can be—on this day, with who you are right now.
3. Job Stress. Remember when you were a kid, and you were SO SURE that being a grownup was going to be full of adventure, and freedom, and independence? And then you discovered utility bills, grocery shopping, and work. Even if you love your job, the worry and demands of it all can take a real toll on your body—messing with your sleep, interfering with chances to exercise, and providing few opportunities to make healthy food choices. Working may be required for most of us, but we do get to choose how we handle work stress. Simple things like adding a walk around the office, packing some fresh fruits and veggies for snacks, and going to bed at a decent time can all give you the weapons you need to fight back against job stress.
4. Menopause. Let’s be clear. I could (and will) write a whole newsletter on menopause. But for now, let’s give it a quick look. So, you’ve entered menopause. And you’ve found that it’s soooo much more than the end of your menstrual cycle. You might be gaining weight (a belly pooch affectionately known as a “menopot,”) or your hair might be thinning, or you may not have control over your internal thermometer. Blame it on some pretty wacky changes in your hormones, particularly estrogen, cortisol, and serotonin. There aren’t any simple answers for dealing with your body changes in menopause, but know this: it’s all normal, you aren’t losing your marbles, and working with a sympathetic doctor can help you manage the symptoms. Feel better about your beautiful self!
5. TIME. So friends, some of these changes are optional—you may not have children, you might never get seriously injured, your job could be relatively stress free. But the one force of change you cannot avoid is time. It waits for no one. Wherever you are on your journey, you can probably remember a time in your past when something about your body was better—your skin, your digestion, your muscle mass, your ability to sleep through the night! It’s just a fact. But what is also a fact is that you get to choose how you react. Are you going to deny the changes that come with time, or are you going to embrace them? I mean, look at aging beauties like Helen Mirren or Meryl Streep. They are so beautiful because they own the changes that have come to their bodies.
Be beautiful, my friends. Own your imperfections and embrace the person that you are, and the world will also see just how lovely you are.
(This is the second in a multi-part series on our relationships with our bodies. To read Part 1, click here.)
Becky Eason, PhD, is an Associate Certified Coach and Certified Leadership Coach. She would love to come with you on your journey for wellness and a happy heart. Learn more on her website: wequestforwellness.com