Instead of New Year’s resolutions, I try to pick a theme for each year. Last year’s theme was Connected and I spent the year trying to reconnect to myself and more deeply connect within other relationships around me and with my Heavenly Father. I feel I largely met that goal and am satisfied with my efforts.
This year my theme is Wellness. With this theme as my guide, I want to work toward feeling more emotionally/physically/spiritually healthy.
I’ve been doing a variety of things to try to move toward this value of Wellness in my life.
First thing I did in January was to decrease the amount of processed foods I consume. This has actually been easier than I thought it would be. Now, I haven’t eliminated all processed foods. For example, I still consume copious amounts of chocolate…but at least it’s dark chocolate, which is less processed and has fewer additives and sugar. I’ve also simply tried to increase my fiber and eat more fruits and veggies.
I’m not on any kind of diet…trust me…you won’t meet many people more anti-diet than me. For years my moral stance against dieting meant complete acceptance of all foods available to consume. I called this intuitive eating. And I considered myself largely healthy. I continue to believe wholeheartedly in intuitive eating but I learned that not all foods are created equal. I’ve been learning more about nutrition, mostly through NPR episodes, documentaries and Michael Pollan books. I am by no means an expert on food but I was blown away to learn how much the food I ate regularly had unnecessary additives and preservatives (SUGAR) and what those products have been doing to my body! As I have been learning more about processed foods, I wanted to see if I could become even more healthy by largely eliminating those products from my diet.
At first the results were unremarkable. I didn’t feel this sudden well-spring of health where I sported Birkenstocks and practiced daily yoga. In fact I felt really really tired. Really really. I was pretty disappointed but decided to continue the experiment. Now into my third month I have to say I AM noticing some positive results. Nothing spectacular or revolutionary but I’m feeling pretty good! I no longer crave highly processed or heavy foods and my body feels a lot healthier. Yesterday, I bought Hailee some Reese’s chocolate peanut butter eggs and I ate two of them. I found I didn’t like them! This shocked me because peanut butter and chocolate are my FAVORITE. Three months ago I would’ve consumed over 1/2 the bag in one sitting before sharing with Hailee. Now, when I eat french fries I feel yucky. Not psychologically yucky, physically yucky. I like being in this place where I crave my daily breakfast of oatmeal, walnuts. blueberries and maple syrup and my afternoon snack of apples and almond butter. Nom Nom! Of course I’m eating other meals and snacks throughout my day (I’m a hungry nursing mom!) but I have truly fallen in love with these two daily staples and appreciate how satisfied and good they make me feel.
Besides nutrition, I am getting back into exercise. This last weekend I ran my first 5k in over…a year and a half? And it felt awesome!
It was a local 5k called The Leprechaun Lope that took place at the state capitol. It was a blast to don some face paint and a green tutu, people watch, and collect “gold” coins that little leprechauns threw along the trail.
This was the first of numerous races I hope to run this year. I’m running another 5k this Saturday. In May I’m going to run the 10k for Charlie again, and in June I’m going to run the Ragnar Wasatch Back for the first time! And then, to add to the insanity, Chad and I are thinking we’ll train for the Disney World Half Marathon. Am I crazy? I sort of hate running but am super excited about all these races and I’ll probably add a couple more! I love working toward goals and I thrive on the energy and excitement and fun of race day.
Beyond physical health, I’m also working on my emotional health. I will admit I think I have a bit of postpartum depression mixed into the grief/anxiety/and trauma reminders in my daily life. While this depression hasn’t become debilitating, it has definitely impacted my quality of life and my relationships. So this week I initiated my own therapy.
I think this move was probably over due but I’m grateful I’m starting now. I was surprised how nervous I felt sitting on the couch instead of in the therapist’s chair! I am hopeful the experience will help me resolve some issues, work through painful emotions, make important decisions, improve my communication in relationships, and feel more content and happy in my life!
I am also trying to do more self-care things, like read good books, journal, and re-engage my hobbies (like cooking, quilting, and scrapbooking).
The spiritual part of my wellness goal has been harder. I feel spiritually fatigued and I’m not exactly sure what to do about it. But I feel a lot of support from family and friends around this so I’m staying afloat. I’m also open to ideas around this if anyone has any.
Finally, I’m committed to proactively seek opportunities for fun. Since losing Charlie two years ago, our life has been largely (not completely) devoid of fun. My trip to Boston reminded me that fun is possible for me, for us, and I think it’s time to engender more of it in our life. We are starting with a scavenger hunt a la Amazing Race style in downtown SLC in a couple weeks!
As I move toward Wellness, I know it will require dedication, vigilance, and also flexibility, moderation, and continued evaluation. But for the first time since losing Charlie, the journey ahead seems to hold promise, light, fulfillment, contentment, fun, and well…wellness.