Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Healthy Habits in 2014 - Giving Yourself Grace

One of the biggest things we need to work on with ourselves as women, wives, mothers and human beings is giving ourselves grace!  It is so important in every aspect of our lives, but often, we are our own worst enemies - treating ourselves worse than we would people we don't like.

This Week's Habit:  Give Yourself Grace

Giving ourselves grace is often one of the hardest things.  If we mess up or don't meet our own expectations, we can beat ourselves up for weeks, months or even years.

What kind of Mom am I to take the time out of my day to exercise when I should be doing something with my children instead?

What kind of wife am I if I make my husband cook dinner (clean the house, watch the kids) so I can exercise (take a nap, take a shower, get my hair cut)?

What kind of person am I if my house isn't spotless (don't cook from scratch, eat all organic, have a high-power career, am overweight, don't know how to dress "sharp")?

We do this again and again and again.

And often it's sabotaging.

Well, I ate that giant piece of cake today, might was well go whole hog and eat the rest of the junk I'm not "supposed" to eat.

Well, I "made" Hubby watch the kids tonight, might as well quit expecting time to shower (exercise, eat, nap) when they kids are up because that is so selfish of me.

Well, the house was a mess when I came home so I turned around and left because I didn't want to deal with it. Now I can't go out ever again because I'm such a terrible person for ignoring it.

We all hit the end of our limits - mine this week was "If I have one more day where I have to run here and there and everywhere..."   It made me want to hide under the covers and not go anywhere for a while - including working out, necessary errands and church.

The scale crept up on my over Christmas break when the weather was terrible, I wasn't on my feet most of every day teaching and I wanting to spend extra time with my parents. 

John got mad at me this fall because I was putting off taking a shower every day. Since I work out 4-5 days a week, I'm pretty good about showering after  work out.  It was the other days when it would be 1130pm (I usually shower before bed) and I was dead tired and I'd say "Nah." and just go to bed.  I promise I didn't smell, but John finally told me that he could tell because I had a harder time falling asleep on those nights.

I often push back my bedtime because I have one more thing that I could do.  And then I'm tired and grumpy and often get sick.

If I skip working out one or two days a week because I have other things to do or I'm just too tired, I get sick and my digestive track doesn't work as well (I have a blood flow problem that is combated by exercise). 

It isn't a crime or a sin to take care of ourselves. 
In fact, it is necessary for us to function at our best. 

Beating ourselves up because we can't be Super Woman is self-damaging.

Often we set the bar way too high and instead of moving the bar down a little we quit because we "goofed up" at meeting an expectation that was just out of line to begin with.

Give yourself some grace, pick some realistic expectations and start with baby steps.

Sometimes those baby steps have to be tiny for us to complete them.  That's okay.  It will make us stronger and better and more able to care for ourselves and our families.

For example:

Did you set a goal to workout 7 days a week for an hour when you've never worked out before? Did you quit because your body complained after one day or because you missed a day?

Did you quit taking time for a nap even though you had a new baby at home because you had "so much to do"?

Did you tell yourself you are a horrible person because you asked someone else to clean your house, put your children to bed, or make dinner one night? And you felt that you were the one who is "supposed" to do it?

Take a minute to think about things that would help you that you've quit in the past because you set unreasonable expectations.   None of us are able to live up to these expectations.  We need to give ourselves grace, give ourselves realistic expectations for this time in our lives and not beat ourselves up when we mess up.

As you set your goals and resolutions for the New Year, think about giving yourself some grace and aim for baby steps that make us all healthier and more resilient in 2014.

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Lea