body image, wellness

Advice from my Therapist

A few months ago, I had a pretty enlightening conversation with my therapist.

Yes, I see a therapist. This is me stating it like a celebrity pregnancy announcement.

A common theme she and I talk about is how I can continue to seek balance in my life. Balance was something I struggled with back when I had disordered eating tendencies, because the urge to control what I looked like and ate took precedence over everything. Restriction and balance cannot coexist; so I’ve been working on re-learning what balance is for me for the past few years now that I live a life without restriction.

Life without restriction is pretty freakin great

I wish I remembered exactly what she and I were talking about, but it was something along the lines of wanting to find new ways to feel fulfilled in my life. She explained to me how important it was to have multiple sources of fulfillment through the use of a metaphor.

“It’s okay to love running, but if you sprained your ankle, would you feel lost?”

Honestly, what a mic drop.

Basically, she was referring to the fact that I had a tendency to hyper-focus on one thing, and make that one thing my only source of fulfillment. Essentially, I was putting all of my “joy eggs” into one basket, which is the opposite of balance. But what happens if there comes a point where you can no longer do the only thing you’ve been depending on for fulfillment?

One of my sources of fulfillment comes from working out. Along with weight lifting, I’ve gotten back into boxing, and it honestly brings me so much joy. (But more on that another time). However, about a week ago I pulled my hamstring. I know it’s not that serious and I don’t want to play a tiny pity violin for myself, but having to take the week off from working out was a lot harder than I thought it was going to be. One afternoon I was sitting at home, unsure of what to do with myself during a time I would usually be at the gym. I thought back to what my therapist said and asked myself-

“Do I feel lost?”

Honestly, I kind of did.

While I was thankfully able to return to working out yesterday (with some modifications, because safety comes first), I want to make sure I’m making balance a priority moving forward, so I don’t feel lost if one of my sources of fulfillment is gone for a while. Normally at this point in the blog, I’m the one handing out advice, but I wanted to share what I plan on doing to restore balance in hopes that I can inspire anyone else looking for more sources of fulfillment.

Reading up on what I’m passionate about

Today I spent time studying different types of cancer and how to treat oncology patients’ nutrition problems. Working with this population can be so emotional, but also so rewarding. There’s nothing more fulfilling to me than helping someone in the hospital eat and get stronger.

Going on adventures

I used to take myself on solo dates in the city, but it’s something I haven’t done in a while. I tried new restaurants and made friends with random bartenders, and it helped establish a sense of independence. I’ve found that the key to feeling fulfilled is to first feel comfortable with being on my own.

Lots of adventures are possible when you live in this city

Getting cultured

I have a few books on my TBRL (to-be-read list). They may be romance novels, but a book is a book, right? I’m also planning on going to the Art Institute in the city, even if I do just pretend to understand the paintings I’m looking at.

Spending time with my people

I’m making a trip home for spring break to see my family, and I’ll be visiting my grandparents in Arizona with my momma for a long weekend. Being with my loved ones helps remind me what’s really important in life.

This quote always reminds me of the people I love most

Create something

I love to write (duh, I have a blog), but as you can tell from this uber-long hiatus, it’s something I have gotten away from. The other day, I sat down for the first time in YEARS and wrote a poem. I have no idea how to be a poet, but something about taking thoughts in my mind and making it into art brought me so much joy.

While my history with body image issues made finding balance difficult, I believe it’s a challenge everyone faces. In a world that values titles and achievement, we don’t often consider what it means to be fulfilled, or ask ourselves what truly fulfills us. So I encourage you to consistently ask yourself “Am I lost?”, and if you find that the answer is yes, I hope you find your way back to what fulfills you.

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