Why is it so Hard Not to be Hard on Ourselves?

I’ve decided I’m only going to write on here when some sort of passionate thought arises in me that I truly want to write about and express my feelings on. Those raw, excited posts are the best anyways. So let’s jump right in with some real talk shall we?

Today I want to discuss something that I’ve been doing to myself recently that is wearing me down physically, emotionally, and mentally. Something a lot (I would even venture to say most) people do as well. For the past couple of months, I have been expecting too much of myself. Simultaneously, I have not been accepting myself where I am at right now.

Firstly, work has been stressful. I love what I do so much, but working as a dietitian in the mental health field can be draining. Sometimes it can feel like you are constantly the bad guy, making people do things that terrify them (in my case, asking people with eating disorders to eat a certain way). You also always have to be on your toes and ready to handle a panic attack, mental or emotional breakdown or client whose eating disorder simply does not like you. Clients sometimes say mean things to you and may discriminate against you for the way you look or your personality. Additionally, there have been some other challenges with my position that we are in the process of figuring out. However, in the interim, there is still a constant weight on my chest feeling like I should be doing more even though I know I am working my very hardest.

In addition to working a full time job, I also teach two group fitness classes a week. One of which, I have to memorize new choreography for constantly. So when I come home from an 8-12 hour workday, I have to study for my workout class to prevent messing up and looking like a fool in front of a group of people that week. When I am not working or studying for work, I pressure myself to constantly be doing something productive or I feel negativity towards myself. I can’t just sit and read a book or watch mindless TV without first getting my to-do list done. Luckily, the to-do list comes from having other exciting things in my life like a close group of girlfriends, a great boyfriend and a cool city to explore. However, to fit it all in I inappropriately feel like every second must be utilized fully.

In summary, I have been constantly “on”. I can’t shut my mind off, or maybe, I haven’t ALLOWED myself to. And now, I am noticing the negative effects of this. I got sick a week or so ago and I am 99% sure it was stress induced. I allowed myself to rest while I was sick, but ever since I “recovered”, I have not extended myself the same grace. Why is this? Why do we have to have a physical ailment to let ourselves do less and rest more?

This past week, I have found myself feeling more tired than usual despite getting adequate sleep. I have also felt just plain unmotivated. I haven’t had the energy or desire to workout as much as usual and have eaten out several more times than normal. I drank a lot of alcohol this past week because it was social and I wanted it. I didn’t get things done like I initially wanted to…and now I am mad at myself for all of this. I am mad at myself for not being perfect all the time. I am mad at myself for feeling this way because I preach to my clients everyday that they should not expect this of themselves, so why can’t I practice what I preach? So I’m mad that I’m not perfect and mad that I’m mad about it?! What the heck. No wonder I can’t relax.

So again, I bring it back to the above point. Why can’t we meet ourselves where we are at in each moment of our lives and accept that we willbe at different places at different times? And accept that this is ok? Why do we have to conform to society’s bigger, better, faster, stronger cultural expectation? It’s clearly not making us healthier in anyway. I can attest to this both statistically and personally.

Think about how much better life would be if we released all expectations of ourselves. How much more enjoyable it would be if we didn’t compare ourselves to others or to whom we strive to be. It’s good to have goals, aspirations and desires, but we also have to be kind to ourselves along the way. Like everything else, there is a fine line we must straddle.

I believe it doesn’t have to be New Year’s Eve to make resolutions and here is mine: starting today, I want to focus more on being kind and accepting of myself. Not just when I am sick, but in everyday life. Hopefully, we can all move towards this goal. Life’s too short to do anything different.

All that being said, I’m going to go make some chocolate peanut butter banana muffins instead of grocery shopping because that’s what I would rather be doing <3.