self care

You can do what you love and care for yourself at the same time.

I put my first pair of ice skates on at the age of 4. With each passing year I fell more in love and became more competitive. Sometime within those years I also developed more and more acute and chronic diseases.

I didn’t let disease get in the way of doing what I loved. In fact it was my main source of catharsis. I remember heading to the rink after doctor’s appointments, whenever the doctor gave in and said I was well enough. Ice skating allowed me to thrive, even when everybody was yelling at me to stop, which I understood as letting the disease win. My own body was telling me to stop, however in a way unlike everyone else was.

My body was telling me to adapt to my circumstances. I had to change how I was skating to make it more sustainable. My newfound commitment to skating was unlike the commitments of those I shared the rink with. I continued skating because I was finally skating for myself. I changed my approach because my lungs could no longer catch my breath, my brain could no longer slow down, and body could not longer take the beating. I hadn’t yet developed the connectedness between my mind and body. All I knew at the time was that something inside of me told me it was OK to love ice skating however I needed to.

I couldn’t share my mind shift with other people because couldn’t put it into words. I can now, having roughly 10 years to reflect. I didn't speak up because I didn’t want to let my family or my coach down. I agreed to compete in competitions and test in test sessions, however I was no longer passionate about wearing pretty dresses and skating for other people. I can express now what I couldn't then: I couldn’t continue on the necessary path to be a competitor, and admitting that to my supportive parents and coach felt impossible (which is why I never did, until now). Rather than feeling defeated and failing to thrive, I consciously chose to skate in a way that was fun and not a chore. I chose to skate in a way that supported my body and what I couldn’t name at the time – my spirit.

I’m sharing this story for all to see that it's possible do what you love in a way that will allow you to love your True Self.  Change your goals so that they are more realistic. I decided to skate 4 days per week rather than train 5 hours per day 5 days per week. I skated in intervals rather than for 3 hours straight.

My world didn't end. I'm still here. I thrived.

Doing what you love shouldn’t destroy your body or your relationships. Speak up. Your body and support system will love you, just in different ways. 

Sticking to My New Year's Resolution with Thug Kitchen

Last February a friend gave me a cookbook, Thug Kitchen, as what I believe to be a half-joke, half-serious birthday gift. Last March I searched for and moved into an apartment with a large bathroom and small kitchen. This week (mid-January) I opened the cookbook and learned my way around my small kitchen for the first time.

Don’t get me wrong, I do often use my kitchen, but never to make meals by following recipes. Usually I’m in there making coffee, tea, smoothies or cutting fruits and vegetables. I went pro in college cooking well-balanced meals in the microwave.

I didn’t realize how unreliant I was on the stove or the oven until the gas was turned off to my building for about one month. The only thing I missed was boiling water. People kept asking how I was possibly surviving. During that month, I did get comfortable using a slow cooker that my mom gave me…years ago. However, life hadn’t changed that much because I’d gotten so crafty never cooking with a stove.

My time without a stove piqued my interest in cooking. I was tipped further over the edge after setting my new year’s resolution, to improve my self-nourishment techniques. As a person who spends her days helping others live healthier lives, it is important that I don't forget to do my own work. A week after setting my intention for the year, I cracked open the cookbook and chose to make lentil soup.

After a quick trip to Trader Joe’s, I was set. Because shokingly, I had all of the kitchen equipment I needed. I searched through cabinets and found a large soup pot, Martha Stewart utensils, a Vitamix, spices, vegetables, etc and fearlessly dove in.

What I learned:

  1. A vitamix is great for making soup. It’s not false advertising.
  2. Thug Kitchen helps make cooking less of a chore.
  3. It wouldn’t have mattered if I messed it up because I was and still am so proud of my tangible accomplishment, and knowing that I was actively taking steps to better care for myself. For the record though, I didn’t mess it up. The soup was delicious. And I enjoyed two meals from it.