Before this shelter-in-place started in basically mid-March for us in Illinois, I decided that I wanted to start making changes.
What did I want to change? Overall, I wanted to FEEL BETTER. But, what do you mean, Christina? What was wrong? Well, no one would really admit it but there were things that I realized I was allowing to happen to me. Yes, I was allowing it because I didn’t do anything to change them. Not in the past 2 years.
After doing a Mama Master Plan workshop with my girl and number one Wild Mama, Tiffany, I realized I really had to prioritize my wants and needs because “you can’t pour from an empty cup.” There were things that I kept thinking about that I wanted to do, but I wasn’t doing them. Yes, I know, I had just had my baby, so really focusing on her was my main job for her first 3 months of life.
However, it was also because of her that I made it a goal to change for me. What kind of mother was I going to be and what example was I going to set if I didn’t take care of me? If I felt like my mental health was being sacrificed and I didn’t do anything to change it, what kind of example was I setting for my daughter? If I was miserable, is this what I’m showing that is OK for her? No, it isn’t OK.
I read a lot, I watch a lot of things and I pull from what I learn to make my life better and make better choices for myself.
SO! Here are the things that I wanted to change and focus on:
- Losing weight. Since I got married, now two years ago, my clothes have been shrinking! Haha. Just kidding. I was just getting bigger and after I had my daughter and after I was done breastfeeding, I was still at my heaviest weight ever. I didn’t like it, nothing fit, and I just didn’t feel comfortable. I went from feeling beautiful as a pregnant woman (or pregabetic) bringing life into the world, to feeling like I was in a slump I was never going to get out of. People said I looked great, but I just didn’t feel it. So I decided to join Noom, the program that you’ve probably seen ads for online or on television. I tried it on a test run and instantly started losing weight. The difference with this program is that it shows you how to make psychological changes, not just physical, and explains how your body works and the science behind why things happen. I was ALL ABOUT IT because diabetes. And if we’re not already nerds, then I don’t know what we are. In 12 weeks, I’ve healthily dropped 25 pounds and am 10 pounds away from where I want to be. I didn’t ever think I’d drop so much and was hoping for just 10! But here I am, able to do floor exercises, play with baby girl and FEEL GOOD without starving myself. Pretty awesome if you ask me.
- This is probably the first one I named because a lot of people want to do this and I feel like if I can feel healthier and see progress physically, I can make progress in other areas of my life. Also, if I can do it anyone can!
- Overall change in diet. Animal products are not really good for you. I’ve also seen documentaries, talked to doctors and heard Joaquin Phoenix talk about it at the Oscars. I wanted to be meatless and decided to give it a trial run during Lent, like a good Catholic. I just wanted to see if I could do it and how it’d impact my weight loss and meal plan. So, I went vegetarian for the 40 days. I’ve decided to adopt the term “Flexitarian.” I’m not about labels, but hell, it’s something that defines my diet. A Flexitarian focuses on vegetables and plant based diets but won’t necessarily say NO to meat, so I’ll eat it once in a while. For example, I had lasagna the other day with meat sauce. It’s mostly pasta and cheese (uh, delicious), and has spots of meat which was fine. I also eat fish and shellfish, so there’s that. But I AM adding a lot more vegetables to my diet which helps in the long run.
- Reading more. When I first got pregnant, I read a lot. I had time to read and I made it a priority. With a baby, it’s much harder, but I’ve started to designate time when she goes to bed to read at least 20 pages a day. If I surpass that goal, that’s great! But I definitely wanted to read more. I also bought myself a Kindle, so not only do I have a shelf of physical books I need to get through, I now have digital ones to get through, too. I will get there, I promise.
- Planning. AKA Goal setting. Although there is NO need for a planner during this pandemic, I made goal-setting a priority. As you can see, it’s basically a run down of what I listed above and play big parts in allowing me to change and update what I want. It seems like a lot, but it fills my pandemic days.
Here are a few examples of my goals:
- Reading at least 20 pages of my book a day.
- Logging all my food and staying within my calorie budget.
- Getting my 10,500 steps in every day.
- Get to bed by 10 pm at the latest.
- Write 3 friends snail mail notes every week.
- Drink water throughout the day and make it my top choice for meals.
- Log my small wins, i.e. Took TWO walks yesterday, lost an extra pound, etc.
- Write down things that baby girl does on a daily basis.
- Improving my mental health. What and who you decide to surround yourself with matters. It matters big time and changing your environment can change your life.
- I started taking long walks to ease my anxiety. I’m not normally an anxious person, but this pandemic, the situation above and more caused my anxiety to surface and be present. But after taking these walks and making changes, I am happy to report that I feel SO MUCH BETTER.
- This may sound really funny, but watching a whole lot of Sesame Street and Daniel Tiger has really helped me to manage my feelings. No, really!
- Spending time with my daughter and husband and understanding what I truly mean to them.
- A big part of the problem was my professional atmosphere. I’m not going to lie about that. I also don’t have to give details. But to put it bluntly, I didn’t feel like my job really mattered in the grand scheme of things. I also felt that I had a lot of self-doubt when it came to my job, but not outside of it. There was something wrong. I wasn’t about to sacrifice my mental and emotional health for a job. Jobs are not loyal to you. In the end, it’s not personal, it’s business. So I left and am at a new job that appeals to me in every sense. I’m pretty sure this is where I envisioned myself and worked hard to get here.
- DANCING! Because 1) with this weather, it’s not always easy to get your steps in so you gotta do it somehow, 2) I feel happy when I do it, and 3) it makes my baby laugh when we dance around the house together.
- Writing. Even if it’s blogs like this. Even if it’s one sentence a day. Even if it’s just writing what I did or what my baby girl did that day, I want to write more and document my life. I also started writing long-form content for EXPO Collective, but with things going on, and unable to do interviews I had planned, that slowed down, but it will be done.
Overall, I feel like I’m in the best place I’ve been in a very long time. I’m happy, I feel safe and secure, my mental health is priority right now and I have no complaints. Life is one big balancing act.
In these past years, I’ve always read about making things happen and ways to do it. I’ve read about psychology and taking small steps to achieve large goals. I’ve started thinking differently and taking everything I’ve learned and applying it to my life and it’s changed everything.
If I can do this for myself, I’m sure you can, too. And if you don’t do it for yourself, do it for the ones you love.