February can be challenging month—physically, mentally, and emotionally with winter still in force in many areas of the country. I recently read a book that might help make a “better” me—a more healthy and joyous me, anyway. Wouldn’t that be a clutter-clearing gift for me and for the people around me? Please consider this as a Valentine’s Day gift for yourself.
Maybe it really isn’t that complicated. Frankly, I am just plain tired of feeling tired. Many people are. I am weary. In reality, I took about a three-year break from healthy eating and exercise choices. I am not proud of it, but I did. Maybe some part of me wanted to celebrate life for a bit. Maybe I had some perverse urge to thumb my nose at the cancers I have had and prove to myself that my cancers wouldn’t come back even if I did get a little out of shape. Okay, maybe quite a bit out of shape. Anyway, now I am working on my body clutter and I am finding it to be quite a learning experience.
I would like to invite you to come along with me. Less fatigue and better health physically, mentally, and emotionally would simplify your life. Right? Now, I don’t lose weight as easily as I used to. Can you relate? That is no news flash and part of it may just come with the aging process and slowing metabolism. I don’t know. Still, I can choose what I eat and I can choose how often I move my body. I can get back into the driver’s seat. My faith, my spirituality, tells me that my body is a temple.
To be honest, I have rebelled like a little kid who doesn’t want to do her homework. I know there are many benefits to exercise, and I always, always feel better about life and everything else right after I exercise. Why am I so foolish sometimes? I don’t know. Still, I can and will gradually and gently increase my exercise again. Battle worn, care worn, weary but grateful to be here. That is me. Is that you? To get inspired, I recently read Goddesses Never Age by Christiane Northrup, M.D.
Frankly, I am inspired by her thoughts. I cannot say enough good things about this book for those of us, especially women, who are in our midlife and beyond. If you are pondering what you want middle age and beyond to be for yourself, I can’t recommend this book highly enough for you. Here are just a couple of thoughts from the book that really resonate for me:
Diet: Northrup suggests that in regard to healthy eating there are “moderators” and “abstainers.” Moderators can enjoy a little of something. Abstainers will go on to eat most of the bag. Moderators are good at eating a little bit of a treat. Personally, I am an abstainer with no self-control once I start, so I decided to follow her advice to eat what I want one day per week and be “good” on the other days. Northrup didn’t shame either eating style—she has a lot of good thoughts about shame, actually. Pointing out how to manage my eating based on my personal hardwired eating style made sense to me.
Exercise: A word many of us don’t like. Northrup comments that willpower to keep going with the task of exercise doesn’t last for many of us. Eventually we run low on willpower. Even the word “exercise” brings up negative connotations. Northrup suggests calling it “joyful movement” instead, and encourages us to figure out what kind of movement is personally joyful. Something clicked for me when I was thinking about this approach. I discovered that when I listen to a series of fast-paced tunes of a genre I like, I actually enjoy doing a weird combo of freestyle movement ranging from “exercise” moves like jogging, marching, kicking, and knee lifts to “dance" moves that are silly but fun and arm movements that feel good at the time.
I am not ready to be publicly seen doing my joyful movement but I work up a sweat and get up to around 10,000 steps completed in relatively little time in the simplicity and privacy of my home. In fact, because it is my version of joyful movement, the time seems to pass pretty quickly.
Northrup shares many other beyond-midlife things in her book. The thoughts in Goddesses Never Age have helped me clarify and simplify my life and helped me to reduce my weariness. I hope you find her ideas helpful too!
Barbara Tako is a clutter clearing motivational speaker and author of Clutter Clearing Choices: Clear Clutter, Organize Your Home, & Reclaim Your Life, a seasonally organized book of clutter clearing tips readers may pick and choose from to fit their personal style. She is also a breast cancer and melanoma survivor who wrote Cancer Survivorship Coping Tools—We’ll get you through this. Her website is http://www.clutterclearingchoices.com.