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Facebook & Community; Musings on Synergistic Tenacity

There are a lot of things in life that we go at alone for various reasons. Maybe we are afraid for others to see us fail? Maybe we are afraid that sharing our experience with others makes the commitment larger? Maybe including others in our lives increases risk? There are other times when we welcome others into our lives. What is the difference between these sides of the road?

I’ve read numerous stories where people mention this strange phenomenon involved in social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. You might know the one that I am talking about; the phenomenon in which people present themselves in the most perfect, amazing, successful way? It almost seems like when people are going through a trying, difficult time; status updates get happier, frenzied, and more frequent. “Look, I’m happy! Don’t judge me! I’m perfect!” they seem to say. Maybe we try to put up a tough exterior and it could be that we try to create the world we wish we lived in; the one where we are eternally optimistic, happy, and safe. Positive status updates seem to lead to positive responses, or do they? Do we receive what we really need from friends when we aren’t honest and open?

Recently, I’ve thought a lot about this Facebook phenomenon and the side effects of being “perfect” and how they carry over into the rest of our lives. I’ve wondered if always portraying ourselves as perfect leads us to seem less human, less understanding, or less “real”. When everything seems perfect, do people have a harder time relating to us? Why do we post positive things even when we are struggling? Why do we sometimes, especially related to things important to us, appear one dimensional? Why, in a community that we’ve built of friends, colleagues, acquaintances, and loved ones – do we choose to go it alone? I saw it as a challenge. What would happen if I spoke about the good and the bad?

I battle with obesity. Everyone knows it is “an issue”, we just don’t talk about it. Lately, I feel like it takes so much strength to pretend it isn’t an issue or important to me. Frankly, I often feel like my weight is the big fat pink elephant in the middle of the room. So, I finally addressed it on a social networking site; and in real life. Gulp. I felt absolute terror about putting my thoughts, goals, and trials out there for everyone to see. As it turns out, I am not the only one facing these issues. Even more incredible is that I had an outpouring of support and love. Everyone knew what I was hiding; I only thought I was doing a good job of steering clear of what was really on my mind. They felt freer to support me and to acknowledge their own struggles when I admitted mine. There is true power in numbers and value in friendship.

There are so many people in your network whose lives likely mirror your own. If you could have support, inspiration, and accountability to your goals; would you choose it? Why face issues by yourself when you have so many people out there? You have created this amazing network of amazing people and you have the ability to choose exactly how to utilize this network. Feeling lonely? Let friends know you’d like to get out of the house. Have a big goal you hope to meet? Encourage friends to hold you accountable and to work with you towards their own goals. You don’t have to be perfect and you don’t have to face life alone. It is possible to create a group of people that engage in events or activities that help you all. The power of support and groups is incredible.

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. – anonymous

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Read more from Stacey!

Body Matters: Prioritizing Your Own Health

Body Matters: Taking the First Steps

Body Matters: Making It Work

Article originally appeared on The Seattle Lesbian (http://www.theseattlelesbian.com/).

See website for complete article licensing information.

Stacey S in Fitness, Health, Health & Fitness, LGBT, Lifestyle, Nutrition, Seattle, Seattle gay, Seattle lesbian, Stacey S, The Seattle Lesbian, Wellness

Creating Healthy Habits

What are you doing right now? What could you be doing right now? Is what you “could” be doing healthier than what you “are” doing? How did you come to make the choice? Is it a habit?

In the last column, I talked about the choices we make to care for others before our selves. Have you made any changes? It’s hard! I’ve been struggling along with you to make some changes. I have some helpful suggestions for baby steps in the right direction. Let’s work together to make healthy improvements to our lives. The goal is that at some point in our lives, we will have to make less “decisions” to be healthy in lieu of just living a healthy, well-balanced life.

According to the dictionary, a habit is described as “an acquired behavior pattern regularly followed until it has become almost involuntary”. Think about all the things in your life you do involuntarily after weeks, months, or years of habit making? Brushing your teeth before bed, looking both ways before crossing the street, taking off your shoes when you come into the house; these are all habits formed over time. We make some bad habits, too; 3 mochas a day, not buckling up while driving, etc. It takes time to form habits and it takes commitment to mindfully repeat a healthy behavior. I once heard that you need to do something around 21 times in order for it to become habit. Upon further research, it seems that that number is low. It appears that, on average, it takes around 66 days of repeating the activity until it becomes habitual. Isn’t living a beautifully balanced, healthy life worth 66 days? Need some help making the leap?

Schedule your exercise.

Scheduling your exercise and activities in a planner. I find it useful to list the classes I like to attend, etc, in my google.com calendar and sync the calendar with my phone. No matter where I am, no matter what I am doing, I will receive that reminder to exercise. Making a commitment to yourself is just as important as the commitments you make to others. If a friend invited you to a concert 3 weeks from now, would you put it on your calendar?

Build a support network.

Building a support network can create accountability. If you always go and work out at the gym with the same 3 friends and you stop showing up; hopefully they’d inquire about how you are doing and where you are. When you feel connected as part of a group of likeminded individuals, it might be just what you need to get yourself to the gym or around the lake for a walk. I find that I’m more likely to pause for lunch if I’m taking a lunch break with friends.

Journal.

Keep a log of your daily activities. At the end of the week, look back on what you have accomplished. In the daily grind, your activity or goal might be overlooked, but evaluating and seeing the significance at the end of the week can fuel motivation. Miss a day? Don’t worry about it, but record that too. Documenting your activity, struggles, success, and habits over time can also show you how much you have improved.

No matter what else you do today, please be sure to be good to yourself. Do just one thing that makes you feel good, nurtured, fulfilled, or loved. You deserve to be healthy and you deserve your own care.

Article originally appeared on The Seattle Lesbian (http://www.theseattlelesbian.com/).

See website for complete article licensing information.

Stacey S in Fitness, Health, Health & Fitness, LGBT, Lifestyle, Nutrition, Seattle, Seattle gay, Seattle lesbian, Stacey S, The Seattle Lesbian, Wellness

 

Putting Ourselves First

If you are anything like me, fitting time in for taking care of yourself can sometimes be very difficult. Between work, social life, home life, meals, and sleeping – it can feel kind of impossible. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. I was thinking about how women in general tend to put the needs of others first on a consistent basis. Many of the female patients I’ve had the pleasure of meeting in my line of work have told me that they lived their whole lives taking care of others, only to finally reach retirement age and begin to start taking care of themselves, their needs, reaching for their goals – when they became very ill with disease. Were the illnesses caused by the neglect of one’s body? Was it because of the constant stress of providing care for others? It’s a very difficult question to answer.

While I know there are many research studies regarding the effects of a lifetime of neglect on the body, I’d like to see more related to the results of proper exercise and diet and how it allows individuals to lead more fulfilling lives of “giving”. Without the correct exercise, nutrition, and mind/body health we open ourselves to giving too much. The act of giving and giving over time without replenishing our storage of internal compassion, energy, and self worth can leave us wiped out physically and emotionally.

Doesn’t it seem that when we are most wiped out, the worse choices we make? After taking care of the kids, or a full day at work worrying about deadlines, or running our own business; we might take the easy way out of a healthy dinner in lieu of something fast. We might skip exercise in lieu of sleeping, feeling that we are too exhausted to continue on. Taking care of ourselves is the only way that we can find the strength and love to have enough for others. Our proverbial glasses should be completely full before we ever offer anyone a drink. I think about it in terms of those special directions you receive on an airplane before take-off. In the event of the loss of cabin pressure, we are instructed to first secure our own oxygen mask before the securing the mask of our children or companion.

What if we all spent our lives living in mindfulness? What if every bite of food we took, we acknowledged? What if every stair we stepped up was on purpose and every mile we walked, planned and enjoyed? What if we all enjoyed food for what it was; fuel and the ability to nurture our bodies? If we took appropriate care of ourselves, our needs, and lived in the moment – would we feel more energized and better equipped to help others? I believe so. I believe this so much that I am going to try this and report back to you. There has to be a way to find balance, to live life with purpose and love; not only for others but for ourselves. Life is calling. Get out there and live it, one step at a time.

Article originally appeared on The Seattle Lesbian (http://www.theseattlelesbian.com/).

See website for complete article licensing information.

Stacey S in Fitness, Health, Health & Fitness, LGBT, Lifestyle, Nutrition, Seattle, Seattle gay, Seattle lesbian, Stacey S, The Seattle Lesbian, Wellness