I wrote a post last week called “Why Women Feel Like Crap About Themselves.” A lot of you read and commented on that post. That is news to me that I need to write more about how to not feel like crap. I know there have been times in my life when I felt amazing and times when I felt like…crap. So here is a list of the top ten things to do to feel great. If you can take one nugget here and apply it to your life, I will be a happy blogger.
1. Getting involved in the community.
We women are connectors. While not all of us are the same personality profile eg. extroverted versus introverted, most of us benefit from getting out there and meeting other people. The best contacts, friends, clients I’ve made have all resulted from going out. So leave your house, get out of your sweatpants and go get involved with your local community. I joined Team In Training East Bay six months ago and it was one of the best experiences of my life. It was the best thing I could do to get involved in my new Oakland community.
My life changed when I joined Toastmasters. If you’ve read my blog before, you already know this. Sorry. Toastmasters connections are magical because the people there are interested in working on themselves–they are naturally compassionate and non-judgmental. Toastmasters is an organization that changes lives. It gives people confidence, it teaches them how to be better speakers. Everyone can benefit from going through the course and getting their Competent Communicator award.
3. Exercise Daily
I work out every day. Most people might think this is crazy, but exercise has been a constant in my life for the last decade. I depend on exercise to be happy, to stay sane, and burn off all the cake (it’s usually not cake but you get what I’m saying). I exercise in the morning, and if I don’t get my work out in I don’t feel right. I have no clue how people work desk jobs and don’t work out. If I didn’t do this I would implode.
If you don’t currently work out don’t be intimidated by other people’s regimen or goals. Do what feels right for you. Even if that’s just 15-20 minutes a day. Eventually you can build up to more time if you are interested to do so. If you are looking for motivation a great way to start is to get a work-out buddy or join a local walking/running group.
3. You Are What You Eat.
There was a period when I decided to only eat Weight Watchers meals. Oh man I felt so sick. All the chemicals and microwave food. I wasn’t sleeping well during that period either. I saw a picture of myself from that time and I look very washed out. It’s hard for me not to believe the chemicals in the food weren’t making me sick. Now I go to the Farmer’s Market every Saturday and we eat a lot of produce and generally healthy food. I do cheat (I eat a small dessert every evening) but I am done with processed food for the most part. Remember the diet industry is a ten billion dollar a year industry, and a lot of that is processed food. That is not what I call “health food.” Part of this is eating a good breakfast every morning that starts your day off right. I notice if for some reason I skip breakfast I end up eating more at night, and snacking. Lastly, don’t starve yourself! Generally restrictive diets lead to binging. Some people just “forget to eat.” Whatever your reasoning, don’t go too long without a snack. It will hurt you down the road.
4. Self Affirmations
Self-Affirmations are a great way to focus your mind. I went to a meditation last weekend with a group of about 30 women. We read these affirmations aloud. Feel free to take a few to help you get through your day. Read them out-loud to yourself.
Every morning after I start boiling the water for coffee, and toasting my one piece of whole wheat peanut butter toast (with banana) I go sit on our couch and meditate. I do this for five minutes. While five minutes isn’t very much time, it is the most important five minutes of my day. During this time I focus my intention and relax. I do this before eating, or showering, or exercising or anything. I do only five minutes because for me that’s achievable. You need to set goals for yourself that are within reason. These five minute moments makes a significant impact on my week.
6. Get out of your sweat pants and go out!
I said it before but I can’t stress this enough. Get out there and meet people.
I’m a homebody. I love being in my cozy clothes. I hate sitting in traffic, I hate wearing uncomfortable dresses and commuting to an office. I know this about myself. I also know every new friendship I have forged here in California, every new client I have signed, every new relationship (the one I’m in) and good memory has been created by me leaving the house. You know that cheesy bumper sticker “Life starts at the end of your comfort zone”? It’s sorta true. We are social beings, not meant to sit on Facebook and Twitter all day waiting for our lives to start. Put your technology away and go out and meet people.
7. Build something.
I love to cook. You know that because it’s all I talk about. I love chopping and using my hands to create something to be enjoyed. Cooking isn’t for everyone but I want to emphasize here that any project where you are creating something is gratifying. While most corporations don’t have any kind of “arts and crafts day,” just because we’re not kids anymore doesn’t mean we shouldn’t build things and have play in our lives. I don’t care if Color Me Mine is lame to most people. It’s fun. Get your hands dirty.
Dogs have a very neutral and gentle energy. Even seeing dogs walk by at the park can really just neutralize angry energy. If you don’t have a dog, and you are feeling down, go walk a friend’s dog, go to the dog park, watch YouTube videos of dogs. I’m not kidding. Dogs are man’s best friend.
9. Wear Flattering Clothing
How many times a day do you walk by a glass window, look in the reflection, and think “oh God I look awful.” First of all, I recommend you try and stop judging yourself when you walk by these windows. Just don’t look next time. Do you see guys looking at their profile and saying “oh my butt looks so big!” No they aren’t. In addition to not judging yourself in the mirror, I recommend you wear clothing that’s flattering and you feel comfortable in. If you have clothes that are too tight, that make your thighs or butt look big, don’t wear them. Wear clothes that make you feel beautiful. That doesn’t mean you have to go buy a new wardrobe, but if you wear clothes you feel good in, you will walk taller. A lot of women have great bodies but don’t highlight them well with the right clothes and as a result, they add pounds. If you don’t know what looks good on you, take a fashionable friend shopping or go to a store and get a personal shopper to help you. It’s really important that you feel like you look good. Also, throw out your skinny jeans. You are never going to fit into them. Get rid of them!
10. Spoil yourself a little.
When I lived in New York I was always exhausted. To give my “broke-ass” a treat I would treat myself to ten minute shoulder massages while I got my nails done. It was a dollar a minute. You can’t beat that.
A lot of us carry our stress in our shoulders and back. A massage can help get the lactic acid out of your back and make you feel better. It’s also a welcome replacement for chocolate or booze, another comfort to the stressed out career woman. If you can afford it I recommend a nicer massage, but if you can’t ten minutes of shoulder work can really leave you feeling refreshed.
Ok so that’s it from me for today. Go take on the world!!