Stop looking outside for scraps of pleasure or fulfillment, for validation, security or love-- you have a treasure within that is infinitely greater than anything the world can offer." - Eckhart Tolle
After working with wellness advocate, Jen Nobo, I quickly was presented with a term called “primary food”. I first thought this meant things like vegetables, meat, and fruits- you know, the things I eat frequently or “should” be eating frequently. However, I was far off, and if you’ve never heard of this term before, you probably are off too.
Primary foods consist of four main pieces: movement, sleep, relationships, and self-fulfillment. Without these four, the nutrition and diet will be hard to completely focus on and to get into a routine of foods that nourish your body, that you love, and that you can eat consistently.
To gain more information about the education and purpose of primary food, visit Jen’s post on primary food here.
I have been an all-or-nothing thinker for a lot of my life, and while I’m working on changing this thought process, sometimes I still fall into old patterns. Movement, for me, has primarily been exercise. I have tried everything from boxing to barre to running a marathon to weightlifting as an elementary student to completely sedentary. Most recently, I have made movement a priority by attending classes at my gym and incorporating running back into my routine.
It was all mental--funny how that it is when we're talking about movement. She set her alarm for 5:15am the next morning even though she had difficulty falling asleep. It seemed like minutes when the alarm went off, and she slowly began talking herself out of going. Thoughts like "I can do it tomorrow.", "I don't really need to go", "My body is too tired to do this right now" consumed her head within a few seconds of waking up, knowing that her only task at that moment was to get out of bed. Once out of bed, she was fine. It was just that initial moment.
So she told herself to "Stop!", literally rolled out, put her feet on the floor, contacts in and did it.
Afterward, she felt accomplished and consciously set her intentions for the day, simply by making a decision in the morning. She made her self and her health a priority, and THAT is what empowerment is.
*Change your thoughts. This is where all our behavior stems from. If you want to change a behavior, such as adding movement in whatever form to your schedule, tell yourself that you have plenty of time to do so. Tell yourself that you are giving your body what it needs. Tell yourself you love the activity you're about to do and are setting that intentional time for yourself. In doing this, you are changing your emotions regarding the action and thus able to act on your goal!
Many of my clients have struggled tremendously in the area of sleep. Problems with always feeling tired despite the number of hours logged, difficulty falling asleep and more difficulty staying asleep are all common themes among disordered sleep patterns.
I've personally struggled with insomnia since my undergrad years. I would bounce from having insomnia to hypersomnia - not sleeping at all to sleeping too much. When I would wake up in the middle of the night, I couldn't go back to sleep. If you've struggled with these, you know the misery of counting how many hours you could sleep if you fell asleep NOW and counting down from 100. I have personally been on medication to sleep, which helped randomly. However, what MOST helped get into a sleep pattern was the following:
We know that sleep impacts every part of our life. No wonder it's a primary food. Give yourself a break and actively try to create these patterns. Patterns help your brain know what to expect. And it is wonderful when it EXPECTS to sleep and follows directions.
What stems many of my clients' anxiety or depression are the relationships or lack of relationships in their lives. Loneliness and not being connected to others can diminish one's health rapidly. The relationship we have with others is what often keeps us going when times are hard. Having friends, being invited places, feeling like someone knows you and accepts you for who you are is necessary in order to lead fulfilling lives.
On the other end, the relationship you have with yourself is equally as important. I believe, that this relationship is stemmed from the thoughts in your head. What we feed our brain impacts what we will feed our body. If we tell ourselves we are worthless and a piece of crap, we will likely not take care of ourself, put ourself last, or simply just stay in bed. We begin to believe these thoughts. However, what we tell ourselves ISN'T ALWAYS TRUE! Just because I tell myself the sky is green does not make it true. When you tell yourself how horrible you are, ask yourself what the evidence is that supports that and then reframe that thought into something more HEALTHY like "I would feel healthier if I did _______ or _________."
Feed yourself with podcasts, songs, or thoughts that will lift you up. There is already enough negative surrounding us and on the media, that we don't need to actively look for it to see it. The positive, however, requires actively seeking and looking for the good.
We were taught that a goal in life should be to be happy. So we did everything we thought we were supposed to do and told that would get us there and found that we, in fact, were not happy. What we should have been told that life is about fulfillment. Feeling fulfilled isn't a destination we reach: it's a state of being that we can experience each day.
Fulfillment looks like feeling whole. Fulfillment looks like looking around you, smiling and feeling like you have done what you could do that day. Fulfillment looks like looking over on the opposite side of the couch and see the person you love. Fulfillment looks like your life. If you're struggling with fulfillment, read more blogs and the Services page to see what some helpful options may be!
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Be good to yourself.
Therapist. Millennial. Social Worker. Dog Mom. Friend. Sister. Empath. INFJ. Lover of ice cream.