Hello everyone! It has been a while since I have shared on here, and let me tell you it is not due to lack of motivation. We have been so incredibly busy around our household, (both teens started track this week!) and truth be told I have been working a lot. I have also been thinking a lot, and kind of in all of my feelings.
This past weekend was pretty great, Sunday especially. I was so content and my heart felt really full. It was one of those days where I was just soaking it all in, and enjoying everything in the moment. Then a post in my memories on Facebook came up. It let me know that two years ago Sunday, the process of moving across the country became real. I started sending my farewell emails to my colleagues and getting boxes together to pack up my house.
It has been two years already? The weird thing about this is that these two years seemed to go by so quickly. Yet at the same time, the life I left behind seems to be forever ago. I talk a lot about healing on this blog, and that is because it means so much to me. In reality there is a lot that goes into the healing process. I will always tell anyone asking that it is not an easy feat.
Lately I have been feeling so much at peace with myself and continuously trying to help myself grow. But what exactly is it that I have been doing so differently these last two years? I am here to tell you, it is A LOT. Honestly, I am not even close to the same person I was two years ago. I had to make the decision to start taking care of and focusing on myself. All of these things took time, a lot of work, persistence and determination.
I Had Tunnel Vision on Taking Care of my Health
Taking care of yourself can and literally does mean SO MANY THINGS. Being in an abusive relationship, and with a narcissist for so many years, I pushed my own physical and mental health aside. I forgot what it was like to truly take care of myself. If we’re being really real, I was lost and didn’t even know who I was for a long time. I was a zombie and didn’t even know it at the time. Once I was free from my old life, I knew I had to focus on my health.
Getting Myself Back To My Ideal Weight
During my time with the narcissist I gained a lot of weight. A lot as in I was the biggest I had ever been in my whole life. I was already in the process of getting my pre toxic relationship body back, but I decided to really stick with it, and to keep going. I don’t have a specific workout routine or anything, but I keep up with a whole and healthy diet. I also made small changes like standing at work. It doesn’t seem like a lot, but when you put it all together it adds up to a lot! Especially since they say 70% of the work is in the kitchen! I suppose it helps that I LOVE to cook, and the kids sometimes help too!! I feel like I should put out there that I also love to bake goodies as well. It’s not all healthy. (Wink wink)
I am also much more active in general. This usually comes from lots of family lake trips during the summer, swimming, volleyball, taking walks, you name it! Who says working out can’t be fun anyway? The winters aren’t nearly as much fun or active, but we try.
Over the last two years I managed to get myself down to my ideal weight. I want to emphasize that it is my ideal weight, because it is not for anyone except for me. My ideal weight was and is based purely on where I feel most comfortable in my own body. That is much more important to me than anyone and their opinions on what I should look like.
Decreasing my Alcohol Intake
I also seriously cut back on my alcohol intake. After everything happened, with unknowingly moving from one narcissistic abuser to another abuser, I was drinking a lot more than I’d like to admit. I cut down from drinking nearly every day to only twice or so a month. Then I did a Don’t Drink in December challenge last year and have cut back even more since then. This has improved my skin, my mental health, and so many other things. I could probably talk for hours on this topic alone, but will spare you.
I am so grateful for this change in many many ways, and it has been important to me. It has also been really important to other people in my life. Decreasing my alcohol intake has overall led to a lot more happiness in my life. Not to mention the numerous health benefits.
I Developed a Skincare / Self Care Routine
Speaking of skin, I have always had eczema. As I got older for some reason, it seems to have gotten worse. I never used to have eczema on my face, but in the last 5 years or so I started getting it really bad between my eyebrows on my forehead in the form of red blotches and flaky skin. It is uncomfortable, sometimes stings and is itchy. Based on a lot of research this can come from almost anything! (That is so overwhelming!)
I have tried everything from Eucerin Eczema Cream to different face washes to calm these flare ups. What seems to help the most is a homemade face wash with all natural ingredients. I also use a homemade face and body cream with coconut oil as the base, honey, and lavender essential oil. Some people will say that you’re not supposed to use coconut oil on your face, but for people with extremely dry skin it’s okay.
I am trying to move away from store bought lotions because of all the chemicals, but am still working on this. Not only do I have so many, I just absolutely love the smell of some. In the meantime, I always make sure to moisturize. It’s also a nice part of my daily routine that I really enjoy. On the weekends I absolutely LOVE a home spa day. Face mask, sugar scrub, moisturize and probably do my nails! It’s a great way to pamper and show myself some love, while taking care of my body and not spending a ton of money!
Taking Multivitamins & Drinking Lots of Water
Another thing I changed was that I started taking multivitamins every day, which is not something I ever did before. When I first started taking them, I noticed a change over time and felt better in general. Stronger maybe? When my mom passed away, I forgot to take my multivitamins the entire time we were in IL (for a whole week). My body definitely felt that! It took me a while to start feeling like myself again. I’m sure this also had to do with the depression of losing my mom, but that is a time when I definitely should’ve been taking them.
Also, “Drink Wateeeerrrrrrr” Any military friends here? More specifically old school basic training in the U.S.? Way way back when, while I was in basic training at Fort Leonardwood in Missouri… during the summer (A.K.A. The Armpit of the U.S.) our drill sergeants had to MAKE SURE we drank plenty of water. We even had a whole system set up. If someone wasn’t drinking enough water they would make everyone drink (chug) water until said person threw up. Yikes. Well, I don’t drink that much water. Somewhere between basic training 15 years ago and now, for a while I was forgetting to properly hydrate myself. This is obviously a problem. So, I found a happy medium and now I make sure I drink enough water every day.
I could probably write a whole entire post on the importance of staying hydrated alone. Once again, I will spare all of you especially considering this is already a really long post.
Wow! If you made it all of the way down here, CONGRATS and thank you so much for reading!
Overall these are just a few of the changes I made to start taking care of my own health. Some of these things may seem so obvious to almost anyone. When you’re in an abusive relationship, though, a lot of these things take the back seat over time. Speaking from experience, a lot of time and energy is spent trying to get your head above water long enough to take a breath. Instead of doing things for yourself, you’re doing every little thing you can to prevent a really bad day or night. I’m sure some of you know exactly what I’m talking about. It is truly exhausting.
Once I started taking care of my physical health, my mental health improved so much. Peace, happiness, and joy slowly started making their way back into my life. Taking care of my health can be so much fun too! I know I can’t be the only one who LOVES a good home spa day or trips to the lake with family and friends!
What about you? What are some ways that you take care of your physical health? Any that roll into your mental health as well? I would love to hear about them, let me know in the comments!