Monday, January 6, 2014

Blue Monday

I meant to get a blog done (finally) and have it ready for you before New Years Day.  Then I meant to have it done a few days later.  And then a day after that.  But well, you know, life.  It just happens.  I've had so many topics I have wanted to write bouncing around in my head that I fear they may now be all jumbled together and vomited from my brain in one big pile of wordy crap.  You're welcome in advance.

I'm actually glad I haven't had time to write until just this moment.  This morning as a sipped my coffee, used my five pointless Candy Crush lives and watched the Today show I learned that it was the most depressing day of the year.  Wow.  Why wasn't I told? Blue Monday they call it.  It's supposed to be the third Monday of January but some asshole somewhere must have got the wrong memo and bumped it up a couple of weeks.  I wasn't even prepared.

Well, that's not true.  Where I live our entire state was enduring a freak out of epic proportions I like to call Coldpocalypse 2014.  With windchills at -40 degrees and colder all the schools were shut down by the governor.  You know this was supposed to be the first day back after a two week winter break, right?  I'm done with togetherness and, frankly, so are my boys.  By 10:00am I was threatening these two adolescents with the punishment of organizing my underwear drawer if they didn't get their shit together and stop beating on each other or screaming.  Today was an Ice Blue Monday.

Why the depression in January?  I think there are a lot of reasons for it.  Long, cold days.  Seasonal depression. The relative slowness and inactivity after the craziness of the holidays.  The lack of something to look forward to.  But I think there is more to it than that.

Let's go back to Christmas Day.  I spent the entire day with my family relaxing, opening presents and enjoying our time together (until it was time for me to make dinner and then it was panic time since every year I forget I do not own double ovens).  It was a wonderful day. And much like last year I woke up the next morning in a bit of a funk.  I was feeling like a sorely needed fruits and vegetables and I was exhausted from the last minute play calls I had to make to even pull off the holiday at all.  But thanks to the daily body gratitude challenge I was participating in on my blog's Facebook page I was able to combat those feelings that I normally have about my body, post-holiday, pretty easily.  Unfortunately, my Facebook friends didn't fare so well. 

On Christmas I saw post after post of well wishes, glad tidings, happiness, family togetherness, great food and celebrations and just overall - JOY.  That all changed the very next day.

Every post I saw was along these lines:

"I need to get back on track."

"God, I'm so fat today."

"I can't believe I ate so much."

"The diet starts now."

"Nothing fits today."

"I feel disgusting."

It made me so sad.  The shift from joy to self-loathing was almost tangible.  I've been working so hard on keeping those kinds of thoughts at bay for myself and there they all were in the form of statuses from all my beautiful friends.

And this is the frame of mind that people are in when they make New Year Resolutions?  This is the feeling they are to be inspired to make change from?  I've already tried to explain why real lasting change will NEVER come from a place of non-acceptance.  I promise you - it won't work.  This is why I started the Body Gratitude Challenge in the first place.  It's normal to want a fresh start each year and to have new goals but I truly believe there is merit to entering the new year with love, gratitude and acceptance as your backbone before you initiate change.

Blue Monday 2014 happens to be the first Monday after New Year's Day.  This is the day that many start their resolutions, often fueled by this aforementioned self-loathing.  They're creating lists of all their "can't haves" and "must dos". Or worse, they are already a few days into their resolution and have already decided they have failed.  Depressing, indeed.

I wish only one thing for you in the new year.  If you must make changes in your lifestyle do so not to make yourself less but because you deserve so much more.  You deserve to be healthy.  You deserve to feel strong.  You deserve to make time for yourself.  You deserve to love yourself.

I made a couple of resolutions that have nothing to do with my weight or fitness level and everything to do with how I feel about my body.  While I have a lot of things I want to do and experience and achieve I wanted to name a couple of very quantifiable things that I could work on.  First, I'm going to continue on my path of taking back the power from the camera.  I feel very comfortable at this point with having my picture taken by a professional but it's the "selfies" and candid photos that scare me and have made me absent from my family's memories.  So, I have vowed to take more photos of myself and even post them "out there" in the interwebs.  In fact, I've committed to taking 30 days of selfies and even posting some of them in an effort to make the camera old hat.  I have some Facebook friends who have agreed to join me in this experiment and together I am hoping we can take some of the emotion out of photo avoidance and perfectionism so we can be more present.

I think selfies, as irritating and ridiculous as they can be, resonate with people. I decided to throw caution to the wind and start fulfilling my goal by posting a pic of me, post-workout, no make-up and tons of swass, right on my Facebook page in a post about sustainability.  Imagine my shock when it became the most viewed thing I've ever put on my page. By A LOT.  People want to see real pictures.  They want to see things they can relate to.  After I recovered from my vulnerability overdose I felt a change.  A shift in where I want to go with this blog.  I've struggled recently with my intentions and direction but I've got it now.  All because I posted a picture of myself in my sweaty clothes.

Did you know that the Word of the Year in 2013 was "selfie"?  It's true.  Because, regardless of what you say, you know you love them.  (Or you are lacking in photo buddies to hold the camera.)  Every one needs to selfie once in awhile.


A friend of mine suggested that rather than coming up with a New Year's Resolution she was going to pick a word or theme for the year.  I have my theme already.


It's not fancy.  It's not bedazzled.  It's not full of "lose 10 pounds in 5 days" or "blast that belly" promises.  Sustainability is real.  It's relatable.  It's bare faced and full of swass.  Sustainability is where it's at.  It's the word for 2014.  I promise.

I know we are already knee deep in resolutions and I wish I could write everything I'm thinking tonight but I can't so I'm going to divide it up.  I'm going to address the topic of sustainable change in relation to self-worth and body confidence over the next few blogs so you can see what I'm working on and what I'm hoping to achieve.  If it helps you, wonderful!  If not, maybe you'll get some duck lips out of the deal.

For now, I want to wish you a very Happy New Year and I'd like to post an oldie but a goodie.  Whatever changes you want to make in 2014 or whatever goals you hope to achieve, make sure they are in line with this Body Pledge I hope you'll take with me.