Invest in Yourself
In a previous post titled Struggling With Emotional Eating: There is Hope, I encouraged us to do the Thirty Day Emotional Eating Journal Challenge (from livethewhole.com). The questions in this challenge take a great amount of thinking and honesty. If you haven’t gotten very far or have given up on this challenge, please be easy on yourself. I have only gotten to question #5. Since, I truly believe that this examination of ourselves will be enlightening, I’ve decided to work through some of the questions with you in this space.
Question #5 asks “How can I invest in myself, my health, and my joy this year?”
Invest in yourself. I wondered what this really meant. We often think of investing as relating to money. According to Google it can also mean “to devote (one’s time, effort, or energy) to a particular undertaking with the expectation of a worthwhile result.” Some examples I found related to, learning new skills, trying new experiences, and creating lists of activities you want to accomplish and actually doing them.
For me, I’m investing in myself by writing and learning about the craft of writing and blogging. Are you already investing in yourself and haven’t really thought of it that way? I stumbled over this question until I realized that I already was investing in myself through this blog. If you currently aren’t doing any activities that spark joy in your days, think back to what you loved doing as a child. What did you do in your free time? Is there a way that you can feed that joy now even in little ways? If you’re stuck, ask friends or family for ideas or Google it.
Also, don’t get hung up on picking the “perfect” activity. Life is about growing and changing. Try something. If it doesn’t work for you, it’s no big deal. You still enriched your life even if you don’t want to continue that activity.
Invest In Joy
“How can we invest in joy this year?”
In some ways, I think this part of the question is tied into investing in ourselves. In other ways, I feel that joy is a spiritual gift that flows out of gratitude for what we have. We have the choice to focus on what is wrong with our lives or to focus on what is right with our lives. Where we put our focus dramatically affects how happy we are. Long before modern psychology started to teach about gratitude, the Bible encouraged us to give thanks to God:
“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good!
His faithful love endures forever.”
from 1 Chronicles chapter 16 verse 34.
The world is a disturbing, chaotic, loud place that very easily distracts us from what is good in our lives to what is wrong in the world. A friend shared a devotional this morning that encouraged us to look to Jesus for strength, wisdom, and guidance throughout our day. This verse was an excellent reminder to me to take my mind off of the craziness in my life and to look to my Savior.
Look to the Lord and his strength;
seek his face always.
from Psalm 105 verse 4
Just writing these words have given me joy! I pray they have given you joy as well! Putting my focus on God and all the blessings He showers me with each day, leads me to want to sing praises to God. When I’m singing praises to God, I experience even more joy. So for me, investing in joy means cultivating gratitude, thankfulness, and praise to my God and keeping my eyes on Him.
Your answer to how you’ll invest in joy in your life may look different. That’s perfectly okay.
Invest in Your Health
“How can we invest in our health?”
We just knew she was going to get back to the eating stuff. For me, I believe my focus has to change from dieting to nourishing my body. I covered this in my last post on The Pleasures of Eating Mindfully.
When I actually sit down at the table without distractions and just eat my food mindfully, something surprising happens. I feel my body relax. It’s as if I’ve given myself permission to only do one thing at a time. The multi-tasking pressure melts away. And you know what? It feels good to only do one thing. And suddenly, I can taste the flavors of what I’m eating. I can smell the aromas. I can gaze at my bay window with the green plants in it, while I chew and swallow without feeling rushed. It’s glorious!
Why have I rushed through every meal and snack as if the world would end if I don’t hurry? How about you? Do you rush through meals to get back to important tasks? Do you eat while doing other things to maximize your efficiency? Does this really make us more efficient? Or is this the cause of digestive upsets and overeating?
Nourish Your Body
So how does this tie in with nourishing our bodies? What if slowing down during meals gives our digestive tracts time to do their jobs without the stress of food entering them too fast? If we took time to chew our food, then digestion would begin in our mouths before the food reached our stomachs. If we were paying attention to how big our bites of food were, would we maybe take smaller ones?
Eating slower gives our stomachs time to tell our brains that we’re full. Supposedly, this takes about 20 minutes. When was the last time it took you or me twenty minutes to eat a meal or a snack? Lessening the stress on our stomachs, improves digestion. When digestion improves we obtain more nutrients from our food, thus nourishing our bodies. Hopefully, this will make our tummies happier as well!
Finally, examining ourselves is a strenuous process. Emotional eating doesn’t really help us with our emotions. For me, it increases my distress by causing stomach issues and increasing my weight. Extra weight makes my joints hurt more and increases my breathing difficulties. Feeling crummy is awful, and at times intolerable. I don’t know about you, but I’m at that place where I desperately want to change. If you are as well, please let me know. You don’t have to struggle alone. You can comment below, sign up for my emails, or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Most importantly, we both need to remember that we didn’t learn to use food to manage emotions overnight. It will take time to unlearn. This week, resolve to be more mindful about food choices. Our focus is nourishing our bodies and souls. Kathy