5 Ways to Feel Stronger
November is one of those months when I begin to reflect on my past year. What were the highs and lows, the lessons that I learned and the fears that I faced?
Each year I like to scare myself on my birthday. Not like go-to-a-scary-movie scare, but more like face-one-of-my-fears scare. This helps me to feel more alive and when I actually complete whatever task I’ve established for myself, a sense of self-accomplishment follows.
2015 was an incredibly tumultuous year. I watched my mother die before me, had a tornado rip off sections of my roof while my family was inside, and achieved a personal dream of winning first place in a bodybuilding competition last month after years of training.
I feel like there’s a tornado inside of me right now because so many emotions have surfaced, bad and good, that I haven’t had time to really think about or know how I’m going to get through. So here are some things I am saying to myself right now to pull it together and feel empowered again. If you’re in a bit of a funk too, I hope you will find them helpful.
- Let Go and Let God. Yeah, I brought up God, right up there in item #1. If you’re an agnostic say “let go and let the universe”. The main point I’m making here is that you have to accept the fact that there are a lot of things out of your control: who gets sick, accidents, weather patterns and the way other people behave, to name a few. Stop worrying about them and know it’s part of a grand plan and your life is only a tiny, tiny piece of the puzzle. Focus on what you can control: your attitude, what you put into your own body.
- Think of the Strongest Person You Know.
In the span of six weeks my mother was found collapsed on her bedroom floor with an infection, discovered she had advanced lung cancer with less than a year to live, renovated her entire house she lived in for 37 year and sold it, fell at the airport on the way to Texas, hurt her hip, and ended up having to use a walker, and moved in with me and my family in Texas. She cried once. For like 30 seconds. I cry at Hallmark cards. I have no idea how we were related. But when I think about what she went through, the chemo, the hair loss, no longer able to act as an independent woman with honestly no complaints I am astounded. She was literally cracking jokes on her deathbed. When I think of what she endured it helps me to put into perspective my own little worries and realize they are nothing to be afraid of.
- Do Something.
Sitting and sulking helps no one, so get out of the house and do something. You don’t even need to do it well, just keep yourself distracted until you are ready to deal with your feelings. The week after my mom’s funeral I ran a Spartan Race. A month later I did a pole fitness competition. Both things were a blur but they served their purpose: they gave me something to look forward too, a physical way to relieve stress and a reason to skip emotional eating.
- Be Grateful. When the tornado came I didn’t realize what it was, but my husband did. He told the kids, “Let’s play Harry Potter and hide in the closet downstairs.” The power was out and the wind was so strong and in that moment you realize how very precious life is. The best thing to do is hug your kids or your loved ones and be grateful that they are in your life.
- Tell Your Favorite Story.
Stories teach us and inspire us. Maybe you are a romantic and like The Notebook (love conquers all) or perhaps you get uplifted from the underdog story like Rocky (my personal favorite.) Now look to your own personal narrative and remind yourself about the time you beat the bigger kid at the race or how you stole that first kiss under a pale blue moon and knew that your life would forever be changed. Use your life to encourage yourself and remind you that you are stronger than you think.
Strength doesn’t come from lifting weights or spending hours at the gym. Strength comes from your head and your heart and by doing hard things. And the funniest thing about it is you often don’t even realize how strong you are until it’s a rainy day in November and finally take a moment to reflect.
Lisa Traugott is a Mom’s Choice Award winning writer, fitness blogger, wife and mom of two.
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