Having a better relationship with yourself. What does that mean? It looks differently for each person because we all may struggle with different things.
For me this meant being kinder to myself and putting myself first. I have always been the type of person to put my needs on the backburner to be there for everyone else and be what they needed me to be. But this act actually took a large toll on my mental health more than I even realized and put a strain on my relationship with myself and others around me.
For a period of time I really lost my identity. I wasn’t happy in the place I was and I struggled to admit that to myself. I seen the people in my life were happy and I tried to tell myself that seeing them happy made me happy, but it didn’t. It meant cutting some of those out of my life and allowing others in who brought out the best in me to see that if I’m not happy, then how can I expect myself to maintain a healthy relationships with others and have a healthy relationship with myself. The answer to that question is, I couldn’t.
At the time my cup was half full and if you were an outsider watching me during this time you would have really seen this. I used to be that girl that loved going on adventures, experiencing new things, meeting new people and always with a smile on her face. That all changed soon after high school. I found myself bitter, in a bad place in my relationship with myself and putting strain on my relationships with my friends and family because of this.
I had no idea what life was like beyond the rink because my whole life revolved around my training. Once I ended my career, it was like entering a whole new world. I basically left the rink and never looked back. I found myself a new group of friends that I would realize later didn’t bring out the best in me. My mental health would take a toll because of that and I found myself living a life that I wasn’t happy in because it made other people happy.
It took one great friend to show me who I was again to finally build the confidence to let go of the life that I was living, but not enjoying. It was hard at first, but with every small step I could feel my outlook changing. I began making my happiness a priority, doing things that brought me joy and surrounding myself with people that made me laugh.
How did I do this? Here it is,
My Top Five Must Do’s for having a Healthier Relationship with Yourself:
1. Exercising. The gym became my second home. Whenever I was feeling sad, stressed or anything in between, I would go to the gym, put my headphones in and just let it all go. Turns out these days actually were my best workouts because I just left everything on the table. Once I finished I just felt such a weight lifted from my shoulders. Exercising is actually very good for our mental health because it releases endorphins which are our “happy” hormones that aid in decreasing our stress hormones, such as cortisol.
2. Journaling. Writing is a great practice to let out what you’re feeling, that’s sometimes hard to say. It’s actually proven that writing helps us identify our internal conflicts because it increases awareness and insight further developing our sense of self. When journaling you’re not limited to any specific topic or feeling, it’s meant to take that time to slow down and really get in tune with how we are feeling. It’s also a great practice for reflection when you find yourself growing beyond your struggles, it represents how far you’ve come.
3. Surround yourself by those who bring out the best in you. When we are surrounded by people or things that don’t make us happy or motivate us to be a better version of ourselves, we are more likely to have negative thoughts and emotions toward ourselves. It may be scary to cut people or things out of your life, but if they aren’t fulfilling our happiness, we’re not doing ourselves any good by continuing on, nor are we doing any good for the other people in our life.
4. Make it a priority to do one thing a day/week that fulfills your happiness or helps us relax. This can be anything. For me my daily self care activity was exercising, but each week I picked something different that I did for myself. Sometimes I would treat myself to my favorite dessert or I would go out with a friend for dinner or drinks. Pick something that maybe you don’t typically make the time to do, but you wish you made it a priority because chances are that one thing is actually more important to your self care then you thought.
5. Compliment yourself more. Myself personally my thoughts towards myself and body were always negative, so incorporating this super quick but hard thing to do into my daily routine was key to boosting my confidence, and showed me how to love myself. Each morning I would look at myself in the mirror and tell myself one thing I loved about myself or I was proud of myself for. Those little things actually empowered me and made me feel so confident in my body and mind. Shifting your perspective from negative to positive is crucial to how we go about our day and respect ourselves.
These are just some of the things that helped me and I hope maybe they inspired you to try incorporating some of these practices into your daily routine. You can use all of them or alter them to fit your needs. Remember everyone is different, what may work for one may not work for another, so it’s great to try different things to see what works best for you.
If you would like to follow my social pages @healthylifestylegrace is on Instagram! I will be sharing more of my journey there, as well as fitness advice, food recipes and lifestyle reviews. Currently trying to get this page up and running so not as many posts are seen as I would like, but I’m just trying to figure out what my audience would like to see more of !