Love Your Body Challenge Day 3: Strong

Love Your Body Challenge Day 3

Mantra: “I am strong enough to______, and I am proud of that.”

My mantra: I am strong enough to know when I need to ask for help, and I’m proud of that.

Action Step:  Write down one way that you demonstrate incredible physical strength, mental strength, and emotional strength.  Let yourself relish in the memory of the last time you did each of these things, and feel incredibly proud.

Physical: I continue to improve the amount of weight I can lift in the gym and the length of time I am able to hold yoga poses. My running pace has improved as has my ability to run longer distances. Excelling at physical fitness makes me feel strong. I do not compare myself to anyone else so my progress is based on where I started, not who is standing next to me at the gym or on a race course or a yoga mat.

On Thursday I went to my usual Vinyasa class only my instructor was out. Another instructor taught the class in a very different style. It was so challenging and pushed me way out of my comfort zone. We held poses a lot longer than usual. We also did a few very new to me poses that were difficult to get into never mind hold for a few minutes. I struggled, wobbled and longed to press back into child’s pose, but I stuck it out and felt amazing at the end.

Running this winter has been frustrating. The treadmill has become a life saver during and after major snowstorms even though I dread the thought of running indoors. I try to get outside as often as possible to run. Last Friday I had a 14 mile training run on the schedule and I really hate to do long runs on the treadmill. I bravely bundled up and hit the road around 8am despite a temperature of 8 degrees outside. The roads and sidewalks are still littered with ice and snow. My route took me to some of the hilliest parts of town because I decided to explore a new area. I felt like the wind was in my face the entire time. I dodged ice patches, cars and puddles. My face was numb. My hands were cold and my legs felt so heavy from all the hills. I was wearing my warmest running pants, but the extra insulation in them makes me feel like I’m running in a diaper. My miles were very slow.  It was miserable, but I did it and damn was I proud of myself when it was over.

Mental: My mental strength allows me to do my job as a psychiatric nurse. I must constantly think one step ahead of the patient. I must quickly assess a person to determine the best way to handle their needs. If I inadvertently do or say something to even slightly cause a patient to react in a negative way then I have to reverse it immediately if possible to avoid a power struggle or unpredictable behavior. Sadly, in recent months I’ve also had to employ mental strength to deal with miserable, negative, complaining co-workers. It’s a stressful environment to work in if you allow it to be. I’m very proud of the resolve I’ve shown and my ability to stay focused on being kind, caring and compassionate amongst very disgruntled colleagues and mentally unstable patients. I have vowed to leave work feeling positive about the job I do. I am not changing or saving lives, but at the end of the shift I need to go home with a smile on my face so I can enjoy my day, be a good mother and maintain my own mental health.

Recently a very difficult patient requested medication from the charge nurse at 6:50 a.m. She immediately gave him attitude and insisted that he would have to wait until day shift came out of report because we were getting ready to leave (this meant the patient would have to wait at least 40 minutes for a medication nurse to help him). I could see him clenching his fists and rocking back and forth. I grabbed the medication room keys and told the patient I would get him the medication. I could see the disapproval on my co-worker’s face, but in that moment I was more interested in avoiding any explosive behavior from the patient than I was in stepping on my co-worker’s toes. At the med room the patient used some choice words to express his disdain towards the other nurse. I offered him some suggestions on how to handle this kind of situation in the future and told him he could always seek me out for medication. I gave him a little TLC and the medication to decrease his anxiety. He said thank you and returned to his room. My co-worker said thank you when I returned to the nurse’s station though she did express her opinion that patient’s shouldn’t expect us to jump when they say jump. I didn’t pay her any mind and walked out of work that day feeling proud that one little act helped avoid a potentially disruptive situation.

Emotional: This one is tough for me because I’ve always felt very weak emotionally. I’m sensitive especially about things people say to me. I have a very hard time hiding my feelings and everything shows on my face. For so long I was a very negative person. I wanted so badly to be pretty and thin. I never felt particularly smart or good at anything. I was the epitome of average. I didn’t quite fit in with any group. I was awkward and self-conscious. My moods were unpredictable and I took everything personally. I think my emotional strength is that slowly but surely I’ve been able to learn from my mistakes and continue to improve myself. I am a work in progress.

I just happened to read this post on Mind Body Green about How to Stop Being So Reactive All the Time. I have a long history of being an overreactive person. I’m infinitely less reactive now than I have been for much of my life. I’ve learned a lot and heeded much needed advice over the years to change my behavior. I was so bad in my teens and early adulthood that I often reacted even before people finished their sentence.

The article offers 6 pieces of advice on how to stop negative reactions. I found the second suggestion very applicable to my history.

2. Evaluate your beliefs.

What do you regard as truth in this lifetime? Do you feel unworthy and therefore think that everyone is critical of everything you do? Are you convinced success emboldens people to look down on everyone below them? We have to take responsibility for our own frame of reference. Sometimes we can project that onto something that isn’t there.

I think this would have been a very helpful suggestion for me in the past. I have always felt as though I was being scrutinized with a critical eye. To this day I still feel as though I am not as good as others. I often feel “small” and insignificant when I’m in a group. I generally think people are judging me and therefore I  mistakenly assume their comments and even tone of voice are meant to belittle me. Ridiculous right? I know it makes me sound paranoid. More and more I am beginning to realize that I have been my own worst enemy.

I’m going to end this post with a quote I saw on Roni’s Weigh this morning. I think it applies to everything above. Part of going through this challenge is hopefully to help me start developing some confidence in myself.

“It all comes down to confidence: your body can do great things only if it believes it can accomplish them.”~ Georges St-Pierre

4 thoughts on “Love Your Body Challenge Day 3: Strong

  1. I work with a woman who if anything goes wrong in the office, she blames herself – even if I tell her that it had nothing to do with her – it makes me so sad to see it.

    Love that quote from Roni’s blog – I haven’t gone on there for a long time. Happy Monday!

  2. I hate working with negative people! I worked with a woman once who complained about every part of her job every single day – I kept telling her “you are not chained to your desk – you can quit!”

    Glad you felt good after your outdoor run! 😀

  3. Aimee…great post. I’ve read it several times and I can see your strength. I think I may do this challenge even though I’m a bit late to the gate! I may learn a thing or two about myself.

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