As 2017 comes to a close I feel that I have been smacked over the head with "new you" "lose weight and take control of your life!" and " be a better you this year" ads. (Side note we are currently in the south western United States and I feel that this is even more prevalent than at home) Its everywhere. Radio ads, billboards, Facebook posts, Instagram stories...everywhere I turn!! I have heard a few name January "international diet month" and nothing could be more true. Diet culture goes all in at the start of the year. Playing up on peoples desire to make this year better than the last- as if losing some (or a lot) of weight will somehow change finances or your family situation or improve your work life balance. I hate to tell you this- no actually I love to tell you this- it doesn't work. Studies show that up to 95% of all diets fail long term and that those that do lose the weight have to continue restriction to maintain this weight loss long term. Most regain all the weight they lost plus some- then comes the guilt and shame. But what if this year instead of a resolution that includes x number of hours at the gym or x number of kilos lost what if this year the only resolution you made was to find some joy. Find joy in food, joy in movement, joy in quiet, joy in the loud....Just find joy...or whatever your word for that is. If yoga makes you feel joy try to carve out 5 mins a day (or whatever you can do) to find that joy. If drinking your morning coffee while it is still warm in peace and quiet (OMG this is the awesomest thing in my world!!) maybe try setting your alarm a bit earlier to get up and enjoy this time. If you find joy in freshly baked chocolate chip cookies- eat the damn cookie- and instead of saying "I shouldn't eat this" say "I really truly love this".
I find joy in being outdoors. I love feeling free with my body, that I am not tied to anyone or anything. Walking, running or hiking outside fill me up with a peace and grounding that I need. I need to get outside each day, this is self care for me. Drinking my coffee while its still hot, snuggling with my kids, eating food that makes me feel nourished and satisfied. Standing in front of my students and seeing in their faces that they are getting what I am trying to teach. These are all things that I find joy in. And there are many more. I am telling you this to say we do not need to change to find our joy.
In a world that is constantly telling us we need to change, that we are not good enough, strong enough, smart enough, thin enough- that we are just not enough- it is a radical act to find joy in what truly makes you happy. So when the clock hits midnight and January 2018 kicks off maybe take a moment to not think of "this is the year I become what society says I am supposed to be" but say " this is the year I listen to myself and just find the joy"
I wish you all the best as we start 2018. May you find your joy while being unapolegtically you and I will continue to be unapologetically me....