It’s that time of year. We make resolutions, name our intentions, buy gym memberships, commit to minimalism and, in some cases, tell 2018 to go die in a fire. And actually, I love all that; I love starting out the year in a haze of determination and optimism. I love seizing this energy and using it to create a life I am proud of.
What I don’t love is all the people telling you what size you have to be to have achieved success. That a “bikini body” or flat stomach is your goalpost, that numbers on a scale are your scoreboard. That pisses me the fuck off. I get it; telling people they aren’t good enough is a billion dollar industry. But we don’t have to buy in anymore.
Did you know that there’s an increasing body of research that says that being “overweight” has NO negative impact on your health?
Did you know that the seeds of our obsession with skinniness dates back to quacks in the 1800s?
Did you know that it turns out those people who have made you feel like crap over the years are actually just assholes?* *citation needed *j/k we all know it’s true
The truth is, being HEALTHY matters. Exercise is the number one most effective thing you can do to improve your mood, fight anxiety, be more alert and productive, beat depression and live longer. But the size you are when you’re exercising? Pretty much irrelevant. And you don’t have to be a crazy fitness nut to get all of those benefits. Research says that 20 minutes a day- which can be 5 minutes 4x a day, btw- is all you need to feel better and live longer.
Another key component of healthiness is community. Humans are wired for connection, and when we don’t get enough positive social interaction, when we don’t have friends we can count on and a community that makes us feel valued, it has a profoundly negative impact on our mental health- which in turn impacts our physical health.
Happiness: Worth fighting for
Here’s your prescription for happiness in 2019:
- Get healthy. Find ways to move your body that feel good to you, and eat food that makes you feel good.
- Get connected. Volunteering is one of the best ways to connect to your community and feel great about yourself. Joining classes that interest you and talking to your classmates is bound to net you new friends if you allow it. And those girlfriends you keep meaning to make time for? Do it.
- Challenge yourself. Get out of your comfort zone, try something new, take a risk.
- Get mindful. Mindfulness is a scientifically-proven way to improve your happiness, concentration, relationships, and, well, life. And there’s an app for that! There’s no excuse, take 5 or 10 minutes a day and make that brain of yours a little better.
- Clean up. Let go of things and people that don’t bring you joy.
- Trust yourself. You are enough. You are worthy. You have nothing to prove. Own your joy and take up space.
Let’s make this the year we believe in ourselves, shall we?