I just recently read Kate’s Hudson’s book Pretty Happy, where she breaks up the secrets to her very own happy into four pillars: Cultivate an Intuitive Relationship with your Body, Eat Well, Awaken Your Body, and the Miracle of Mindfulness. While I generally am not one to buy self help or inspirational books, something compelled me to pick up and buy this one. It may be that I have a girl crush on Kate Hudson or more importantly her seemingly free spirit attitude. Well it’s probably that. Regardless of the why, what I really liked about this book was that it was genuinely though provoking. She talks a lot about going to the drawing board and really hashing out what’s important to you, what frightens you, what do you want out of your life and how do you intend to get it. I found it cathartic in many ways to put those thoughts to paper. So I thought I’d share some of my drawing board thoughts.
Pillar One: Getting in Sync with your Body (Which clearly could have been a hit single for N-Sync at the turn of the Millennium)
This pillar immediately reminded me of my favorite quote from Sex and the City, “The most exciting, challenging and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself. And if you can find someone to love the you that you love, well, that’s just fabulous.” I think Carrie (the Sex and the City writers) nailed it with this one. It couldn’t be more true. The relationship that you really need to cultivate is the one with yourself. I’ve struggled with this in my life, I imagine most women would say the same. We are inundated with media related ideas of what we should be and what we should look like, and let’s face it there are very few ‘real’ people who meet those expectations. But unfortunately, it leads us, as a culture of women, to think less of ourselves. I have to say that cancer changed my opinion of myself and my low self esteem seemed to dissipate with every treatment. I think it’s because I became more cognizant of what really mattered and how I needed to find a way to be at peace with a body that fully intended to wage war against me. So now I pay attention to what my body is telling me. If I need to slow down, I do that. When I’m anxious about something, I consider the cause and not let it manifest into anything that I can’t control. I may not love everything about my body, but I do know that I’m ‘pretty’ happy in it.
Pillar Two: Eat Well
There’s no other way to look at it other than “you are what you eat”. Yikes, right? I can honestly say I spent too many years not eating the right thing. I was a product of the generation that ran from dance to softball and had twelve minutes to wold down a happy meal in the car in between, because there was no way my mom could cook a full meal and shuttle me around from place to place. Home cooked meals were for the days when there was only one practice on the agenda. And well as a teenager, fast food was convenient. As a twenty something, I may have overindulged in $5.00 Delano’s pizza in the dorm, wings from the Hangar, wine, and Ben and Jerry’s. It wasn’t until my late twenties that I recognized the connection between food and my body and even my mood. So I went organic and attempted to pay attention when it was convenient. The issue there was convenience, I fell off the wagon more times than you could count and scarfed down processed food at the coffee table in front of the tv. It’s only been the last year that I’ve really upended my previous habits and tried to make a lifestyle change.
Pillar Three: Move More
It’s pretty simple logic that the more active you are the better you feel and the more apt you are to lose weight or tone your body. Logical sure, easy nope. You have to commit to living an active life style. It was easy when we were young. I know I was always outside playing tag, running from practice to practice, dancing anywhere and everywhere and then I went to college and apparently became a futon potato. Towards the end of college a close friend and I started kickboxing and walk several miles a day and I felt great. Then, I graduated moved home worked full time and went for my master’s and reverted to fast food in my car and walking only occurred from one parking lot to the next. So needless to say, I packed on the pounds. In the twelve years since college, I have lost and gained, attempted more fad diets than I can name, and tried every trendy activity there was. Some I actually enjoyed, like running (until I nearly broke my ankle), Zumba, and definitely the Wii. Steph and I would battle at badminton and other two player games. I also discovered I liked boxing but I never really stuck with it, much like anything else. And then I met Hodge and was out of commission until about a month ago. So now all I can say is I’m trying. I get up, I stretch (a note I took from Jax – my Golden), walk and bike. And everyday I feel a little stronger. I know it’s going to take time to rebuild what I’ve lost in terms of muscle and lose what I’ve gained thanks to steroids, but I’ll get there. And I really want to try kayaking, but Josh keeps reminding me that I need to have enough upper body strength to actually paddle. Since he knows me well enough to know that I’ll get tired and he’ll be paddling us back on his own. So I’ll work towards that.
Pilar Four: Mindfulness and Relaxation
I have no clue how to go about this. I a the least relaxed person I know. This Spring I went for a Spa treatment with Josh’s mom, his sister, and his sister in law and practically panicked when the woman told me to just sit and relax for 10 minutes. My to do list practically started shouting at me. So I’m really going to focus on this pillar moving forward and I’ll keep you posted on how that goes.
But all in all, I have to say that I’m more than just pretty happy with where I am in my life at the moment. I have work to do, but who doesn’t. I have an incredible man that loves me and I think he came along when he did because I finally started loving myself. I have the support of the best family and friends a girl could ask for. And I have the somewhat unconditional love of Jax, as long as I provide him with tennis balls. I call those reason enough to be pretty happy.