Thankful for the Body I Woke Up in Today: #GEHFM


I am having a rough spring.  My allergies are awful, really dreadful.  I got sick and couldn't knock it for months.  I injured my hip flexor in December and on some days in Jan, Feb, and March it hurt to even stand still much less exercise.  And did I mention I am 50?  I know 50 is the new 30, but this spring I am feeling like 50 is the new 80.

It was in this frame of mind that I woke up one morning before a staff meeting where our team was deciding on our blog topics for the month of May (which is also Employee Health and Fitness Month).  Whole-hearted Living was our agreed upon theme;  I just needed to announce my focus.  Normally when I am cranky, my go-to strategy is to focus on gratitude.  On this day I realized I needed to take it up a notch... I needed to focus on being grateful for the body I woke up in each morning.

This is not an original idea of mine.  I have to give credit to a dear friend, Cat Ellen, who uses this sentiment to promote positive body regard in our dance community.  (In my free time I teach bellydance and perform nationally and, as of last October, even internationally, with a professional troupe.)

What a novel idea!  I am going to be thankful for the body I wake up in... even when I am injured and it hurts to dance, even when my favorite pants are too snug, even when my head is so full of snot I can barely think, even when I look in the mirror and see bags under my eyes.  What a difference that minor adjustment in attitude can make.  Let me tell you how things changed for me.

I am thankful for the trainer at the gym who helped me get over my fear of lifting weights by teaching me everything I need to know to feel competent.  Because of her, I can work on making my upper body strong while I allow my lower body the time and rest I need for my hip flexor to heal.  I am thankful for the opportunity to practice "getting back to my routine" when I have to get out of it for illness or injury.  I have started back 5 times this spring after having to take short breaks.  I never gave up.  I have had a wonderful opportunity to test my resolve and, despite some temporary set-backs, I am stronger and more fit than I was in January!

I am thankful for the allergy shots that I can get on campus at the HCC--so convenient.  These shots are allowing my body to handle the allergens better than ever before.  I am thankful for the local honey I get that may or may not really help my allergies but what a great excuse to buy and eat local honey.  I am thankful to have health insurance with robust coverage to help me visit specialists when I can't recover from an illness on my own.

I am thankful for my 50-year-old body.  I appreciate the laugh lines from all the good times spent enjoying friends.  I am thankful, every time I dance, for the knees that still keep me moving despite being a little thin on cartilage these days.  I am thankful for the droopy boobs that remind me of when my 17 y.o. daughter was a nursing infant and the wide hips that I balanced her on for years when she was a toddler.

During this Global Employee Heath and Fitness month, I issue you a challenge.  Should you choose to embrace it, I promise it will change your life.  Tomorrow when you wake up (and every other day from now on) take a moment to appreciate the body you woke up in today!  I will leave you with one of my favorite quotes... "In a society that profits from your self doubt, liking yourself is a rebellious act."  (Caroline Caldwell)  Won't you join me in rebelling?



About Author

Lisa Allred

Work Life Program Manager

Lisa Allred comes to SAS with a long history of working with families throughout the lifespan. After receiving her undergraduate degree at Wake Forest Universtity and her Masters in Social Work from UNC-CH, her career began as a child therapist focusing on parenting, anxiety and trauma. She then moved into college counseling where she emphasized student wellness and balance.


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