By Laura Brooks Thomas, Salad Station Blogger Contributor
There has been a trend in the last few years at the start of the new year to choose a word that will be your mental focus for the year. This can be a word that is goal-oriented, or it can just be a word that brings you motivation in challenging times.
My word for this year, 2021, is HEAL.
To me, healing is such a dynamic, multi-level idea that hits on several different aspects of my life. I hope to continue the journey to heal my mind, body, and spirit.
For so many people, 2020 was more than just a challenging year, it was a year that took a toll on many people’s mental health and overall spirit. From social justice movements to the political climate all during a pandemic, many people just were overloaded with information and the heaviness of the news of the day, every day.
I too, felt heavy, and anxious about what each new day would bring. MY struggles with anxiety in 2020 came from worrying about my children, especially my older daughter who was just diagnosed with autism. The weight of everything going on at once including working from home then mentally shifting to going back to work in person, keeping up with the house duties, and navigating this whole new world of motherhood as a special needs parent caused me to put my health on the back burner for so many months.
Diet-wise I was not thinking about what I was putting in my body. I began to eat for comfort, and I found that I was mindlessly eating sugary snacks and drinking tons of caffeine instead of ingesting real, heart-healthy meals. My heart was racing all the time. I felt jittery and nauseous a good bit of the time, and it felt like there was no end in sight. I knew I had to make a lifestyle change. With the support of my husband and my parents, I made small changes to put myself first, so that I could be a better parent for my girls.
In October 2020, I committed to a healthier lifestyle. My 30th birthday was coming up, and I had a strong desire to feel better and truly love the skin I was in. To heal my body, I started eating more vegetables and salads, and I made it a point to go to Salad Station for my lunch breaks, rather than just some random fast food place where I knew I would not make a healthy choice. I found my favorite workout class- Zumba and started attending every week. I invested in an Apple Watch to track my fitness steps and activities, and slowly I started getting in a routine. Many of my physical symptoms I was having subsided after a few weeks of eating better and becoming more active. I also started feeling more confident again. I started feeling better about my role as a mother. Instead of feeling guilty, for going to the gym when I could at home, or whatever the case may be, I started feeling proud of myself with the simple steps I was taking to better care for my mental health.
I am still on this journey to heal my body from the inside out, but I feel more confident than ever going into this new year. I am so thankful to have healthy and affordable food options in my local area with several Salad Station locations in my work and home life communities. I am falling in love with the whole process, and I know that I will be a better mother, daughter, and partner because I am choosing to love myself first.