So why have I been discussing relationships and how they affect you health? Because let’s be honest, you can eat all the kale in the world, but if you’re in a shitty relationship, you aren’t going to feel good. Same goes for shitty jobs, or a bad attitude. As an Integrative Nutrition Coach, I learned that we nourish ourselves with primary foods, and secondary foods. Primary foods feed you, secondary foods feed your body, and what goes on your plate is important, but what goes on in your head and heart is equally important. Dietary theory is just a part of the equation, and what adds up to success is identifying all of the factors that influence your daily life, and making the best decisions based on your individual needs. The food and lifestyle choices that help one person lose weight are not necessarily going to work for everyone. However, the good news is that through years of experience, I’ve found some pretty great ways to improve your life that will work, no matter what shape you’re in. There are also some basic rules to relationship success that we should all follow.
So, if being in a toxic relationship is toxic to your health, then what choices do you have if you feel like your relationship is making you sick. First let’s address what won’t help.
1. Crying. Yes, we all need to let out our emotions, and I’ve always said tear ducts are safety valves for the heart, but there comes a time when you have to stop the cycle and get clear on what you want and change what you’re focusing on.
2. Complaining. We all need need to vent and discuss what is and isn’t working in our relationships, but if you’ve let the other person know how you feel, and nothing has changed, then it’s time to take action yourself. Nagging the other person will not help.
3. Criticize. Don’t continue to place blame over why the relationship didn’t work. Take responsibility and own up to the role you’ve played in continuing the negativity.
4. Cynical. Don’t perpetuate the problem with the whole love sucks mentality, or you’ll continue the cycle with the next relationship.
One thing you can do is be very clear when deciding upon and expressing your boundaries, because a lack of boundaries will inevitably lead to feeling disrespected. I recently read this great advice by Lissa Rankin, “I know the idea of ‘boundaries’ can feel threatening. You may worry that others will feel rejected if you erect them. You may worry that others will reject you if you’re not always violating your own boundaries.
But boundaries get a bad rap.
Just like children respond better when they know what is expected of them, those who love us appreciate knowing how far they can push us. If boundaries aren’t set clearly, others may inadvertently violate your boundaries without meaning to. When you don’t offer feedback about what you want or need, others simply have to guess. Some will guess by getting too close. Others will guess by staying too far away.
It’s such a relief to those who love you when you can express exactly how close you want people to get, not just emotionally, but physically and with regard to how they interact with you.”
The bottom line is that you can’t solve a problem with the same mentality that created it. Sometimes you need to distance yourself from the situation to gain better perspective. I recommend taking 21 days, just to focus on yourself, making yourself a priority, so you can get very clear on your value, your needs, and your wants. Make a decision to love yourself first, then to love others with that same intention. You can’t give out to others, what you are unwilling to give yourself.
I recommend 21 days, because that’s the time studies have shown, that it takes to create a habit, and if you’ve never learned how to practice self love and self care, then it will take time. I’m not encouraging you to be selfish, and put yourself on a pedastel, I am wanting you to understand that your health is a priority, and taking time to set your priorities is one of the most loving things you can do for yourself, and for the people in your life. When you feel good, you can do more good for others. I believe health is not just physical, but a combination of mind, body, and spirit. So if you aren’t feeling well physically, it affects your relationships, and if your relationships are suffering, you aren’t going to feel well physically, so at some point you have to stop the cycle, and begin to repair all three areas.
Change takes intention, patience, and practice. Change is never easy. So before you make a huge transition in your relationships, or any area of your life, set the intention to be patient with yourself, that’s another reason I recommend 21 days of engaging in self loving care. Personal development and growth don’t occur in just 21 days, but is an on going life time commitment, but if you can start with just a few weeks, you’ll gain the momentum to keep it up and make it a daily habit.
If you’re interested in getting started, I’m offering my online course, Project: You, New and Improved, for a limited time, for FREE. 21 days of videos, downloads, and classes that will help you engage in your life, make better choices, and stay on top of your game. Subscribe to our newsletter, and I’ll send you the information on how to get the course FREE!