body love Archives - Dr. Mary Pritchard

Listening to Your Body’s Wisdom

By | Body Love, Goddess Wisdom, Wisdom Blog | 2 Comments

As I shared with you last week, I was recently diagnosed with Adrenal Fatigue. This has been a journey my body and I have been taking for several years together. It seems that around this time of year every year (the beginning of the Fall season for those of us in the Northern hemisphere), I end up back in this place. Why? There are a number of reasons why I think I am vulnerable to adrenal fatigue in the Fall. The frenetic energy of going back to school, my birthday (another turning of the Wheel of the Year for me), fire season for those of us in the Pacific Northwest of the United States, seasonal changes that mark a 40-50 degree fluctuation in temperatures each day (freezing temps at night, 70 degrees by 3pm), and the anniversary of my father’s death all can contribute to a sense of disenchantment or dis-ease at this time of year.

Yet, I had an aha moment last week when I realized that while these events/anniversaries may make me more vulnerable to illness, it has been my own choices to ignore my body’s wisdom that has led to this repeated pattern of adrenal fatigue. Just when my body tells me it is time to begin turning inward and preparing for the Fall harvest and the coming Winter, my job responsibilities are ramping up, demanding longer hours, more do-ing and less be-ing. Rather than heeding my body’s wisdom, I keep pushing until I can’t push anymore. Pushing leads to stress leads to burnout leads to adrenal fatigue. As painful as it was to realize that I was 100% responsible for my adrenal fatigue, this level of ownership is also freeing. I can make different choices. I can take more time off for me to rest and recover. I can make the choice to do things differently next year so I don’t wind up back in the land of adrenal fatigue again next Fall.

I’m not saying this will be easy. Awareness of the problem is only the first step of the healing journey, after all. But now I have the opportunity to explore what my body has been trying to tell me all along: you have too much on your plate; it’s time to re-assess your roles, responsibilities and obligations and shovel some of them off. Fall is the perfect season for doing this type of work (although, if you are finding yourself exhausted, depleted, fed up, resentful, etc., anytime is a good time to do this work!). In today’s podcast, I am going to talk about listening to your body’s wisdom. If you’ve been dissociated or ignoring your body’s signs and symptoms for too long, this is your chance to learn how to tune in. I hope it serves you.

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Making Time for Self-Care

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One of the themes that has been coming in up in my tribe lately is the idea of feeling guilty for taking time for you. Many women want to take better care of themselves, and at some level know they need to, but they keep bumping up again two things: 1) lack of time, and 2) feeling guilty for taking time for them/taking time away from other priorities to take care of themselves.

I’ve been there. And, truth be told, sometimes I still struggle with this. But, I’ve learned two things along the way: 1) if I don’t take care of me, I can’t truly show up for others (even if I can, I will at some point end up feeling bitter and resentful and that is called sacrifice/martyrdom, not being of service), and 2) if serving/showing up for others doesn’t make me happy, then all I am really doing is depleting myself – the fast path to burnout and, again, not being able to be of service.

In today’s podcast, I talk about the “markers”/reflection questions I use to decide how to balance self-care with service. I hope it serves you.

 

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What Has Been the Most Important Lesson You’ve Learned on Your Healing Journey?

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I recently had a client ask me about the most important lesson I've learned on my journey to reclaiming body love and healing my eating disorder. This was a tough one that I had to give some thought. 

But what it came down to was this: my journey to developing an eating disorder started when I found out I had endometriosis and couldn't have children. Thus, my eating disorder was a form of self-punishment. I developed an eating disorder, in part, because I blamed myself for my infertility. Because I blamed myself, I didn't see myself as a loveable person so I wasn't taking care of myself or my body. In today's podcast, I walk you through the biggest lesson I've learned and the steps I took to start loving and taking care of me again. I hope it serves you.

 

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Sticky Note Challenge!

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Yellow  leaf of a reminder on a white background

In honor of September, my birthday month, I always like to do something for you to give back. This year, I'm doing 2 things:

  1. I am bringing back the sticky note challenge
  2. I am hosting The Well-Nourished Goddess Online Event

Why? Because the most frequent questions I get asked are: 1) how do you learn to love and accept yourself, and 2) how do you make time for yourself in your busy day so that you don't feel stressed/overwhelmed/exhausted/depleted and can actually show up for your loved ones from a place of love and gratitude rather than bitterness and resentment? The sticky note challenge should help with the former and the telesummit, the latter of those two.

One of the first things I started doing on my journey back to self-love and body love was the sticky note challenge. Will it solve all of your problems? No. But these simple little sticky notes will make a huge difference.

Have you ever heard of Operation Beautiful? The mission of Operation Beautiful is to post anonymous notes in public places for other people to find – notes that would brighten their day. Something like, “You are Beautiful.”

I want to use this idea to create sticky notes for ourselves. Why? Because brain science research indicates that negative messages are perceived as 5 times more powerful than positive ones by our brains. So we need to surround ourselves with positivity to survive day-to-day life!

For the next month, I challenge you to make a different sticky note each day. Ideally you would make several sticky notes that contain that phrase each day and put them places where you (and others) will see them. Places like your wallet, purse, office cubicle, stairwell, bathroom, a random aisle at Walmart, etc. As a psychologist, I know that the more we see certain messages, the more we start to believe them. So these notes will have a dual purpose: they’ll help you feel better about yourself and they will help others feel better about themselves as well.

Here are the rules:

  1. head over to my Facebook page or my Well-Nourished Goddess free Facebook group to find the sticky note of the day or just look on the blog under the Category Goddess Inspirations or the September 2016 archive (feel free to create your own inspirational messages if what I posted doesn't resonate with you)
  2. write out your own sticky note and put it where you can see it during the day 
  3. write out sticky notes for others and let them be surprised when they find them, and
  4. take a picture of your sticky notes and share them on social media with the hashtag #stickynotechallenge

I love sticky note month!

Explore Your Passion and Purpose and Reclaim Body Love

By | Body Love, Goddess Wisdom, Wisdom Blog | No Comments


Reclaiming Body Love can sometimes feel overwhelming. I get that. A listener recently asked me to share my top 3 tips/things I needed to do to reclaim body love. This was challenging, but I managed to narrow it down to three!

  1. I had to stop the comparison game – for me, this meant enacting a media ban and shying away from people and situations that I knew would trigger me for a while. I also had to replace my negative self-talk with positive self-talk.
  2. I had to focus on why I am here – big picture Life Purpose stuff – rather than on the things I didn't like about myself or my body.
  3. I had to learn to love and accept all of me for who I was.

 

In today's podcast, I walk you through all three of these steps. If you want help on #2, I invite you to join my 5-Day Explore Your Passion and Purpose challenge. You can join here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/TheWellNourishedGoddess/ 

Stay tuned for more on #3 next week!

 

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Why Paying It Forward Can Be An Important Tool on Your Healing Journey

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Some days life is going great; and some days you feel like a fraud/feel like you've taken 20 giant steps back/wish you could crawl back in bed. I get it. I've been there.

One of the things I used to do (and still do today because I love doing it) when I was having one of those days/weeks/months was to pay it forward. Each day I would do one thing nice for another woman to help increase her Body Love. Some days I would give a compliment to every woman I saw. Some days I would leave sticky notes with Body Love messages on them in random places in my workplace. Some days I would just give a big smile to everyone. What I noticed was this: not only did I brighten other people’s days, but I felt really good about me. What a great way to reinforce your Body Love! It’s time to pay it forward!

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Dealing with the Negative Emotions Healing Can Bring Up

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Healing is a journey; a process. As much as we might wish it was a quick fix; it's not. Sometimes we feel great about where we are on our healing journey, and sometimes it feels like we just took 3 giant steps back to where we came from.

Several months after I started my healing journey with anorexia, I met a man who was recovering from bulimia. We thought we could help each other, support each other. It didn't work out that way, however. He ended up just being a trigger for me. I stopped doing all of the things that had helped me to that point in my recovery and I relapsed. I felt miserable; like a failure, a fraud. I had to end the relationship and get back on the road to healing. It wasn't easy – it certainly didn't feel good – but it was necessary for me to continue on my healing journey. 

In today's podcast, I discuss some of those pivotal healing tools that I used on my journey of healing my relationship with my body – the first time and after I relapsed. I hope they serve you.

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The Power of Body Love

By | Body Love, Goddess Wisdom, Wisdom Blog | No Comments

I've been getting a lot of questions about how to learn to love yourself and your body again. This marks the first in a series of posts on this topic. I hope they serve you.

I battled anorexia nervosa for 24 years. For most of those 24 years, I was in denial that I even had a problem. After all, at that time I had spend almost 15 years building a successful research practice in my academic career studying factors that influenced body image and disordered eating and exercise. I was the researcher, not the victim. At least that's what I told myself.

Then one day a good friend of mine confronted me about it. After a week of fighting back and forth with him, I finally realized he was right. It took a lot of courage for me to “come out of the closet,” so to speak, about my eating disorder. To admit that I studied body image and eating disorders because, at a subconscious level, I was trying to understand myself.

My research focus shifted as I began my healing journey. Instead of simply focusing on factors that made women and men at risk for developing an eating disorder, I turned my focus to prevention. I wanted to know what helped prevent disordered eating and what helped those who were currently suffering actually heal. So as I studied these factors in my research lab, I became my own guinea. As I would read about and conduct research studies on things that helped, I would try them on myself to see if it worked for me. 

Early on in my studies I discovered something called self-love and I wondered how that could apply to my body. Could I use love toward my body to help me heal? And, if so, what would that look like? I came up with an idea. I wanted to write a love letter to my body. Little did I know how powerful and transformational this activity would end up being. It was very hard to do, but it became one of the most important pieces of the puzzle in my healing journey. In today's podcast, I walk you through how to do this and why it works. If you want a copy of my body love letter, you can get yours here. I hope it serves you.

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What Does it Mean to Nourish Your Temple?

By | Body Love, Goddess Wisdom, Wisdom Blog | No Comments

Love and pregnancy concept.“Your cortisol is low again,” my doctor said. Given my penchant for working too hard and not taking enough time off, low cortisol levels mean one thing: adrenal fatigue. After beating myself up for a couple of minutes for letting myself get to this point again and not learning my lesson the last two times I had adrenal fatigue, I realized it was up to me. I am only borderline adrenal fatigue; that means I can turn it around. I can save this. I don't have to go down this road again. If you've ever had adrenal fatigue, you know that it takes months to heal. I don't want to go through that again.

As I shared with you a couple of weeks ago, I know what to do: I practice self-care, although apparently not enough lately. But the place I struggle with most – and this is a real moment of vulnerability for me to admit this to you – is practicing what I preach. I've learned to love my body over the years and to truly see it as a sacred Temple. However, I don't always treat it as such. 

I've been planning to do a free seven day challenge for you at the end of this month to help me celebrate my birthday. How ironic is it that, as it turns out, I'm the one who needs the challenge? I'm the one who needs to practice what she preaches: self-care and nourishing your sacred body temple.

So I invite you to join me. 7 days of learning how to love your body and nourish your sacred body temple. It's not a forever fix, I realize that. But in this 7 days, you and I will both learn – or in my case relearn – the skills you need to truly take care of you and treat yourself like the Goddess you are.

So what are we going to be doing for our 7 days together? Each day you'll get an audio and a workbook. You'll have a private Facebook group where you can share your trials and tribulations with others who are going through this challenge with you. You'll have my support as a coach and as someone who is participating right along with you. 

I realize you're busy. We all are. I promise it won't take you long. 10 to 15 minutes per day, tops. But what you come out with on the other side is a set of skills you can use time and time again to help reclaim body love and nourish your sacred body temple. You'll learn how to put you at the top of your priority list. You'll learn how to treat your body like the sacred Temple She is. And you're going to feel better, a lot better, than you do right now. Isn't it time you finally took care of you? Finally put you at the top of your priority list? Now is the time.

I hope you'll join me. We start Monday September 26th. You'll get the workbook and link to the Facebook group where you'll find each day's video delivered to you every morning for our 7 days together. Click here to sign up and change your life for the better.

 

 

What Does It Mean to Walk in Beauty?

By | Body Love, Goddess Wisdom, Walk the Path, Wisdom Blog | 4 Comments

in a field aloneLast week I invited you to take part in a retreat with me: The Goddess Talk sessions, hosted by my friend Shann Vander Leek. Shann’s goal for the summit to help women claim their feminine sovereignty and walk in beauty. As soon as I sent out the email invitation last week, I received the question: What does it mean to Walk in Beauty?

As I reflected on this question, I remembered a saying I once heard about beauty being before me, behind me, below me, and above me. When I looked it up, I realized it was a Navajo prayer. It comes from a purification ceremony for soldiers when they come home to help them restore balance and return to “normal” life.

The latter part of the prayer reads:

With beauty before me, I walk.
With beauty behind me, I walk.
With beauty below me, I walk.
With beauty above me, I walk.
With beauty all around me, I walk.
It is finished in beauty,
It is finished in beauty,
It is finished in beauty,
It is finished in beauty.

But what does it mean to walk in beauty? To me, it means to notice the beauty in everyday life: in your children's laughter, the flowers and butterflies in your garden, the resiliency of the blade of grass, the wind blowing through the trees. More importantly, it means seeing the beauty in yourself. That's really the point of this month's sticky note challenge: It's so you can see the beauty in yourself, the perfection in you.

As we get caught up in our day-to-day lives, it's so easy to forget the beauty before us. The beauty within us. 

In preparation for the Goddess Talk sessions, I invited Shann to be a guest on my podcast Reclaiming Body Love. We started talking about my own journey from body shame to body love and the role yoga played in it. In some ways, Shann and I have similar journeys in that yoga was a starting point for both of us to get reconnected with our sacred body temples.

I remember my very first yoga class. I was in my mid to late 20s, and my gym had hired a yoga teacher to teach one class a week. The class was packed full of women who hoped it would help them lose weight. As a runner, I was just hoping to stretch out my tight, tired muscles. 

But something happened to me that night that I will never forget. As I stretched, as I worked out the tension in my muscles, I began to cry. This was a point in my life where I was so disconnected from my body and my emotions, that tears were foreign to me. As I wept silently, I thought to myself, what is going on? It had been so long since I had allowed myself to cry that I immediately thought something was terribly wrong with me.

Although it scared me and it would be quite a while until I went back to yoga class, that day began an unfolding for me. Every time I went back to yoga, it hurt. Sometimes the pain was physical; sometimes it was emotional. Yet, something in me knew that yoga was going to be an important and powerful tool in my healing journey. And it has been.

In many ways, I credit my now daily yoga practice with teaching me to walk in beauty. It motivated me to start my daily gratitude practice, taught me to treat myself and others with loving kindness, and reconnected me with my sacred body temple. Through yoga, I was exposed to women of all shapes, sizes, and ages; I learned to appreciate the beauty of the human body in all its forms. Gradually I learned to appreciate the beauty of my own body and began to treat it like it actually was a sacred temple that housed my soul.

To me, that is part of what it means to walk in beauty. Yes, beauty is all around me; but beauty is also within me – it is me. This beautiful existence we share is how we walk in beauty together. Learning to see the beauty in each other – in ourselves – even on the worst days is how we walk in beauty.

How do you walk in beauty?