If you’re feeling lost. Emotional Baggage could be weighing you down.

Emotional Baggage

“I’ve already dealt with my emotional baggage.” That’s a lie we tell ourselves to make things better when we don’t like the truth that faces us in the mirror. Emotional baggage has a negative connotation to it. As such, we try to distance ourselves from the notion that we have it. But, if you are feeling lost, it’s very likely that emotional baggage is weighing you down. And trust me, we all get lost sometime.

It happens slowly. So slowly in fact that sometimes you don’t even see it. Maybe the way you are eating is starting to slip back into unhealthy choices. Perhaps, something caused you to stop working out as much and it’s been hard to get back to it. Or, life shit on you and you’ve been depressed and started isolating yourself.

The weight of our emotional baggage can alter our self perception.

You don’t feel like you anymore. You look in the mirror and you’re not quite sure who that is looking back at you. But you fix your hair just like you always do. Put on your make-up and throw on something from your closet that still fits. For a moment you ask yourself “Why can’t I pull this back together?” And that, is the only moment of truth that you have with yourself that day.

This is that moment, where you almost admit that things are spiraling out of control. But then you put on your shoes, you go about your day, and you pretend that everything is okay.

“It’s okay not to be okay.” It’s one of societies favorite motto’s these days. True story. It’s okay to not be okay. But, it’s not okay to ignore what you are feeling. It’s not okay to not be happy. It’s most definitely not okay to recognize that something isn’t feeling right and sit in the river of denial, letting it pool around you until you feel like you are drowning when all you must do is stand up.

Unattended emotional baggage can lead to a lack of resolve and progress.

It may seem like it’s okay not to be okay and not do a damn thing about it. But, it’s not. Why? Because the consequences are grave. When your lost, the farther you sink down that rabbit hole the worse it gets.

At some point you’ve got to stand up. When you do, you’ll realize the water isn’t as high as you think it is. But you must stand up.

Does it feel like I am telling your story right now? Join the club. It’s not your story, it’s not my story. It’s our story.

It happens to all of us.

Emotional Baggage - Doing Nothing

This moment where we had life by the balls and then suddenly the tables turned and we’re the one in the vice. It feels like life is squeezing everything out of us.

You’re sick and tired of being sick and tired. You know what you must do, because you’ve done it all before. But getting back to everything that was working seems like such a treacherous and impossible task. Where you were seems so far away from where you are. The journey back appears long, dark and hard. So hard.

You’re not wrong. It is hard. Those of us that live a life in recovery from obesity and food addictions have it rough.

I’m not going to lie to you and tell you it’s easy. But I will tell you that we can do it.

The Emotional Baggage Claim – Personal Inventory.

Emotional Baggage - Wellness Wheel

If you’re sitting there feeling like I am telling your story, the chances are your emotional baggage is out of whack. You’re dealing with too much at once and you feel lost. You want to get back to where you were, but you don’t know how. If that is the case, it’s time to look at what you’re trying to take with you. Taking too many bags on a journey makes the journey impossible. It’s time to start emptying some of those emotional suitcases and limiting the amount of baggage.

I know you think you can’t do that. But guess what, the bags you don’t take with you on this journey, will still be sitting there waiting for you when you get back. The difference is, when you get back, and you start to feel like yourself again. They will be much easier to start dealing with.

True Story. I know, because I’ve been there.

So here is the first step: Label some baggage. You’ll find that your baggage usually falls into eight categories. Emotional, Environmental, Financial, Intellectual, Occupational, Physical, Social and Spiritual. These are the eight categories of your wellness wheel and when these things get out of balance and out of whack, your overall wellness suffers.

Start looking at the things that are troubling you. Make a list. Then, look at what categories they fall in, and identify where your imbalance is.

Think of packing emotional baggage like packing a suitcase for a trip.

There’re several things you need. Underwear, clothes, shoes, toiletries. If you take too much of any one thing with you what happens? You pay for it with space. And, you pay for it in the form of extra baggage fees with the airline. So, on this journey, adhere to the typical one checked bag for free, one carry-on, and a personal item TSA standard.

Look at what is imbalanced and start packing. As an example, right now, I’ve got a lot of issues in the categories of financial, occupational and physical. Losing my management position at work has my brain in a fluster-cluck. My finances are a mess. I’m stressed out all the time. As a result, poor time management has me messing up my decision making when it comes to food and exercise. I just can’t convince myself to take that hour to get my cardio in. It’s an hour I should be spending on improving my financial and occupational issues. Along with that, my food choices are full of emotions instead of logic.

It’s time to pack. So, I’m going to throw my occupational baggage in my checked back. That is the issue causing me the most problems. I’m going to throw my financial problems in my carry on. The issues there are smaller and if I can find some solutions to my occupational problems, some of my financial ones will start to fix themselves. Finally, I’m going to throw my physical problems into my personal item, my purse, because that is the one that is the most personal to me.

This is important! Identify which aspect of your wellness wheel identifies you most.

Everything else being out of whack has caused me to let my dedication to healthy food choices and exercise slip. I can recognize that the reason I don’t quite feel like myself anymore is because the balance of the physical part of my wellness wheel is out of whack.

Since much of my self-identity, self-worth and self-esteem come out of this section of my wellness wheel, this is the section that is the most personal to me. This is the section of my wellness wheel that identifies me the most. When this section gets out of balance the result is always the same. I feel lost.

Now, one might assume you tackle the biggest problem first…

Emotional Baggage & Wellness Wheel Categories

That is how our minds typically work. But me, I suggest you tackle the smaller issue first. You take on the issue that is the most fixable. Identify the barrier that has the most obvious solutions and start finding ways around that obstacle.

It’s very likely that whatever issue you stuffed in that personal bag, is the one that is the smallest, the most important, and the easiest to start finding resolutions too.

My bags are packed, I’m ready to go.

I’m leaving, on a jet plane. Don’t know when I’ll be back again …

Sorry. Mental distraction. You we’re singing it too. I know you were.

In all seriousness though, this is going to be a short trip. We’re going to take a little time to do a little personal inventory and problem solving and return ready to switch things around and stop letting the circumstances of life squeeze the livelihood out of us.

Here’s how we do it. We’ve identified the problems. By identifying the problems, we can also start identifying solutions. Once we start identifying solutions it’s easier to admit to ourselves that we can’t fix everything all at once and start prioritizing.

We’re going to tackle that personal bag, come up with a list of things we can do in the next 7 days that will help us resolve whatever issue we stuffed in that bag. For me this one is easy. For the next 7 days I am going to prioritize my day so that I get my exercise in.

I’m not going to set some unrealistic goal I can’t meet that I will do 60 minutes of cardio 5 days a week and get 2 days of strength and resistance exercise in. Instead, I’m going to set a more realistic goal. One I know without a doubt I can meet.

I’m going to get 30 minutes of cardio in 4 days this week. I’m going to get at least 2 strength and resistance workouts in. I’m also going to post my progress on my Instagram Feed in order to hold myself accountable. That’s it. That’s all I am going to do. Make one choice and create one plan of action that will help me tackle the problem I’m carrying in my personal item.

Now, it’s time to unpack our checked bag and our carry-on.

Emotional Baggage - Rewarding Yourself

Not so fast! Leave those bags unpacked. Because, chances are these issues are harder to tackle. You already know what’s inside them. So, let’s not unpack those bags and dwell on them. Instead, let’s start to make a list of things we can do to fix them.

Look at your carry-on bag and make a list of things you can do in the next 14 days that might help eliminated or ease some of the problems in that bag.

Look at that checked bag and that issue that seems to be the most looming. Now, make a list of things that you can do in the next 30 days that might help resolve some of those problems.

Once you’ve done all of that. Stop and enjoy yourself for a moment. Do something nice for yourself. Take a bubble bath. Read a book. Make yourself a cup of tea.  Go for a walk in a new area of town. Discover the world around you. Do something you’ll appreciate taking the time to do. This was a personal trip. You should be doing something you enjoy and something that will help you start to feel like yourself again.

When you’re done, grab all those bags, even the ones you didn’t open, and head back to daily life with a plan of attack.

I take this little personal mental vacation once a week.

Sometimes I pack the same bags repeatedly. Sometimes I find that the balance and priority shift and that as I resolve some of my problems and find solutions to my obstacles, my bags get packed in a different order. Other times, I find that as I start to find resolutions to my problems, the issues I am packing in my bags change all together.

There have been times that all my relationship issues were packed in my personal item. Times that my checked back was stuffed with emotional problems. When I say stuffed, I mean stuffed. Like I sat on that bag to crunch it all down, fussed with the zipper to get it to close and then cursed at the suitcase when I tried to stand it up and it feel over because the weight inside it wasn’t well distributed. [See my Sex Love and Obesity Blog Series]

I’m talking stuffed like, I stood on the scale and weighed myself. Then, I grabbed the bag and I weighed myself with the bag. If the bag weighed over 50 lb. I unpacked it and started over. Because I’m sure as hell not paying the fee for an overweight suitcase.

On trips like that, I come back, drop my bag at the door and leave it there. I don’t bother unpacking it, because I know that whatever is inside it, is going right back with me next week. I’ve taken that same bag with me on this trip, week after week, for months at a time.

Eventually, the weight of the emotional baggage you carry gets lighter.

The emotional baggage we carry can be heavy. Especially when life is hitting us upside the head, and it feels like the weight of the world is resting on our shoulders. But, eventually, as we work on whatever is stuffed in those bags, open them up, take something out and discard it. We start to find that the issues packed away in there are thinning out. Suddenly the stuff we had packed in our checked bag fits in our carry-on bag instead.

As remarkable as it may sound, there have been times that I don’t pack anything but a personal item. Times when my wellness wheel is so balanced that the only thing I am taking with me is whatever little issue is bugging me packed in my purse.

Emotional Baggage Gets Lighter

On trips like that, I get to spend far more time doing things I enjoy and less time problem solving and planning. Remember, it’s okay not to be okay. But, it’s not okay not to do anything to fix it. How about we take

a little trip together?

“But the dawn is breakin’, It’s early morn. The taxi’s waitin’, He’s blowin’ his horn. Already I’m so lonesome I could die.”

You are not alone. If it feels like I’m telling your story, remember, it’s our story. Mine, yours, and thousands of others just like us who struggle with balancing our wellness wheel and find it effecting our weight loss journey.

We can do this. Pack your bags. Let’s go.

Pandora Williams author of Desperately Seeking Slender is an ISSA Certified Personal Trainer and Cooper Institute Approved Wellness Coach Trained in Weight Management Strategies. Her training and coaching services are offered exclusively through GoGirl Fitness Studio.