Photo Cred: Mike Cadotte, MidAtlantic Photography, Clothing by lululemon thanks to the wonderful PJ Santos at lululemon Montgomery Mall

My philosophy is this: “Don’t wish for a light load, build a strong back.”

And I love it on so many levels. You don’t control a lot of what life throws at you but you do control whether or not you’re putting yourself into a position to face it at full strength.

Are you getting enough sleep? Are you eating well? Are you engaging in activities that reduce stress? In other words, are you setting yourself up in a way that would allow you to deal with the inevitable challenges with strength and grace?

Sadly, for most of us, the answer is no. Instead, we’re out there running ourselves ragged, on poor (and possibly insufficient) nutritional intake, not enough sleep, overbooked, stretched far too thin, with bodies that are underutilized, neglected, and fading into the shadows of time. It’s no wonder we break down when life throws an unexpected monkey wrench at us.

Instead of doing what we need to do to prepare ourselves for the tough times (building a strong back), we just hope that life will go easy on us (wishing for a light load). And we’re upset when it doesn’t play out like that.

Then, the more stressed we become, the worse it gets. We stop fighting for ourselves and let the bad times wash over us and tear us apart.

We all need to do a better job of caring for ourselves so we feel strong and taken care of when chaos comes a knocking (and trust me, sooner or later it always does). We need to focus on putting ourselves in a position to handle whatever load life asks us to carry. We need to do what we can each and every day to intentionally set ourselves up for success.

Prioritize your self-care. Eat well. Move daily. Sleep more. Breathe deeply. Engage in activities that strengthen and fortify you. Put yourself in the best possible position to face whatever comes next. It’s not selfish; it’s necessary.

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