Inspired Q&A | Christine Kole on Self-Love
We chatted with Christine Kolenbrander about all the ways she shows herself love and for all the right reasons.
What are the ways you show yourself love?
Growing up, I wasn’t very good at loving myself. I thought if you didn’t like something about myself, I needed to hate it until it changed, but it never really worked. I learned that love is the only way to create lasting, sustainable change.
I learned to nourish my body, physically, mentally, and spiritually. That I have to give myself food that fuels me, move my body, and love myself to feel good and become my best self.
In high school, I remember not liking the way my skin looked or my body, and really it was a result of underlying health issues. I tried to cover it up or find the perfect clothes, but I had to get to the root of my issues and give my body what it needs.
When the focus shifts, everything changes. This is everything I love about CrossFit. It’s so much more about what you can do and not so focused on appearance-based goals.
JUNK’s campaign says love yourself for all the right reasons, have you experienced any negative connotations with the rise of mental health awareness?
We might worry about being self-absorbed or conceited, but change and healing come from a place of love. If you can admit you struggle, there's no shame in starting therapy or talking to a friend.
I think about how much more they could have educated my generation in school. I think the rise of mental health awareness is a great thing.
Do you think intention setting is important?
If we don’t set intentions, we are floating along without direction and purpose. When we set intentions, it gives meaning to what we do every day. It's the first step to a fulfilling life. I grew up as a high-level gymnast, and I understood that goals were really important, especially declaring them to the people that you love. That's something I learned along the way.
Do you ever get into funks, and what are your most proven ways to get out of them?
Getting quiet and journaling always helps me or talking it out with the people that know and love me. This isn’t something I’ve always done. Friends always said I should journal, and I remember when I started, I would go to a coffee shop and just be by myself and journal and reflect. It turned into a habit. It's all about figuring out who you are in the world. Everyone is different. My husband goes out to be in nature to process things and come back. I suggest trying different things. There is no one size fits all.
So many people walk around not knowing they can talk to a therapist or someone they trust that truly loves them. Whatever helps you process. Some people feel down, and they don’t even know why. Set intentions, so those hit-the-wall moments don’t happen as often.
What is your go-to meal to help reset your body, mind and/or soul?
There isn’t one specific go-to meal for me. I like to release through creativity. If I’m in a funk or want to cook, I’ll look up a new recipe or something nostalgic and recreate it. Sharing it with a friend is an added bonus.
Do you adjust your regime based on what you are feeling? What is the importance for you listening to your body?
It depends on what's going on. Sometimes pushing through slumps for training or because of a lack of motivation is necessary. When I feel a certain way for long enough, I will take an extra rest day or sleep in a little bit more. If a feeling persists, then I know I need to change something. Our bodies are smart, and they are always trying to let us know. It’s important to listen.
What are you doing today to better yourself tomorrow?
Today I spent quiet time this morning journaling and writing. I had a chiro and a soft tissue appointment to give myself a rest day to reset for the rest of the week.
I went through my closet to declutter and go through the things I don't use, and it feels like a new slate early in the year and going into tomorrow. It's a good restart and revamp.
Anything you want to add? Advice or something you wish someone would have told you sooner?
Don’t feel ashamed. If you are feeling down or you need to talk to someone, we can be our own worst enemies sometimes. We can feel silly to share, but we feel better as soon as we do. I believe the enemy lies to us, and once we share, healing can begin.
There are always practical ways to figure out your purpose or get quiet with God and handle a stressful situation. From personal experience, journaling has been a huge way for me to process things. The takeaway I want to leave you with is to explore what works for you and keep trying to look for creative outlets and things that will help you.