I’ve never been very good at taking care of my body. It probably stems from a lifetime of low self-esteem and poor body image. But in my quest to find true happiness, I realized that it’s so much more than a feeling (cue Boston). Happiness is a balance of all parts – mind and body.
Talking about taking care of our physical bodies isn’t always an easy or popular topic, but it’s necessary if we ever want to experience true happiness and genuine contentment. When our mental health and our physical health are both in alignment, we can live more abundant, full lives.
I am certainly not a doctor and this is most definitely not a medical journal, but these are things that I have tried to incorporate into my daily life that have improved my physical health and changed the way I view my body. Everyone is different, so take what works for you and toss the rest. Explore ways to help you feel better!
Move Your Body!
We all know that exercise is necessary for physical health. The key is finding something you enjoy, something to get your heart rate up and make you sweat a little. Walking, running, cycling are all good options. Yoga has been a total game changer for me. Whatever it is, get out there and do it. Move that body!
Get Enough Sleep
It’s important to let your body rest. Allow yourself adequate time to get quality sleep so that your body can slow down and recover. If you find it hard to get to sleep at night, try creating an evening routine so your mind will begin to shift into sleep mode; stretch or do yoga, turn the electronics off, read a book, etc. Try doing these things and getting to bed at the same time each night.
Fresh air can do wonders for your mind and your body. Getting fresh oxygen into your lungs can be a real game changer. It also doesn’t hurt to soak up some extra vitamin D. Try to get outside a little bit each day, even if it’s for a quick stroll around the block. You’d be amazed at how much energy it generates.
I used to hate water. I had to force myself to down a glass or fill it with flavored powders. But the more I tend to my physical body and explore ways of getting healthier, the more I find myself craving water. Most people don’t understand how great our bodies are designed to feel and function. Water is a huge part of that. Try to carry a water bottle with you at all times to remind yourself to stay hydrated. Water is also another great energy booster!
Listen To Your Body
There are a million health articles on the internet telling you what to eat and what exercise regimen to follow. I can’t tell you how many workout programs and diets I’ve tried in my life. Some were effective, some weren’t, and the one thing I learned from them all is how different everyone is. What works for me might not work for you, and vice versa. The key is to listen to your body. If something isn’t working for you, keep trying other things until you find something that does work for your body and makes you feel good. One size does not fit all in the health department.
Look In The Mirror
Stand in front of the mirror and listen to what your thoughts sound like. Are they negative? Critical? Is it hard to stand in front of the mirror at all? Taking care of our bodies has to come from a place of self-love or it will never last. We need to shift our mindset to one of appreciation for our bodies and not punishment for what it does or doesn’t look like. There has been a disconnect for me personally between my mind and my body when it comes to physical health. Balancing those out has completely shifted the way I view myself and my health. If you want it to last, the connection has to be made. It’s a hard one, for sure. But it makes all the difference.
Think Before You Eat (or Drink)
Paleo. Vegan. Vegetarian. South Beach Diet. Mediterranean Diet. I could go on and on and on. I have read so much about so many different ways to eat and not eat, that it makes my head spin. I again came to the conclusion that everyone is different and that what works for you might not work for me – and more importantly, that it’s okay! The one thing I started doing to help me find what works for me, is to think before I eat (or drink) anything. I ask myself this one simple question; is this going to nourish my body and help me feel good? That’s not to say I pass on birthday cake or never have brownies and ice cream (hey, balance in all things, right?) but as a general rule, I try to at least ask myself that question first.
Physical health and happiness is a continuous journey for me. These are a few things I’ve picked up along the way and I’m sure there will be many more as I continue on. But everything comes back to a place of self-love; are you taking care of yourself because you love yourself? How can you begin the process of shifting your perspective? What’s one thing you can do today to take care of your body with a self-love approach? Be kind to yourself, my friends.