“I know I should take care of myself but I am just so busy!”
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How many times have you said this or something like this to yourself? I am guilty of it too even though self care and resilience are what I teach. We all get busy and life can get away from us.
As an integrative nutrition and yoga teacher and resilience coach, my world is entirely centered around supporting people to feel their best from the inside out. A great deal of what I do as a yoga teacher and resilience coach is an exploration of the inner landscape of the human experience be it mental, emotional, or spiritual. I emphasize self-awareness and digging deep into ourselves to grow and evolve.
The thing I have come to know however is that without a sound physical body, the inner work is nearly impossible to do. The mind body connection is profound and if the body isn’t being nourished with good food, nurtured with exercise, and rested properly, no matter how much we may want it, the mind, our emotions and our spirit simply cannot evolve beyond a certain point.
What you feed your body becomes your thoughts and feelings. Science has proven that the enteric nervous system or “second brain” running from your mouth through your entire digestive tract is just as powerful as your central nervous system and the connection between your gut and your mood is indisputable. We have known for decades now that exercise is a key component in sustaining proper brain function, and without enough sleep everything starts to malfunction and break down.
So, why is it that as a society we often neglect our self-care? It takes a back seat to all the things we feel we “have” to do. Our jobs, taking care of our loved ones, and even daily errands take precedence. Only when we actually see a breakdown in the body in the form of illness or injury are we willing to slow down and pay attention to what it is literally screaming for.
Self-care is multifaceted. When it comes to functioning optimally, we have to start with how we fuel ourselves and simultaneously find a movement routine we LOVE and will stick to because it doesn’t feel like a chore. Additionally, we have to keep in mind that taking time each day to sit in meditation or be in nature is vital. The brain actually uses more energy than any other organ of the body and if we don’t quiet the mind and observe our thoughts, the impact on the body is profound. Science has now proven that 90% of diseases can be linked back to stress and that meditation is one the most effective stress management tools we have.
With all that in mind, what can you do today to prioritize your self-care and start to get radical about it? Here are 5 things you can do right now to create a shift.
- Begin to pay attention to how you feel both physically and emotionally after you eat. Your body intuitively knows what it needs to be fueled and if you can begin to pay attention to the messaging you get after you eat, you won’t have to worry so much about what “diet” or “meal plan” you have to be on.
- Think about how you can begin to move your body that feels joyful to you. Do you love to dance? Do you enjoy playing sports? Does playing with your dog at the park make you happy? Step outside the box and come up with 3 things you can do this week to “exercise” without letting it feel like a chore.
- Set your alarm for just 10 minutes earlier in the morning and sit in stillness before you jump out of bed. Just close your eyes and focus on your breath. Meditation doesn’t have to be complicated. Before you open your eyes, set an intention for your day.
- Go to bed just 30 minutes earlier this week AND before you go to bed, shut down your electronics at least 30 minutes before bedtime. Try reading or better yet, an evening meditation.
- Make a list of all the things you LOVE to do that bring you joy. Do you like to cook, play music, sing, garden, paint, get massages? Make a list of the things you love that you have neglected to do for yourself.
BONUS: Schedule into your calendar just 1 of these things this week.
Just making a few small changes creates a pretty big shift. Whether you do all 5 things or commit to a couple this week and a couple more next week, it’s a win!
Namaste and here’s to living well.