How well do you look after yourself? Do you eat well every day? Do you exercise regularly? Do you relax? Do you partake in activities you love to do every day? If not, why not?
Why is it sometimes so difficult to commit to a decision we have made to positively change something in our lives in order to look after ourselves better – either physically, mentally or emotionally?
Human beings seem to have an inbuilt self-sabotage button. We do, it is called our ego. Our ego is the part of us that likes routine, regularity, habit and things to stay the same, even if it is not in our best interest.
Sometimes even when we have had a health scare, we are still not prepared to make the changes that have been recommended to preserve our life.
When I am working with clients, I notice that food is one of the hardest things for people to make a healthy commitment to and to stick at. It is an intrinsic part of our daily life – always has been, always will be. Many of us have negative attitudes to food – we use it to de-stress, we use it to ‘treat’ ourselves, to berate ourselves, to comfort ourselves etc. If we have an addiction to cocaine, for example, and we are able to overcome it, then we need never have it in our lives again. With food, we have to think about it at least 3 times a day. We are tempted by foods that probably aren’t so good for us even when we go to our local newsagents for a paper. We have to make our peace with food and find a healthy way to live with it.
What about exercise?. How many of us move our bodies regularly in a way which feels nourishing and enjoyable to us. We need to keep moving to promote good physical health, but we then sometimes feel that we have to do exercise that our friend or partner does, and we forget to tune in to what we would love to do.
Life is to be enjoyed. We have a physical body that can give us so much joy and pleasure, but equally so much pain and torment. By looking after ourselves, to a certain extent, we can determine which on we experience.
Look after yourself. Work out what foods you need to eat. Commit to eating them, not in a guilty way but in a loving yourself way, prioritising your good health and your sense of well-being. Notice your resistance but do it anyway.
Commit to exercise that you want to do, that feels good to do, not that you feel you ‘should’ do.
Do you receive any healing therapies? – massage? acupuncture? homeopathy? Would you find this helpful? Do you take time to relax? Do you go for nature walks?
Look after your mental health – express your emotions regularly and freely – don’t keep them bottled up. Share with your friends and family, or if needed a professional.
Look after yourself in a loving enjoyable way. Make peace with your physical body. Fall in love with it. Enjoy it. Experience pleasure through it.
Try this activity: fall in love with your physical body
Write a list of all the things you love about your physical body. If you don’t have great love for much of the appearance of your body, you could focus more on the functions that your body performs for you that make your life easier and more enjoyable, for example:
- Legs that walk you to work, the shops, in nature or that can pedal a bicycle through beautiful countryside.
- Eyes that enable you to see beautiful views.
- Taste buds that enable you to enjoy good food.
- Fingers that enable you to do so many varied activities throughout the day.
- A digestive system that efficiently converts the food you eat into energy for your body to move and grow.
- A urinary system that releases toxins and impurities from your body.
- A liver that detoxes your whole body at a cellular level.
The body is truly an incredible system, and the more you focus on just how amazing it is, the more you will fall in love with yourself and the less any perceived imperfections will impact on you. Whenever I have studied anatomy and physiology, I have been in awe of the incredible intelligence and intricate relentless workings of the physical body at both a cellular and holistic level.
Use your physical body as a channel to experience greater joy, physical pleasure and happiness. When you focus your energy on all that works well in your physical body, you start to develop more love for it, and you then want to start treating it well: eating healthily, caring for it and exercising.
By loving yourself more and more, you will look after yourself better, talk about your body in a more loving way, become more mindful about what you eat, and learn deeper acceptance of yourself exactly as you are. If you are open to this exploration, your physical body can be a great route to learning how to love yourself better and more fully.