Your body is precious. It is our vehicle for awakening. Treat it with care. ~Buddha
Have you ever noticed the extents to which we tend to push our bodies, assuming they will keep up with us…until they break?
It’s important to take time to regularly check in with your body and consider it’s needs. There is so much our bodies do naturally and so much we take for granted that it’s easy to neglect the impact we may be having on them by pushing ourselves harder than we should, by not getting enough rest, by not eating the right foods or staying sufficiently hydrated. Even our emotional and spiritual development can take a toll on our bodies, draining it of energy, leaving us overly exhausted if we’re not careful.
Isn’t it interesting that what the mind ignores, the body soon finds a way to force upon us? Have you ever stopped yourself from speaking your truth, only to later find yourself with a sore throat? Have you ever allowed your ego to get the best of you, and before you know it you’ve injured yourself? Have you ever felt how something that upsets you, upsets your stomach as well? When we ignore the changes necessary for our personal growth, many times the body finds ways to force us to listen through injury or illness.
So instead of waiting for your body to start falling apart in an effort to make you realise its needs, why don’t you ask yourself on a daily basis: what does my body need today? Is it sleep? Vitamins? Exercise? Rest? Meditation? Make a mental check of how your body is doing and what you can do for it to run at it’s optimal level. Here are some suggestions for you to keep in mind:
- Eat right for YOU. The is no one size fits all when it comes to the best eating habits. What works for some, may not work for others. Get curious and experimental and discover what foods your body responds best to. Look for foods that are high in valuable nutrients that will help to los after your body for longer.
- Stay hydrated. I’ve already written about the benefits of drinking enough water each day here, but water can play a major role in how you feel. It can help wake you up, improve digestion, prevent injuries,
- Listen to the pain. I’ve struggled with lower back problems for some time now and a spiritual guru once told me that it was related to not letting go of the past and the role I was playing then (I had not long since left 11 years in the corporate world and was struggling with my identity). When your body is in discomfort, it is often trying to tell you something. Listen to what it has to say. Really dig deep to connect the dots.
- Get sufficient rest. I’ve also written about how to improve sleep here, but making sure you get enough sleep is imperative for your overall wellbeing. It is also important to recognise when you need to slow down. We push ourselves harder than we should, thinking that more = more until there is nothing left of us to give. Quality rest and sleep will help you be even more productive, alert, and able than you’d ever be burning the candle at both ends.
- Spoil yourself. Get a massage, take a long bath, get your nails done, put on a face mask. Find the time every week to look after yourself – to treat yourself and your body. Make it a reward for all your body does for you each and every day without you even noticing.
- Stop the calorie-counting diets. Yo-yo diets simply do not work. They deprive you often of important vitamins and minerals, and though you may lose weight in the short term – that weight always piles back on once the diet is finished or you let loose again, sometimes even causing you to gain weight instead! They also throw off the microbial cells in your gut (which influence your metabolism) and can result in gastrointestinal issues and imbalances.
- Exercise regularly. Find something active that you enjoy doing and do it on a regular basis. When given the choice, walk. As often as you can, take the stairs. Exercising often will help to improve your health and reduce the risk of developing diseases.
Your quality of life is directly impacted by your physical health. You can’t pour from an empty cup. When your body doesn’t work, you don’t either, so why not look after the whole “you” and bridge the connection of mind-body-spirit? Remember to be thoughtful and kind to your body as it’s the only one you’ve got!