“Your body is precious. It is your vehicle for awakening. Treat it with care.” ~Buddha
It’s interesting how easily we forget to appreciate the simple day-to-day luxuries that we are granted with our body.
We assume that as we exhale, there will always be an inhalation to follow.
We assume that when we lay our head down on our pillow at night, our heart will beat, our blood will flow, and we will open our eyes in the morning.
We go on day after day, running around with a mile-long to-do list without taking a moment to check in with our body to acknowledge how it's feeling today.
Oftentimes, our health and well-being end up last on that list of priorities.
We pretend we are superhuman, existing on caffeine from Starbucks in place of adequate sleep and snacks from the vending machine in place of meals.
Maybe (hopefully) you haven’t gotten to this extreme yet, but a lot of us are. And I bet you can relate to this lack of self-care and preservation at least on some level.
Sorry to burst all of our bubbles, but this style of living is not sustainable (nor is it healthy, but you already knew that). We can’t go on like this, ignoring our health and well-being forever, as hard as we may try.
When we go-go-go without giving our body the nourishment and care that it needs to thrive, our body begins to give us the sign that it needs attention.
Hey, take care of me.
Hey, I need rest.
Hey, let’s slow down.
Ahem, I’m serious. I’m really exhausted, foggy, and need some downtime.
It’s starts out as fatigue, but then we don’t listen. So it gets a little louder, and then louder, until eventually we have no other option but to slow down and rest. Think sickness, or worse, dis-ease.
I’ve been on this kick lately, talking and thinking a lot about how we measure ourselves up against these standards that are set so high, not even a super hero could measure up.
We strive for perfection in the eyes of our peers at the expense of our health and true happiness.
For what? What are we trying to prove? We believe that once we hit that pinnacle of success then we can relax, be happy, be good enough, and will have made it.
But the reality is that the only finish line is death, and those things that we think are going to finally prove that we are important aren’t. It’s human nature to want more. And chasing validation to prove our worthiness is the biggest “silent killer” of all.
There is nothing we need to prove to anyone. We are worthy now. Who we are and where we are right now is enough.
This moment, right here, is where our pot of gold is. We just have to give ourselves permission to see it as so.
And without our health, how could we ever experience these beautiful things that make life so meaningful?
It’s often last on our list of priorities, and yet, when you stop and think about it, our health is the most important of all.
Our body is our vehicle. It is what allows us to experience life. It’s our five senses, our ability to laugh and feel joy, to embrace our loved ones, to share an intimate connection, to sing, to dance, and play.
There would be no such thing as life without this body. Yet, often we treat it so poorly.
For years I would treat my body worse than any enemy. I would talk to it with disrespect and hatred. I would say things about my body that I would never in a million years say about a loved one.
I would deprive it of food, and then binge out of comfort, sometimes on food, other times on alcohol.
I would go periods without much sleep and not much movement and exercise, and then during other periods of my life I would exercise for hours in hopes of changing the way my body looked because in my eyes, it wasn’t good enough.
It’s hard for me to think back to the abuse I put my body through. This body that has always been there for me, supporting me through it all.
This body that today is so vibrant, so alive, so beautiful—to think of how hard I was on it. It just goes to show you how amazing this miracle of a machine the human body truly is. It can recover and rebuild from so much.
If you can relate and you aren’t sure how to start treating your body the way it deserves to be treated, I am here to help (and as you can see, I speak from experience).
Here are three steps to upping your self-care game so you can treat your precious body like the gift that it is.
1. Nourish it.
I love the word nourishment as it applies to all things related to well-being, healing, and self-care. Nourish your body in every way you can—with nutrient-rich, tasty food, movement, and even mentally, with supportive, loving thoughts.
Take an inventory of all of these areas (food, movement, thoughts/self-talk). In what ways can you step up your game and choose options that are more nourishing to your body and spirit?
Make those adjustments and pay attention to the difference in how you feel. Continue to refine and adjust until your life as a whole is filled with experiences and things that fill you up and energize you rather than exhaust you.
2. Calendar it.
The key to making time for self-care is treating it like any other VIP appointment. Things like workouts, cooking yourself a nourishing, tasty meal, exercise, massage, time with friends, romantic evenings with your partner, and fun with the kids are all important “fill-you-up” type activities.
Prioritize your priorities by carving out the time in your schedule for the things that matter to you most.
Pull out your calendar and take a look at where you spend the majority of your time. Now think about this for a moment: What are your top three priorities?
Evaluate whether or not the things you spend the majority of your time doing match up with what’s most important to you.
Make adjustments as necessary to block out time for self-care and the other things that are most important to you in life.
You may need to bow out of some commitments or hand off some responsibilities that are not important for you yourself to be taking care of, in order to create this space in your schedule for the things that do matter most.
3. Start single-tasking.
We multitask a lot, which you probably don’t know is tough on the body. For example, it’s hard for your body to prepare for and focus on the process of eating and digestion when you are trying to do it while driving, reading, or doing any of the other things we try to do while eating.
Create an environment of ease and relaxation for your body as often as possible, especially while eating.
I know in this day and age that might seem impossible, but it’s not. The key is in stripping away some of those responsibilities and “trying to measure up” type things we do in order to create more time for being present.
Multitask less, be present in the moment more. Life is so much more enjoyable when you are engaged and present versus on your phone texting, Facebooking, or talking to somebody that is not even present with you, all of the time.
So often I look around while I’m at a restaurant and I see tables upon tables of people sitting there across from each other, but rather than connecting, talking, and being present with each other, they are both looking down typing on their phones.
It’s so confusing to me. Why do we even get together in person if the person we’re with isn’t actually who we want to be connecting with?
Put down your phone, look somebody in the eye, and have a moment together. Trust me, it’s way more rewarding than whatever communicating you are doing on your phone. Text later, engage in this moment more.
The more you practice taking really good care of your body, the more it will reward you with good health, tons of clarity, energy, and the ability to experience all the good that life has to offer for years to come!
Treat your precious body with love and kindness. This is your body—yours—and it’s the only one you’ve got.
Buddha statue image via Shutterstock