I know you love yourself, but do you really?
So often we put ourselves on the back burner and forget to really take care of ourselves. But did you know that self-care is as important as a healthy and balanced diet for achieving optimal health and weight?
We’ve been conditioned to believe that we gain weight or we get out of shape because of what we eat and lack of exercise.
But our emotions, our interior struggles, lack of personal satisfaction and any type of hardship can also affect our weight and of course our general health and vitality.
When dealing with emotional stress some people tend to eat more in order to soothe their pain, which is what we call emotional eating. And from here, a vicious circle starts: we get depressed, we eat and drink to feel better, we gain weight, we get even more depressed, we get sick, we lose self-esteem… And the list goes on.
Have you noticed that when you feel happy, stress-free and playful your cravings are under control and you might not even feel hunger?
It doesn’t really matter that much what you eat. Even if you eat less of a perfectly healthy meal and might even splurge a little bit on not so healthy occasional snacks, when you feel happy, connected and fulfilled the impact of the “not so perfect diet” is not as meaningful.
Because your body is fueled on a different, much deeper level. Your need for food becomes secondary because your primary need for inner joy and love is satisfied. That’s not to say that just because you feel happy you should splurge on eating junk. Your feelings of happiness and well-being will soon wear off, as you eat more and more junk.
You know the saying “garbage in, garbage out”. Therefore, eating clean, nutritious and whole foods is still the foundation for feeling and looking your best.
But it’s equally important how you nurture your whole self. How you make room for inner joy, self-care and anything else that makes you feel happy and complete.
This is one of the reasons why conscious self-care, loving ourselves, taking time to really tend to our own needs is a very important practice for overall well-being, improved energy and even weight loss.
The secret sits in achieving balance. Balance between eating healthy and nurturing your body, mind, and spirit.
Which is why I personally promote healthy eating and balanced living! It’s not one or the other. It’s both. And while we all know what healthy eating looks like, balanced living could be different for each of us.
The common ground, however, to balanced living for everyone is the practice of self-care. It is ultimately what we all crave and need in order to compensate for what we are lacking. It is a way of nurturing your whole self.
That’s why Nurturing Your Whole Self is one of the 6 steps for overcoming exhaustion and achieving vibrant health covered in my book Your Healthy Zesty Life.
I know from personal experience that for most of us self-care could be perceived as selfish, but trust me, it’s not! It’s the best thing you could do for yourself and for your loved ones.
I still remember when my doctor used to ask me years ago, “What do you do for yourself? How do you spend ‘me time’?”
That question always left me speechless. Only when I was asked that question did I realize there was no such thing as “me time” left for me. “Who has time for such things?” I’d think to myself.
Well, it took me years to understand the importance of this question and what was behind it and the consequence was a costly one. This was one of the drops that kept adding to the bucket of my own misery.
It wasn’t until I developed colon cancer and later on focused on holistic healing that I changed my way of living and caring for myself at a deeper level. I realized there was more to self-care than just taking a shower, applying make-up and dressing up.
There is so much more we can do for ourselves at a deeper level and it is my goal to inspire you to make those changes in your own life and start taking yourself seriously. Your happiness and that of those around you depend on that!
For starters, here are some self-care practices you can experiment with and gradually add to your daily routine:
1. Schedule 30 minutes alone time with yourself
We all need some alone time to decompress and connect with our inner thoughts and feelings. You can spend that time journaling, reading a book, reflecting over your day, taking an Epson-salt bath or just day dreaming.
Try to make this a daily practice or start with every other day.
2. Keep a gratitude journal
Gratitude helps you focus on positive events, on what’s good in your life and it raises your spirits and vibrations instantly.
Start by writing down at least 5 things you are grateful for each evening before you go to sleep. It could be any little thing such as being grateful for finding a parking spot closer to the building entrance (although I’d recommend parking farther away, as walking is good for you J). You will see that over time your daily list will grow bigger and you will find more and more things to be thankful for while feeling lighter and happier.
3. Daily Body Scrub
As basic as this may sound, the process of scrubbing your body has a powerful physical, mental and emotional effect when done with intent and creates a deeper connection with yourself.
Plus, it improves your body circulation and promotes toxins elimination through open pores and smoother skin. Isn’t this enough to convince you to start adding to your daily practice right away? J
Body scrubbing could be done in the shower, or isolated from the shower, with a special scrubbing loofah, scrubbing gloves or just a hot towel.
4. Get a massage
Human beings thrive on touch. We can’t properly develop physically and emotionally without being held, caressed, kissed and touched. Think of a newborn baby. They cry for their mother’s touch as soon as they come out of the womb. They need that so they feel safe.
As adults we are the same way, although we react differently to the lack of touch. We become insecure, resentful, depressed, isolated and may even develop serious health problems as a result.
We crave being touched, but most of us don’t know how to express that. Instead, we isolate ourselves, we immerse ourselves in our work, and we become unhappy and seek relief in food, alcohol or even worse, in drugs.
In order to satisfy this need of being touched, we should plan activities that involve touching: massage, foot reflexology and even hugs from a loved one.
I can’t say enough about the benefits of meditation. It is a practice that, if done frequently and consistently, has miraculous healing powers: relief from stress and anxiety, decreased blood pressure, increased concentration and restful sleep just to name a few.
So, you see, self-care can come in the form of listening to our body and allowing ourselves time to rest, getting a massage, reading a book, walking, spending more time with the loved ones or even alone, watching a movie, meditating, meeting up with a friend, saying no to things that don’t make us happy, or taking a long relaxing bath.
These are just some examples of little things we should all do in order to take good care of ourselves inside and out and live a more fulfilled life. It is about putting ourselves first, as selfish as that sounds.
At the end of the day, if we don’t feel happy and vibrant, our families won’t either and they will suffer the consequences.
If you want to get even deeper into what it takes to feel healthy and zesty (meaning full of energy) you can check out my book Your Healthy Zesty Life available on Amazon.
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