Self-love is a topic we hear a lot about lately. Everyone (especially on social media) is talking about the importance of being healthy and what that means and for most this advice includes good nutrition and exercise. And it’s great advice. I don’t know anyone who can’t benefit from good nutrition and moving their body. However, I also believe self-love and caring for your body goes much deeper than this.
I believe myself to be a relatively healthy person. I eat well, relatively. I exercise regularly. But do I always take care of myself well? Not at all. I have a pretty regular yoga practice, both at home and in the studio. This morning, getting out of bed, after not nearly enough sleep, I felt the pain and fatigue impacting my body after several weeks of daily practice. Is daily yoga practice healthy? Absolutely! Am I going to adjust my practice today to take care of what I was feeling this morning? 100%!
The first step of caring for your body is listening to it and heeding the messages it gives you. I am a bit of a perfectionist and like to push myself in my practice so when I feel aches and pains after an intense regular practice, as much as I would like to keep pushing through it, I need to stop and listen to what my body is telling me. And what it’s telling me is that it needs rest. Not necessarily to stop practicing, but maybe a day or two of restorative asana to allow me to just be present with my body let it reap the benefits. The other important thing my body was telling me is that it needs sleep. When you feel like you are in superhero mode, feeling like you can push through on three hours of sleep because you are getting things accomplished, it’s going to catch up to you and your body will be the first to inform you of if. The feeling of fatigue, sluggishness, the feeling that you cannot make it through the day is easily addressed by getting a full eight hours. Now this is easier said than done for many, especially with young children, but if you are able to make yourself a priority it’s important to do so. I know from personal experience the struggle that mothers face between taking care of yourself and taking care of your family but what I’ve learned is, if you are happy, your family will be happier and if I don’t sleep, I’m sure not happy.
This seems pretty straight forward – listening to your body, but sometimes it’s pretty difficult to do. We are so busy with demands of work, family, the stresses of our daily lives that we feel disconnected from our bodies and forget to listen to them, forget to ask them what they need. So what’s the solution? Take some time to become reacquainted with your body. You can do this through yoga, meditation, pranayama, just sitting still for a few minutes and tuning in. Just taking a few minutes to really feel where you have tension and think about what may be causing it. And then consider what you can do for yourself as self-care is paramount for a positive, happy you.