Our body: The messenger we need to decode
When we look at most people’s New Year’s resolutions, there are a lot of those who are falling into this category-physical health. Have you ever wondered why? Here is my theory. Either we fail year after year to keep our resolutions, going back to old habits or we have an easier time referring to this aspect of the self when it comes to health. It is obvious that our society focuses more and more on physical perfection goals. No need to go far to understand this; we are bombarded by images of “ideal people” showing off their body as if this was the standard everyone should achieve. Even if we are somewhat immune to this and understand that fact in our brain, we are still influenced by these images and comparing comes easily. Of course we also know well, I assume at least you, my readership, where we need to make some changes. The issue is not what to change, it is how to do it in a way that will be sustained. This is why I am in the making of something refreshing and original for you in the Spring so we can all look at this with a 360 degree view rather than an “I have to make a resolution today” one on December 31st.
Back to physical health. Body-mind connection is real and even though more people believe in this, we are still navigating what this all means and how to read in between the lines. I love to do that! In fact I have been doing this for the last 20 years, slowly learning with my personal experiences and also by dealing with all the human beings who have crossed my path. Without becoming a full-blown detective, I want to open a new door for when it comes to caring for your physical self.
Most physical self check lists include something similar to this:
- Eat regularly (e.g. breakfast, lunch, and dinner)
- Eat healthy
- Get regular medical care for prevention
- Get medical care when needed
- Take time off when sick or needed
- Get massages or any holistic care
- Dance, swim, walk, run, play sports, sing, or do some other fun physical activity
- Take time to be sexual – with myself, with a partner
- Get enough sleep
- Wear clothes I like
- Take vacations
This is exactly where most resolutions go when we are talking about our health! If you have tried any of these self-care items above and have not made sustainable progress, chances are there is a deeper need to evaluate what is preventing you to get there and most importantly how to sustain the healthy habits over time. This is what I want to start talking about here: the real thing! Of course gyms, weight loss programs, pharmaceutical companies and retail stores gain from you playing yoyo with your body. In fact they love it! It keeps their profit margins high and their shareholders happy too! Now I am all about creating a sustainable conscious life and hopefully you are willing embark on this Journey too!
So what I would like to encourage you to do today is pick one area of physical health you want to care for and ask yourself these questions below. I will use one personal example to help you see how digging deeper can really affect your overall success and what we are really truly looking at, greater sustainable health. As you are doing the exercise think of it as if you were having a discussion with a friend and you are the one asking the questions (and of course you will also dig deep inside to find the truthful answers). This way, there are less chances for self judgement. The questions in bold are part of a script whereas the others typically flow naturally from the answers as if in a real conversation. Think of having tea, coffee or a green juice with one of your friends and this is how the conversation goes.
Q: How do you want to better care for your physical self?
A: I want to … Get to bed earlier and sleep at least 7 hours each night.
A: I tend to go to bed late, after midnight, and when I wake up at six am to get ready for the day, I am still tired. And grumpy. And less effective; I lack concentration.
Q:But why are you getting to bed so late? What are the obstacles keeping you from sleeping more?
A: You know, working from home and the demand of still being what I consider a mother at home. I want to be involved in my kids’ lives but mine takes a toll!
Q: How will you find a solution ..You do not want to become burned out, do you?
A: Of course not! Then I would not be involved in their life at the level I want either. I think I need to find new habits and reevaluate my priorities.
Q: So what are the options you are thinking about? What are the self-care habits you could implement to go to bed early and sleep better?
A: To allow myself only to work until 9 or 10 pm and then have time to wind down and go to bed at around 10:30 pm. I guess I will fail a few times before it is the new habit for me but any night I can get more and better sleep is a gain! I guess I could put aside a few things. I would really benefit from watching where I spend my time while working. Social media is a tool for me but I often get distracted by it too…
Q: I think these are wonderful ideas! Think also how much more present you will be with your children by being more alert and more patient too… How will you make sure these new habits are sustained? Are there any ways you can reward yourself for doing the right thing?
A: I could set up an alarm on my calendar so I know I need to stop. Like a reminder. Oh! I can set up an appointment with myself to do something I really enjoy doing.I could read 10 pages of a good book before going to bed.
There are a lot of web sites on nutrition, exercise and anything health wise. I will soon start to make a compilation of my best alternative health resources but today, the point is not about telling what is best for you. Ultimately you are the one best equipped to find what works for you by observing and listening to your body. One thing I may suggest is journaling or if this sounds too new age-y, having a real or electronic notebook to log, in a simple format, bullet point like, so you can see patterns emerging.
If you have any physical health related questions please post them in a comment below and even though I do not have a medical degree, I can certainly point you in a healthy direction, using all of the alternative health resource and contacts I have.