By Sarah Kimball
To learn more about Sarah, click here.
In a society of rigid beauty standards, it is more important than ever to appreciate our bodies for how incredible they truly are, and one of the best ways to love your body is to listen to your body.
After all, our bodies are incredibly smart. Your body knows exactly how to heal that paper cut on your finger, it gives you a headache to let you know when you’re dehydrated, and it takes part in thousands of processes on a daily basis to keep you healthy.
This natural healing power that works to keep us healthy is called our innate intelligence. It is something we were all born with and is best summed up by saying how the power that made the body heals the body. It’s important that we listen to this innate intelligence because our bodies know more about us than our mothers, our doctors, and even ourselves.
By listening to your body, you’ll be practicing self-love and showing your body the self-care it needs. Start listening to and loving body by practicing these three self-care techniques.
1. Practice Intuitive Eating
Let’s face it dieting doesn’t work. Diets often encourage people to label foods as “good” or “bad,” and to fall into a pattern of binging and restricting. When people count calories, deplete themselves of fattening foods, or follow fad diets, people wrongly determine their self-worth based on how well they can follow a rigid diet. Instead of harming their bodies by dieting, people should love their bodies by intuitively eating. When people practice intuitive eating, they eat what their bodies want and when their bodies are hungry, and they stop when they feel full. The practice of intuitive eating focuses on listening to what our bodies truly want and need and is a sustainable way to focus our minds on self-care instead of weight loss.
2. Exercise To Celebrate Your Body Not Punish It
If you’re over-exercising to cut calories or heading to the gym to punish your body for that slice of cake you ate the night before, you’re not listening to your body nor are you practicing self-care. In fact, exercising excessively can physically and psychologically harm your body. You should exercise to celebrate how your body can run, jump, swim, and dance. Work with a health coach to find a type of exercise that suits you, so working out is a self-love celebration of what your body can do.
3. Get Sleep
When you need sleep, your body lets you know. Feeling tired, cranky, weak, and “fuzzy” in the brain is your body’s way of crying out for a good night’s sleep. Sleep deprivation also has long-term effects on your health. People who are sleep deprived have an increased risk for high blood pressure, have lower levels of the appetite-control hormone leptin, and are three times more likely to catch a cold, among other negative health effects. According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults ages 18-64, need a recommended seven to nine hours of sleep each night. Listen to your body’s signals and show you body some love by getting the sleep you need.
Self-care should be a daily practice instead of a monthly luxury. Show your body the love and appreciation it needs and deserves by listening to your body and not ignoring its signals.