Nourishment is a great word isn’t it? Sometimes I get stuck on words and they just float around in my head and this is one of those words. It just sounds like comfort, and well-being and like someone has wrapped you in a warm blanket and fed you a wonderful meal. I know this sounds soooo corny and I likely just lost a bunch of readers. I know. But for the rest of you out there doesn’t the thought of nourishment just make you feel good? my message to you today isn’t about food. I want to encourage you to nourish yourself with some wonderful things other than food. We all know that there are many, many reasons we eat. Often times the last thing we are doing while we are eating is fulfilling a physical hunger. I confessed here that I have been an emotional eater. I’ve also had my own ideas about food, rules, restrictions, fears, obsessions and other unhealthy aspects that come along with some disordered eating.
Speaking of nourishment doesn’t always have to do with food. Today my message isn’t about food. I want to encourage you to nourish yourself with some wonderful things other than food. We all know that there are many, many reasons we eat. Often times the last thing we are doing while we are eating is fulfilling a physical hunger. I confessed here that I have been an emotional eater. I’ve also had my own ideas about food, rules, restrictions, fears, obsessions and other unhealthy aspects that come along with some disordered eating. In this space I can come clean on some of these past issues in the hopes that it might help at least one person out there. I know, personally, I had rather listen to someone who had walked my path than someone I viewed as perfect and unrelateable.
While my initial jump into the health world began with exercise and teaching fitness classes, I knew I had to learn about nutrition to balance out the exercise and help people create a whole healthy person. However, I know, and have said here many times, a balanced healthy lifestyle is more than the exercise and nutrition. Today I spent some time thinking about what I do and how I approach each day that nourishes me and helps my own healthy lifestyle journey.
I will be the first to say that I don’t have it all figured out. I learn new things every day from listening to others, reading, and observing so I can stay open and fluid with finding the right things that nourish me. What is healthy and nourishing to me may not be for you. That is the beauty of it. Obtaining personal health is not about restriction, a certain meal plan or exercise routine. Really nourishing yourself is about creating new habits.
It is up to each and every one of us to learn and grow and empower ourselves to take control of our own health destinies. No one can do that for us and if we want to live out this great big life we have been gifted with it is crucial.
Without sounding too woo woo, my desire it to light your passion and empower you on your own personal journey to a balanced healthy lifestyle. I want to share with you so you can begin opening up yourself and creating space for your own health in each area — body, mind and spirit.
With that in mind, here are some ways to begin nourishing yourself.
1. Prioritize Yourself
This is one of the first and foremost things, and often the hardest, for folks to focus on. Giving yourself love is not selfish. You are putting on your oxygen mask so you can care for others. Eating a healthy meal is not selfish. Consciously choosing to treat your body well is an act of love, and not selfish. Your body is a gift from God and should be treated with respect. That may mean creating better eating habits or getting a yearly check up from your doctor. It may mean taking time to get in exercise regularly. It could even mean getting off of social media, or away from the television ads if they are making you fill bad about yourself. If you are frazzled with too many balls in the air, it could mean shutting down and saying “no”. (See Beat Busyness Challenge Week 2). Taking time to get to a yoga class, meditate, read a book, sit and stare at the clouds, meet friends for dinner, or get to bed an hour early are all ways to take care of yourself. We all know that if we burn ourselves out by not prioritizing our own self-care then we cannot be available to help those others around us.
2. Listen to Your Body
Your body tells you things if you will take the time to listen. Your body is extremely smart and will send you signals – good or bad. How is your energy? Are you gaining or losing weight? How is your skin? Do you have aches and pains? Are you going to the potty? (yes, that is a signal) Do you have brain fog?
You have to be honest with yourself and be a detective. I’ll be honest, I used to ignore those aches and pains until I couldn’t. These days I take it as a signal to lay off or switch up an activity where I can. If my energy is low I look at my sleep or my diet. If I’ve gotten brain fog I can typically attribute it to lack of sleep. Take the time to listen, evaluate and reassess your habits if you need to.
4. Choose Your Mindset
How you choose to look at things and how you choose your attitude are huge factors in your health and how you nourish yourself. We all know that life is going to heap a pile of something on us at one time or another – or many times. How we choose to handle those tough situations, as well as the everyday stressors, can be in a healthy way or in an unhealthy way. I have been trying for quite some time now to live by the mantra, “Don’t Let it Steal Your Joy”. I promise this reminder helps. I also work really hard on trying to control what I think about and focus on. What you let into your mind is just as important as what you let into your body. I try to nourish my mind with uplifting and encouraging messages every single day. In fact, this might be one of the most important things I do daily. If I don’t begin my day quietly in devotion and prayer time, I am afraid I will forget to be thankful, will be distracted, unfocused and impatient. I will then heap a bad attitude on those around me. A bad attitude is not a gift I want to share with the world.
5. Movement and Exercise
I exercise because I love to move and sweat. However, even on days when I might not want to, I typically have to because it is my work! That is a good thing because movement is one of the key ways to nourish your body. Finding something that makes your body feel good is part of a healthy lifestyle. If this is not currently a daily or at least regular habit, then you are not really nourishing yourself. Our bodies were not created to sit for hours a day in cars, at desks or on couches surfing Netflix. Our bodies were created to move in many different ways. What I do for exercise may be completely different from you. You may be a marathon runner, a Zumba lover or a basketball player. None of those work for me. I really encourage you to find exercise that you enjoy – so you will actually do it! You will love the way you feel after a good workout, how strong you will feel, and the sense of accomplishment you will have. And that does not even touch on the befits of regular exercise to your heart, muscles, brain, blood pressure, cholesterol and other markers.
6. Make Connections
This is huge. Find someone or some people that you can truly connect with. Find those who you can truly trust for those meaningful and sometimes scary conversations. When I lost my brother I lost a person who I always connected with and always knew I could whole-heartedly trust. Now I don’t think I could go a week without some of my girlfriends. Those people are golden to your health and well-being. Whether it is a friend, relative or counselor, we all need someone with whom we can truly connect.
Also, along the same lines, find your heart connections. This also goes back to prioritizing yourself. Remember to create space in your life to do what makes your heart shine and connects you to those things that you love. Personally, I love writing in this space and connecting with you all. I also love puttering around planting and working in our yard and garden. I have been painting more and that has filled a big space in my heart. I bet there are things out there that you love to do but haven’t created the time or things you haven’t even discovered that you love or at least that you have forgotten you used to love! This is the aspect that I love about the Better & Beyond Online program because I think this is such an important part of being a whole, healthy person.
Consciously nourishing your mind and body is essential. I hope you found some encouragement to find ways to create nourishing habits for yourself. Finding your personal healthy balanced lifestyle is giving yourself the gift into a new and better way of living! It doesn’t happen overnight and is a continuous journey. I’m here to cheer you on!
Enjoy Your Day!
If I can cheer you on in your journey to a balanced healthy lifestyle our next round of Better & Beyond begins May 27. Sign Ups open Soon! Stay Tuned!