Self-Care and Body Harmony
Feb 09, 2022 - Meghan Pickrell
In this short life, we are blessed to inhabit an agile, mobile BODY. It’s a real privilege to enjoy a physical existence, while having the capacity to imagine an existence far away from your human form. A healthy imagination starts with the way you feel in your body. Thus, I want to draw your attention to how often you honor, experience, feel or even notice, your body.
Many people don’t notice their body until they are uncomfortable; you wake up with a stiff back, your energy is low, something hurts. This pulls the attention toward how your body is failing you. Being affected in this way for a long enough period of time can become programmed into a less than positive mindset.
There’s a much deeper and nuanced relationship to your body to be experienced than how it’s failing you. We can begin with the daily habit of checking-in and conversing with your body. Here are some ways to integrate a healthy rapport with your body so that you feel connected before the onset of discomfort.
Check-in in the shower
Next time you’re in the shower or bath, instead of running a list of things to do for the day, take time to feel the warm water running over you. Check in with your muscles and how each part of your body wakes up or relaxes. Stretch in different ways. Notice what is tight, pondering why those areas are tight.
Lie on the floor
Spend time on the floor every day. (by now you probably know this is my mission in life). The act of getting on floor opens up a myriad of movement possibilities that are easy and beneficial (and left unpracticed getting down and up from the floor can become daunting). Fully give over to gravity, breathe and see if you can line your body up symmetrically. This essential practice can take as little as 5 minutes.
Breathe deeply before bedtime
Before bed, open up your lungs. Breathing deeply promotes relaxation and will ready the body for sleep. Try inhaling for a count of 5 and exhaling for a count of 10. Focus on your breath and the count, nothing more.
Take breaks in the day to stretch
When working at a desk all day you probably become laser focused. Your thoughts have taken precedence. Take a break and ask yourself – ‘What needs to stretch?” Open your arms, move around and find some movements that feel good. Take bettering your seated posture into account. I also offer a desk stretch series here on the virtual studio.
When you make time for exercise there may be some moments of awkwardness, discomfort, sweat, burning. Movement is what our bodies are made for – moving will feel really good! Your body will tell you what it needs. I encourage you to notice what feels good.
Notice how food makes you feel
Noticing how you feel after different foods can help you to better understand how your body processes food. What gives you energy and what slows you down? Make changes in your diet to notice positive feedback.
Get fresh air – spend more time outside
Spend time outside daily. Being outside in the sun gives your body the vitamin D it needs. Bacteria from plants and soil can positively affect your gut flora. Take a moment to realize how the sunshine feels on your face. How breathing and smelling the fresh air feels? Notice how your nervous system responds.
You may notice that you’re already doing some of these suggestions daily. Maybe a few of these are new to you. Connecting with your body on a daily basis can create more body harmony. This is called tuning in: the simplest, easiest act of self-love available to you.