Loving and caring for your body can change your life. Seriously, it’s true.
You live in your body. And when you have a negative relationship with it, you carry that around with you. It’s like being stuck in a bad relationship.
Your relationship with your body is foundational to your health and happiness. When you reconnect with your body, and you learn to love and care for it, you feel good in your skin. And this positively affects how you feel mentally and emotionally.
A personal note: From hating to loving my body
I used to treat my body terribly. Seriously, it has been a long journey to love. So for those of you who have body image challenges, trust me, I can empathize.
My personal journey revolved around not loving myself, and without realising it, I took it out on my body.
I didn’t care about my body. It started around my teens, where I developed eating disorders because I felt like I was fat (which I wasn’t). This went on for years. From there, in my twenties, I continued to self-sabotage in different ways. Taking care of my body was not a priority, and I’d go days without eating a proper meal or having a good night’s sleep. Never for a moment did I consider what I was doing to my body. The less I ate the ‘better’ I felt!
In my twenties I hit a breaking point, where my body couldn’t continue… It felt like it was completely shutting down, and that’s where I had to make a choice… go further downhill into a black hole, or find some inner strength and choose health and happiness.
I chose the latter, and slowly started taking better care of myself. It all started with my body – I started with the basics like eating 3 meals a day and sleeping every night. It was the simple things. Then I started doing some yoga and going for walks on the beach. And it was through taking care of my body that I started getting my mind right and lifting my spirit.
That was the powerful lesson I learned – Taking care of your body on a basic level can drastically change your life. When your body is healthy, you feel better mentally and emotionally. It’s the foundation to feeling your best.
So, no matter where you are in your health journey and how you feel about your body, trust that, every little step you take to love and appreciate your amazing body is a step in the right direction.
You literally live in your body, and when you take the time to nurture and love it, it can truly change your life.
If you struggle with self-love and body image and would like someone to talk to, you are welcome to book a free one-on-one session with me. This is an opportunity to share in a warm, safe space. You are not alone!
And so, through my own personal experience, here are some of the ways you can start developing a healthier relationship with your body. I hope they inspire you to love and appreciate your body more so that you can feel good in your skin and lift your spirit from the inside out!
Take a moment to really appreciate your body.
We often live in a self-judgemental space. My body is fat, I have saddlebags, my skin is too pale, I hate my freckles etc etc
Stop for a moment and put all that judgement aside. Be objective and think about how amazing your body is. Every single day it’s working so hard for you. Breathing in air, digesting food, protecting you from disease, moving around, doing work, etc It works so hard for you, and most of the time you don’t even have to think about it.
Your body is AMAZING. It’s an incredible bio-computer making everything possible for you.
Stop for a moment, put your hand on your heart and say “Thank you body, I love and appreciate all you do for me”
Use a positive affirmation
This follows on nicely from the above point.
We carry around thoughts and beliefs that we’ve gathered over our lifetime, and sometimes they’re negative thoughts around our body.
Get out your journal and reflect on what you think about your body, especially the negative thoughts. Get them out onto the page. Be aware that we’re usually highly critical of ourselves, especially about our bodies. The media also creates a world where we compare ourselves to others and never feel good enough.
After connecting with your negative feelings about your body, come up with 1 or more positive affirmations that celebrate your body. Keep them simple, and use your own words. Mine include “Thank you body, you are amazing and I love you“, “My body is amazing, and as I care for it, it gets healthier and happier every day” or “You are so beautiful, and I love you.” I often put my hand on my heart and say “Thank you body” especially when I’m working long hours and pushing it.
Don’t underestimate the power of positive affirmations. Our thoughts and beliefs impact how we feel. And by repeating positive affirmations, you’re reprogramming yourself to think and believe new and more uplifting messages.
Practice speaking nicely to your body, and see how good it feels.
Take care of your body
Take an objective look at how you care for your body – Do you eat well, sleep enough, drink enough water?
There is a lovely quote by B.K.S. Iyengar “The body is your temple. Keep it pure and clean for your soul to reside in”.
Instead of judging your body, choose to care for it and you’ll automatically start healing the relationship. It’s like any relationship – when you take the time to nourish a relationship, it has the opportunity to flourish. The same applies to your body.
If you choose to see the best in your body and you choose to take care of it, it’ll have the chance to be its healthiest happiest self. And as your body gets healthier, you’ll feel more comfortable in your skin. It’s a win-win.
With love and compassion, think about one thing you can do right now to take better care of body. It could be getting some extra sleep, eating a nourishing breakfast for a change, cutting down on the alcohol, going for more walks, having a relaxing candlelit bath once a week, cutting down on all that sugar and junk food…
Remember though, this is not about being ‘the perfect healthy person’. Don’t let that judgment creep in and result in an endless to-do list of things you think you should be doing to be healthy to ‘fix’ your body. This is about doing something caring and nourishing for your body because you are a team. And when your body feels good, you feel good.
Give your body the gift of relaxation and play
Many times we push ourselves, over-working, over-stressing, over-exerting.
Consider that your body is a living organism and it’s working really hard for you every moment of the day. And in order to function, it needs rest. Seriously, It needs good sleep and relaxation time to restore and keep strong.
Look for ways you can activate more relaxation in your life to create a healthier and more nourishing balance.
Prioritise more quality sleep, sleep in on the weekend when possible, stay in bed later on the weekend with a cup of tea and a good book, remove some items off your calendar so that you’re not as busy and have more space in your life, go for a relaxing daily walk around the block, make time to be out in nature, have a candelit bath, have a device detox where your body and mind can properly relax.
Another great way to activate relaxation is to play more!
When you’re doing something that truly makes you happy, you relax and unwind naturally. It could be going to the beach, playing music, cooking, dancing, hanging out with friends, drawing, gardening…
What is one way you can activate relaxation and play in your life?
Approach exercise in a more joyful loving way
A high percentage of people exercise to ‘fix’ themselves and end up spending most of the time doing exercise they don’t enjoy. This can lead to an unhealthy relationship with exercise.
Exercise should be about reconnecting with your body, releasing tension, keeping healthy and feeling good!
And it doesn’t have to be hardcore gym workouts… there are many ways you can keep physically active and reap the benefits. It could be taking your dogs for a walk, dancing, hula-hooping, roller skating, doing a yoga class…
Whatever physical activity you choose to do, enjoy this time to reconnect with your body as you do something good for it.
You’ll see that when you keep active in ways you truly enjoy, you’re more likely to do it more often!
Dress in clothes that make you feel good
This may seem materialistic, but it’s actually more about expressing yourself and feeling good.
I have a friend who loves to wear skirts, but she has been told by someone that she ‘shouldn’t wear skirts because they doesn’t suit her body‘. So, she didn’t wear skirts. When she decided to trust and connect to herself, she started to wear skirts anyway and she felt so good. AND, she got compliments from people saying ‘wow, you look so beautiful‘. She was wearing clothes that made her feel more true to herself, and they became an extention of herself and she radiated.
Your clothes and colours can give you a sense of confidence and self expression that compliment your body and how you feel.
So think about what you feel good in, and celebrate your body and personality through the clothes and colours you wear!
Are you ready to choose to love and care for your body?
At the end of the day, you have a choice. You can continue to judge and criticize your body, or you can take steps to love and care for it. And trust me, choosing the latter is far more rewarding.
By taking any of the above steps, you can start to heal your relationship with your body and feel more comfortable in your skin.
Which of the above are you going to practice? Let me know in the comments, I’d love to know.
As I mentioned above, if you struggle with self-love and body image and would like someone to talk to, you are welcome to book a free one-on-one session with me. This is an opportunity to share in a warm, safe space. You are not alone!