Welcome to the tenth week of our 'Summer of Self-Love' project
Each week throughout the summer, I'll be giving you one suggestion of something to do to enrich either your mind, body or soul.
I'm sharing a weekly video on our Facebook page each Monday, with that week's idea.
However, I don't like watching videos, so in case anyone else feels the same way (which is basically 'Why can't I just read it?'), each Wednesday, I'll be doing a blog post like this, one, where you can either read what to do, or watch the video (just scroll down).
Listen To Your Body
I was going to talk about exercise this week, because there is so much advice saying how much we, as a nation, need to exercise more – do our 10,000 steps every day, get our heart rate up. But I struggled to say anything because the advice is so generic, and also, exercise always seems intrinsically linked to weight loss and our summer of self-love is about loving who you are, right now.
Doing things that benefit your body are some of the hardest things to do. Often what we WANT to do and what our bodies NEED are two different things.
For example, I mainly want to sit on a sofa, watching Netflix. My body, on the other hand, objects to this. I used to be able to pretty much ignore what my body wants, but these days, I really need to listen to it. I know that if I don't, I am stacking up problems for myself as I hurtle towards the menopause.
So, this week is all about working hard to listen to your body, understand what it needs, and give it what it requires – whatever that might be for you.
I realise this sounds entirely vague and it is – your body is unique to you, and its requirements right now are not the same as anybody else's. I'll give you a few examples though. If you have an injury, and you know you need rest, and you're ignoring that – give your body the rest it wants. Don't push yourself, and ignore pain – address it. If you know your posture is really bad, and causing you back problems, look into what you can do to resolve that – and then do it (personally, I've found yoga to be really beneficial for my back problems).
Whatever niggles you might have, big or small, focus on one of them and work out what your body is telling you it needs, and help it out.
Most of us are either really good at ignoring things and hoping they'll just go away on their own, or massively over reacting to every little twinge. So, this is not about obsession, this is about listening to your body and reacting to what it's telling you – not about panicking.
If you wake up in the morning and you're stiff and achy (me! Every day!) – work out whether what you need is to do some stretches, or to have a more comfortable mattress in the first place. Get used to understanding what your body is telling you, and responding to what its saying.
It could be that your body wants more exercise – if that is what you know in your heart your body is telling you, work out what exercise is right for you, and how you can introduce it. But don't try to go from nothing at all to going to a gym 5 times a week – it won't happen and your body probably wasn't asking for that anyway. Be kind to yourself, This is about nourishing, not punishing.
Let me know how you get on – please don't skip this week, this one's really important in learning to listen to your body.
I'll see you next week.