Loving your body is central to living the love lifestyle. This goes beyond accepting your body (although that is essential!). You need to SHOW your body love through daily habits and practices. But why is this so important? and what specifically can you do to show your body care?
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The Spirited Vessel
Look – no matter how spiritual you are, we can agree on one thing. You’ve got a body. Beyond this, your body is a manifestation of how you think and feel about yourself in the world.
If you feel good about your body, you’re going to treat your body well. If this is you, you probably sleep the right amount, eat well, engage in physical activity, and are comfortable in “your own skin.”
Feeling bad? You’re probably going to struggle with body care. This is obvious when we look at someone who is in deep depression, feeling profound shame, or guilt. That person will do one of two things – over-compensate (do TOO much care to the point of harm such as over-dieting or over-exercising) or ignore bodily needs altogether (ignore signs and symptoms of issues, forget to wash, etc.).
Most of us are somewhere in the middle. Maybe you feel good, but not all the time. Maybe you could do better in a few areas. Or maybe you’re rewriting your worthiness story and you just want some practical steps to loving your body on a daily basis.
That you? Then read on!
Some Steps to Loving Your Body
There are six main areas I think are essential to physical care:
Let’s unpack them one by one with specific examples of things you can do to get into an awesome place of self-love!
You might think this is self explanatory. And at it’s most basic, it is. Wash your hair. Brush your teeth. Get a shower. You could get away with just that, and I could leave you here, except for the spiritual creative seeking to live a life of love, there’s more to consider.
You have a couple options with each of these things – you can DIY your care routine to minimize your plastic and paper waste, or you can purchase products from the store. There’s also a kind of hybrid option.
I’m going to outline what I do and why I chose to do it because it was intuitively guided and reflects my movement into intentional living.
Right now I use the following for my weekly hygiene routine:
- a charcoal facial soap
- rose water with glycerin as toner
- tea tree oil for skin irritations
- rosehip oil mixed with castor oil and essential oil blend for eyes
- coconut oil for make-up remover
- castor oil with myrrh, cedarwood, and vitamin e oils for regular moisturizing
- castile body soap
- lavender cleansing conditioner (once monthly instead of egg yolk wash))
- egg yolk wash in place of shampoo (weekly)
- apple cider vinegar hair rinse (weekly)
- egg white skin treatment (once weekly)
- oil spice body scrub (maybe once weekly or biweekly)
- tumeric yogurt mask (maybe once weekly)
- boar bristle brush
- commercial razor
- commercial tooth paste
- commercial deodorant
- commercial floss
I chose to use these DIY and low waste options because I didn’t feel good about using products when the containers were going to the landfill. When I purchase products and ingredients, I try to get the largest I can to minimize my footprint. I also try to reuse the containers. If I can’t, I recycle them. I feel this reflects my principles and that makes me feel good about using these products.
It took me some time to get to this mixture of things. Admittedly, I’m still working to shift over to things that better reflect my principles – like a floss alternative or a deodorant alternative (I really want to try a magnesium oil base, but I just haven’t gotten around to it!). There are a few spa treatments I’d like to experiment with involving ingredients like green tea, coffee, geranium essential oil, or gelatin.
Why share this? Why talk about the products we’re using? Because it impacts how your body feels and how your spirit feels about your experience through life. You do NOT have to go full eco-mode over there – it’s okay if you’re not ready to do that. On the other hand, if you want to start shifting your products over, do it. See how you feel about the experience. Whatever you do, you should honor your body with your routine. It should feel good. It should feel like you’re performing an act of worship when you care for yourself. Your body is your vessel – a temple if you will. It should be treated as such.
First let’s get one thing straight – I’m not here to make you feel guilty or ashamed of skipping your Beach Body workout today or something.
That is not my schtick and it’s the opposite of everything this blog and my work stands for.
That said, we have to talk about activity. Moving feels good because it is what your body was made for.
Your body was MADE to move!
When I say move, I mean jumping for joy. I mean stretching luxuriously. I mean dancing like no one is watching.
From my experience, fitness works well in two ways:
- when it’s something you love,
- and or it’s part of your routine.
Whatever feels good to your body or remotely interests you, that’s what you should do for fitness. So if unlike the masses of wellness addicts out there you don’t like yoga, it’s okay. I’m kind of there with you – yoga tweaks my joints all over the place. Every time I’ve made it routine in my life, I’ve gotten injured from it. Seriously. Yoga does not work for me in any kind of extended way.
No big deal.
DANCING however, works REALLY well for me. I could dance every day several times a day and still want more dancing! So I dance. Zumba works okay for me because of this, but really, I just want to dance. 🙂
Do what feels good for your body and is something you will do consistently.
Along those lines, make sure you’re integrating activity in your routine. Walk after every meal, for example. Park further away from the store. Take the stairs. Have walking meetings. There are tons of ways you can bring activity into your life that only take a little tweaking. You’ll find you have more energy and are happier because of it!
Think of this as another way to “worship” your temple. And just like everything else, moderation is key!
Again, I’m not here to shame you. That is the opposite of everything I do.
Food should be a source of joy, fun, and delight. It should be an extension of honoring your body and loving yourself.
Right now I’m in the middle of taking an awesome class on intentional eating which reinforces a lot of the things I teach, but within a diet and exercise framework. I had the option to beta test the class and jumped on it because I wanted to preview a product that reflected my principles and would benefit my readers, and so far, it has delivered in every way!
The reason I like the class is because it’s about setting up your mindset first and then talking about ways to show yourself love through food and exercise.
So, that means, sometimes eat the chocolate cake. Seriously. Sometimes. And most of the time, eat fruits, veggies, and whole grains. It isn’t rocket science. Your body lets you know what is good and what isn’t. If you have been ignoring your body’s signs, now is a good time to reconnect.
Here are some of the things I like as part of my food routine:
- Herbal tisanes – my favorites are rosehip, rooibos, kava kava, chamomile, rose, cinnamon, ginger, and tumeric.
- Cheese (I mean seriously…)
- Coconut anything – milk, water, butter, shavings, oil, you get the picture.
- Chocolate – um… I’m a human being.
- Cinnamon – in pretty much anything.
- Berries – pretty much all of them.
- Noodles – rice, wheat, handcut, commercial cut…it really doesn’t matter. If there’s a noodle, I’m there.
- Pancakes – again, doesn’t matter what’s in them or where the recipe originates…I love fried cake!
- Eggs – I’m not vegan. I love eggs.
- Sauces – most other food is meant as a carrier for this one.
Make your own list of must have joy-filled foods. When you do, make sure to include them on a regular basis.
Sleep is a sacred thing. Anyone who tells you it’s wasted time secretly probably hates themselves (at least a little bit).
Relish sleep. Love sleep. It is a magical thing.
To do that, make sure you are ready for sleep by doing a few things:
- Drink your last caffienated beverage before 6 PM (if possible).
- Avoid alcohol after dinner (Drinking close to bedtime gives me heartburn and nearly always wakes me up an hour after lying down. See for yourself if it impacts your sleep and then act accordingly!)!
- Create a night-time routine. Mine includes an herbal tisane, chatting with my husband about our days, bullet journaling, and expressing gratitude!
- Turn off all electronic devices an hour before bed (I’ve run personal experiments, and yes, the screen time immeditately before bed DOES keep me awake. Try it yourself and see what happens!).
- Wear pajamas that make you feel amazing (or go au naturale if that’s what you like!). It should feel delightful to be in bed.
- If you like (or need) them, get a sleep mask and ear plugs (these actually saved my sanity and my marriage – so don’t knock it! These can be sleep and life savers!).
When you get your routine right, you still may wake up in the middle of the night. That’s actually normal, so don’t get frustrated. I find that getting up, having a tisane and using the time to meditate or journal is great. In an hour or less, you’ll probably go right back to sleep and wake up feeling refreshed in the morning!
What does environment have to do with the body? Everything.
I’m not going to get into too many details because this could be its own series of posts, BUT the place where you are impacts how you feel and therefore, how you treat yourself. If, for example, your bedroom is a mess, it will impact how you sleep. If your kitchen is dirty, it’s going to impact what you eat. If your clothes are cluttered, you’re going to struggle to find something that feels good to wear (which will set off all kinds of things throughout your day!).
All this is to say, your home is your castle. Your body is your temple in your castle.
Make your castle a palace.
I don’t mean you should live in a sprawling estate in the Montecito Hills in order to treat your body well. No – that’s not necessary (it might have the opposite effect!). I mean, your home should feel good. The rooms in your home should honor their purposes (i.e. bedrooms are for sleep and sex. Kitchens are for cooking. Offices are for paperwork, etc.). Make sure when you walk into a room, its purpose is clear and it honors your preferences and habits. When it does, it will feel good.
This is something that doesn’t really get talked about – and I’m not talking about “body image” in the traditional way. I mean, the way you see yourself physically plus how you present yourself. Think of it as taking the old school idea of body image and merging it with fashion.
For this, imagine translating your idea of who you are into your physical form. This is where fashion comes in, along with make-up, accessories, etc.
So for me, sometimes I wear make-up. Sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I use dry shampoo (another homemade product!). Sometimes I pin my hair.
When I wear sneakers, they better be a crazy intense color. My boots, however, are always black (if I have a second pair, the color varies). See what I mean?
Wear clothes that feel good, benefit your color palette, and honor your preferences. If you want to style your hair or face, then do it. Or don’t. Whatever reflects you and who you are. I do want to make a few suggestions:
- Learn your color palette (Here’s a blog post and test you can take to find out if you don’t know already!). Get rid of things that don’t fit into your palette (as you’re able).
- Know your body shape (here’s a post about this for more info). Wear clothes that play to its advantages to showcase how awesome you are (and honestly – it doesn’t matter what shape you are, this can be done!).
- Buy forever. Don’t buy disposable clothes that will end up in a landfill. When you need to purchase a new item, buy something that will last, reflects your color palette, and body shape. This is a way to love yourself several times over because you’ll save money, the environment, and your closet!
- Your accessories should go with pretty much everything and be long-lasting (See above bullets!).
- Style your hair to honor your facial shape, preferences, and hair type. For example, I have a longer face and thick wavy to curly hair, so a long layered cut works well for me (and is super low maintenance!).
Do these things because you will feel DIVINE when you do. You’d think these things might not matter- but they do. They impact how you see yourself when you look in the mirror (goddess walking anyone?) as well as how others see you (I’m. Not. Kidding. Goddess.).
Loving Your Body From Here
Loving your body involves addressing a number of areas. There are practical things you can do involving hygiene, fitness, diet, sleep, environment, and image.
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