Taking care of our body is a continuous process which keeps us fit, healthy and happy. We shouldn’t wait until we get sick before we slow down to take care of our body.
Let us start by being aware of our body right now. Be thankful that we are alive and that we live in our body and decide to take good care of it. Jim Rohn said:
” Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.” – Jim Rohn
To take good care of our body, we have to listen to it and consider the elements which are going to help the body feel good and renew itself: elements such as cultivating health-habits, water and nutrition, rest and sleep, exercise, fresh air, and I will add beautifying the superficial.
1 – Seek Fresh Air
The importance of fresh air is often underestimated. With lack of fresh air, the brain does not have enough oxygen to work properly, and we feel mentally and physically tired.
Seek fresh air every time you can. Let fresh air enter the place you live or work by opening the windows regularly. Go for walks whenever possible: you will get fresh air and walking is a form of exercise too. As a bonus, your skin will thank you by looking healthy instead of dull.
There is a park in the area where I live and there is also a forest not far away from there. I love to go for walks in nature and to consciously take deep breaths from time to time while I am walking. It feels so good: it is relaxing, calming and energizing at the same time.
2 – Exercise
Human beings are designed to stay in movement: walk, run and be active. But generally in the modern lifestyle, we sit more than we consciously want to: for example for some jobs, we sit in a chair in front of a computer for long hours. We sometimes forget to take small breaks.
In order to remedy to those long hours in sitting position, it is recommended to exercise regularly. Something we can do right now is stand up or stretch our hands above our head, or do both at the same time.
Exercise brings more oxygen to our body. It gives us a sense of accomplishment and makes us feel good. In the long term, it helps us stay fit and healthy.
You can either exercise daily or at least 3 times a week. Schedule at least one activity per week like swimming, jogging or yoga, but don’t neglect the daily efforts, like taking stairs or stretching or going for a walk. They might seem insignificant, but are as effective as targeted exercising.
I particularly love dance workout and I practice yoga. I’m a beginner at yoga though, I finally started a yoga class 4 months ago, and I’m so proud that I can do the headstand now
My sister has introduced me to a program she was doing, using RinGoMaXX, a website for workout. I kept doing the exercises for the past 8 months, and updated my progress on the community Nurture Body and Soul on Google plus. Feel free to join the community and check it out.
It is important to have an exercise program that suits us. For me the fun factor is also very important, because it will make me think of exercise as lots of fun. This way I will want to do it often and keep at it for the long run.
Listening to our body and taking care of it by fulfilling its needs will help us feel good, stay healthy and energized.
3 – Water and Nutrition
Water helps cleanse and flush toxins out of our body. It can also help you loose weight and clear up your skin. Drink enough water, a lot of water – but not too much though. Drink at least 1,5 liter water per day. If you are very active, for example you exercise, then you should drink more to stay well hydrated. The same applies when it is warm.
Eat slowly and appreciate the taste of what you eat. This can be beneficial for our health. It will facilitate digestion and our body will take the best from the food we eat.
There are so many nutrition philosophies out there. But basically eating a lot of fruits and vegetables is what is recommended everywhere. So start by incorporating or increase the amount of fruits and vegetables in your diet. Smoothies are a great way to do this, like my Green Bananapple Smoothie and Dark n Rich Blueberries Smoothie
Plan your meals in advance and make healthy choices.
Prepare healthy easy to make snacks and keep them at hand for those times when you feel that you want to eat although you are not really hungry. It can be nuts and dried fruits, carrots or fresh fruits like apples or bananas.
You can eat anything, but moderation is key. Avoid fast food and processed food. It is also wise to limit your consumption of sugar and fried food.
I personally like to incorporate elements of clean eating and raw food in my eating habits, because I love what is close to nature (read more about this in the section 5 – Cultivating health-habits below).
And I enjoy different meals from diverse origin: from African cuisine to german Küche, taking Japanese-sushi, red thai-curry and Italian specialties on my way to healthy eating.
4 – Rest and Sleep
Prevent fatigue by resting before you get tired. By rest I do not necessarily mean sleep. What I mean is relaxation.
Plan moments to rest, especially when you are very busy. When we are working intensely on projects, some allocated free time allows our mind and body to rest. After the break, we will have more energy and may be also a new perspective to continue working on our projects. Our brain will be sharper.
In order to relax, sit down comfortably on a chair or lay down, preferably on the floor, may be on a blanket. Breathe deeply. You ask each part of your body to relax. You can also contract parts of the body for a few seconds and then let go. This kind of relaxation is practiced in yoga.
When we sleep, our body is regenerating and healing itself. Our mind get the chance to come down and organize stuff.
I have caught myself putting sleep below the top of my priorities. This was at times when I was too busy and wanted to have more from my 24 hours. But with decreasing sleep quality, I noticed the appearances of signs like light headaches and irritability and vulnerability to cold and flu. I soon realized how important it is to sleep well and enough.
Go to bed nearly at the same time. The amount of sleep we need to feel rested and refreshed is as individual to us as your fingerprints. Nevertheless, 8 hours is recommended. Find out and stick to what works for you.
If we are deprived from sleep. We feel anxious and stressed. We may get sick in the long term. Sleep is not only important for our physical well-being but also for our mental well-being.
5 – Cultivating Health-Habits
We have been working on creating habits in the happiness experiment. It is wise to implement health-habits as well. We should cultivate habits such as drinking enough water, exercising regularly, the habit of making healthy choices for our food, rest before we get tired and go to sleep at the same time everyday.
For any bad habit we want to quit, we can attempt to replace the bad habit with a healthier one. It will not be easy, but our success probability increases if we replace rather than try to directly cancel it. This often leads to frustrations.
Let’s take smoking as an example: the replacing habit doesn’t have to be directly related to smoking (like using a nicotine patch). Instead try something totally or partially unrelated to the habit we want to quit, but healthier.
For instance: Lets say you are at the office and you feel the urge to smoke. Go for water or coffee break with colleagues when you feel the urge to smoke. This will replace the social aspect of smoking as well. I know it can be difficult at first, but it is worth giving it a try.
Other example: Go for a walk with friends. Start jogging or start a new hobby. May be something you always wanted to do and you thought you don’t have enough time for it. Finally getting started on it will help a lot with quitting the unwanted habit. You won’t think often about it anymore because you will have a new subject to constantly focus your energy on.
It can also be very useful to find a buddy, someone who also wants to achieve what you are trying to achieve, or even better, someone who has done it.
For me it was not smoking, but sugar cravings. I got rid of sweet stuff like cookies and cake in our house and replace eating sweets with fruits. Fruits are still sweet, but full of nutrients and vitamins, thus healthier. This is how I found my love for smoothies. Some of my recipes: Green Bananapple Smoothie, Dark n Rich Blueberry Smoothie.
Now I added cucumber and red bell pepper to my snacks list. They are less sweet that fruits and are just as delicious. Find healthier alternative for your favorite meal, assuming your favorite is not that healthy.
The concept of replacing a bad habit with a healthier one will help to progressively suppress the bad habit while implementing a health-habit.
6 – Beautify the Superficial
Sometimes improving the superficial can do wonder. This is why a good new haircut or renewing our wardrobe can make us feel good, even if it is just for a limited period of time.
I also feel like, if we are sluggish on the outside for too long, then the inside too can start to get infested and become sluggish. I don’t know if polishing the superficial can help improve the inside in the long run.
It is important that we feel good in our body the way we are in this moment, without the need of any artifice or accessories. But we should not underestimate the power of beautifying the outside part of our body, the superficial.
Use clay to wash your face and neck, a body scrub on your body. This will make your skin smoother. Then use your favorite lotion or oil to hydrate your skin. I prefer to let the cosmetics like make-up only for special occasions. One thing I love to use to hydrate my skin is the lotion mask of Chizu Saeki from her book the Japanese Skincare Revolution. Check out Chizu Saeki Lotion mask in this video.
Even nature presents itself from its most beautiful aspects, every and each season. So let us be inspired by the nature.
7 – Bonus: Boost Energy
I know, I promised 6 ways, but because you are awesome for reading this, you deserve a Bonus
Listen to your body and monitor your energy levels throughout the day. Whenever you feel tired or tense, it is a sign that you should rest, or at least relax a little bit. Even just taking a few deep breaths can help a lot to relax us.
Meditation can also help. It quiets the mind, refreshes and inspires us. When I meditate, I ask myself “how can I help others in this moment.” Sometimes, it is so powerful that I have to stop the meditation to reach to the person in order to help. Other times by the end of the meditation, I have a list of persons and a list of actions to take in order to help them.
Helping others is an effective way to boost our energy. When you feel like you miss energy, think about what you can do for others and do it right away. It will give you satisfaction and fuel to keep on going with your own stuff as well. May be it is just a simple act of kindness, may be it is helping someone with a problem they have, or it can be just giving something away.
Now I would love to hear from you. What are your favorite tips when it comes to taking care of your body? Share with us on the community.
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