Listen to your body.
If you know me in person, or if you follow me on social media, I'm sure you've heard me say (more than once), "listen to your body." If I have any advice to give, that's the best. Y'all it's so important. No one knows you the way you do.
It's also common for me to be asked, "how?" "How do I listen to my body?" "What does that mean?" So let me see if I can explain.
It's hard for me. This is something I've been doing since I was first diagnosed with fibromyalgia at the age of 19. No one told me how. No one even told me to. I just did it. Naturally. I didn't want to slow down but I quickly learned some things led to more pain than others. Some things would take longer for my body to recover from. So I learned what was what.
I realize though, that this is not the case for everyone. And, honestly, it seems to not at all be the norm. So, I'll do my best to help, because I feel it is so so important to our health.
Our bodies give us so many cues. Muscles tense up. Stomachs churn and cramp. Our bodies want to give out. We get headaches. Our brains become foggy, making it difficult to think or concentrate. I could go on, but I think you're probably getting the picture.
Y, all, these are all signs from ourselves telling us to change something. But what? How do we know?
Invest in a journal. It doesn't have to be anything fancy. It can be something as simple as a spiral notebook or something with more guidance like one of my favorite Dailygreatness journals. (These are fabulous by the way.)
Start making notes of EVERYTHING! Seriously. What did you eat today? How much? How did you feel afterward? The next day? What else went into your body? Think OTC's or prescription meds. Or maybe you use essential oils* or another natural form of pain relief. What did you drink? Write It All Down!
Did you workout today? What did you do? For how long? Notice anything different in your body? Where? How does it feel? Did you feel better or worse afterward?
Where you active or sedentary? What types of things did you tell yourself today? (Y'all, self-talk is sooo important! We'll address this in a future post.) Who did you surround yourself with? How did they affect your overall thinking and feelings about yourself?
I know, in the beginning it can seem like so much. It can feel like too much work. And if you're expecting immediate answers or changes, you're likely to lose hope and give up. Let me first encourage you not to do that! That's the worst thing you can do.
Start off small. Pick one area you want to focus on first. Then add another, and another. Choose a journal (like the Dailygreatness Wellness Journal) that will walk you through with prompts. Eventually you'll find yourself doing it automatically.
Just whatever you do, don't give up! Remember, you're doing this for you. You're working toward health and finding your best self. So, now you choose. Are you worth it or not? If you're asking me, I say you absolutely are!
Earlier this year we decided to go Paleo. Brandon had had great luck in the past with a Keto diet (the two are very similar), so I thought why not? If this helps him, I’m all for it.
We continued with the Paleo way for a couple months. (If you’re not familiar with Paleo, think caveman and you’re on the right track!) Brandon lost 20 lbs. I, however, found 10 of those.
*Let me say here, that I’ve never been one to gain easily or quickly. So this was odd for me.
I started thinking back to what had worked for me in the past. I’ve always leaned heavily toward fish or chicken when it comes to animal protein. I’m happy to eat rice and other grains and even went vegetarian for a while a few years ago (I felt amazing by the way).
I remembered seeing something about the Blood Type diet years ago. So I decided to do a little research. Turns out, it’s super accurate for us. He’s type O and does best on a heavy protein diet with little to no grains and legumes. I am type A and do best on a largely plant based type diet. It's all quite interesting and I'm enjoying experimenting with this theory.
It makes sense, though. We’re all so unique in how our bodies respond to everything. Illness, temperature, different workouts, foods. Y’all, we are not all made the same. So why would one way of eating work for all of us.
So I’m curious. What diets have you tried? What’s worked and what hasn’t?
Mindfulness: a technique in which one focuses one’s full attention only on the present, experiencing thoughts, feelings, and sensations but not judging them.
This is how the dictionary describes mindfulness. Being fully present in the moment. Experiencing, feeling, thinking (but not overthinking).
But why is this important? Isn’t it just a fad? If it is, I highly recommend you grab hold of it and don’t let go! Society would have you believe there’s no time for such things. We’re too busy. We have to do this. We have to go here. We’re lucky if we have time to sleep and eat, much less find time to “experience, feel, and think.” Unless we’re overthinking of course. Most people seem to have plenty of time for that.
But what if we just took time to stop and hear what our bodies are trying to tell us? What if we took time to listen to what God and the universe have planned for us? What if we learned to let go of expectations and take time to just be?
I recently picked up a special edition of Mindful magazine. In it they address things like chronic pain, inflammation, stress, sleep, and even befriending illnesses like cancer. Much of this is done through meditation (that’s a topic for another blog). I don’t know if you’ve looked much into meditation, but it’s the everything mindfulness!
The more we can become fully in the moment, the more we learn to take control of our thoughts, the more at peace we become. In all aspects of life. The more focused we become on the important things in life.
So, who exactly is mindfulness for? Everyone!
When should you practice mindfulness? When you wake up and when you go to sleep. When you’re at work. When you’re working out. When you’re deciding what to put into your body. Pretty much, always.
How do you practice mindfulness? Start small. Find some short guided meditations online (Audible has a few). Take a few minutes a day and journal your thoughts. You’ll find yourself becoming more and more aware as time goes. Before you know it, mindfulness will be a healthy habit! And if my own life is any indication, you’ll begin to feel so much better in every area of your life!
Bottom line is this: In order to move forward, in order to achieve our goals, in order to reach our dreams and live the lives we want, we must become mindful. We must focus on one moment at a time. We can’t get too far ahead of ourselves or we lose sight of what needs to be done now, of what we need now. We can’t focus on the past because it’s already gone. Take your lessons, learn from them, and move forward, into the now. Live in the moment. Experience, think, feel. Right now. In this moment.
Are you ready to take hold of your health? Start with my guide on developing a holistic lifestyle. Check it out here.
Let me start by saying I used to despise yoga. It was not my friend. I didn’t see the point in it. It was too slow. How could you get any kind of benefit from doing so little? Don’t you need weights? Don’t you need to be jumping around or running around or something?
That was then. This is now. I’ve learned to love the yoga practice. I just feel better when it’s part of my life. I don’t feel right when I’m unable to practice it.
I first tried yoga, like really tried yoga, 4 or 5 years ago. It was soooo hard! Not the poses specifically. I was decently flexible when I started. What was hard was the stilling of the mind and the time it takes to go through the poses. Talk about lessons in patience! But I soon learned that it really helped with my fibromyalgia. I found myself going back to it and looking forward to it in my workout programs.
In the last couple years yoga has become my preferred form of exercise. It’s my go-to. I keep thinking I’ll try something else but every time I do, I miss yoga and come right back. I’ve had some of the best results all around with yoga.
So, let me share a few things yoga has taught me.
How to listen to my body
How to quiet my mind
To let go of all things unnecessary and/or harmful to me in any way
That it’s ok to not push too hard
That it’s ok to push just hard enough
That those last two are absolutely necessary to a healthy body and mind
That my body is MY body and no one else’s. What works for one doesn’t always work for another
And on that note, my body doesn’t look like anyone else’s, nor should it
So yoga will continue to be my go-to. It will always be a part of my life in some form.
What has yoga taught you? I’d love to hear your thoughts and how it’s changed your life.