This last year has felt like 10 combined into one. It hasn’t been easy for any of us and during this time I feel a lot of us (or I know at least myself) have at times neglected to take care of ourselves. Pouring that extra glass of wine on a weeknight, order fried take out for the 4th night in a row. I am guilty.
It would probably be accurate to say that everyone has heard the phrase “treat your body as your temple,” or alternatively “my body is my temple.” Sometimes these concepts are dismissed or laughed off, but in many cases they are more or less embraced – at least in theory – as a good basic ethos to carry around in life.
Whether you notice issues with your eyesight and decide to consult an eye doctor, or just know that you would feel better if you tidied up your diet or got more exercise, there are a lot of benefits to be had from treating your body as your temple.But how do you actually go about embracing that ethos successfully, without driving yourself crazy?
Here are some tips.
Have fun with the process, rather than making it a form of self punishment
“Health practices,” in general, tend to be associated with difficulty and struggle in a variety of different ways.
Last year I decided I was going to run my first half marathon. I did it, but in the process realized how much I dreaded running. And so after reaching my goal I fell back into old habits, coming up with excuses not to exercise.
When you think of “living healthy” or “living clean” there is a good chance that the images that come to mind are things like relatively unappetizing looking salads, difficult early morning runs, and having to turn down birthday cake when it’s on offer.
Rather than viewing the concept of “treating your body as your temple” in terms of self punishment, look for ways to have fun with the process, and don’t be too rigid and dogmatic with yourself, either.
I traded in my running shoes for a spin bike and have never been happier.
If you can take up some physically active pastimes that you really enjoy for their own sake, and can find ways of tidying up your diet in a way that you find tasty and manageable, and that you can stick with about 80% of the time, then you’re off to a great start.
Begin with the basics – by getting your sleep cycle right, and then moving on to food, breathing, et cetera
There are many different pastimes and practices that contribute to good overall health, but it is generally a good idea to start with certain fundamentals before getting carried away with all the fine tuning.
First and foremost, start by getting your sleep cycle right so that you can wake up each morning feeling rested, and can be relatively in sync with the natural rhythms of the world around you, and of society as well.
To do this, avoid eating for a few hours before bed, go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning, expose yourself to bright light first thing in the morning, and limit your exposure to blue light in the evening.
Once you have this pillar of health sorted out, it will be a lot easier to get the rest of the pieces lined up.
Pace yourself, and avoid overexertion
There’s a very detrimental idea that is fairly common and popular these days, which is that – particularly with regards things like exercise – more is always better, and that the idea of “pacing yourself” a code word for laziness.
Ultimately, however, pacing yourself – ensuring that you are pushing yourself, but not too much – is essential for avoiding both physical trouble, and also psychological burnout.
And just remember friends, your body truly is a temple so take care of it and give it a hug every once in a while.