Our life choices either deplete us or nourish us. They affect us physically, emotionally and spiritually, usually all at the same time.
We can feel our choices down to the bone, in our gut and around our heart space. Our bodies speak to us, loud and clear, positive or negative.
Most of us agree that maintaining good health through diet, exercise, and stress reduction is important. In recent years, I’ve come to notice yet again that these avenues to self-care are indeed closely connected.
Moreover, I’m grateful that my 60s are bringing some deeper lessons about what nourishment can really mean.
I don’t know when I stopped obsessing about getting enough exercise.
Certainly, I loved going to the gym in my 30s and 40s, bouncing and kicking along with the enthusiastic aerobics instructor. I also remember being puzzled, then aggravated, in my early 50s when those last 10 pounds refused to disappear despite my activity level.
Between then and now I forgave myself for carrying around those pounds. Yet I became more committed than ever to my good health.
Many of us may still be searching for the perfect exercise routine. We want any physical program or regimen to feel enlivening and fun – and not like a chore.
And we know that a healthy body needs movement.
At this stage, we’re discovering ways to move that are in alignment with the unique rhythm of our lives. Whether we do gentle stretches or a full workout, our movements can be celebrations of the miracle that is the human body.
We are in the season of life when we’re letting go of a lot of things. Full-time work demands, unnecessary belongings or relationships that no longer uplift us.
There are countless ways to lighten up. Releasing what we no longer need, even the small things, improves our physical well-being and our spirit.
As I’ve lightened up in other areas of my life, my body is somehow responding in kind. This wasn’t planned, and it’s been a bit surprising.
We all see evidence that our bodies are a reflection of our inner selves. A lighter heart and an easier lifestyle support a healthier path. Our bodies, one way or another, will usually let us know if we’re on the right track.
These days it’s easier to pay closer attention to the things that feed me. Sights, sounds, aromas… slowing down has increased my appreciation via all the senses.
This appreciation applies to food, too. Rushing, grabbing something on the go and eating what’s quick were habits suited for a different time of life, if they were ever suitable at all. Taking time to prepare meals – or to relish the gift of someone else’s preparation – elevates nourishment to another level.
Giving ourselves permission to slow down helps us stay in the present moment and notice what feels best for us. Listening closely, then choosing accordingly, will nourish us every time.
I can’t say enough about rest, and sleep is the Queen of the Resting State.
Experts are weighing in, too, including Ariana Huffington. In her book The Sleep Revolution, Ariana credits sleep for everything from increased brain activity to a recovering economic climate.
We each require a minimum amount of sleep to perform at an optimum level. But even if we’re still longing for a restful night, we can honor our need for rest at other times.
Short naps, 3 deep breaths, 10 minutes to close our eyes. Resting whenever our bodies need rest is the simplest way to tap into the body’s wisdom.
All the messages we receive about how to truly nourish ourselves are worth their weight. If we add a dose of self-compassion, as in forgiving ourselves for those ‘last ten pounds,’ those messages are worth their weight in gold.
What are you doing to nourish yourself in the New Year? How are you feeding your body and your spirit? Please join the conversation below!