As we count the days and hours to jump into the New Year, your inbox and Social Media will bombard you with “New Year, New You” plans to lose weight, get in shape and “make up” for all the sins you’ve committed during the Holidays.
And then, once you’ve been “punishing” yourself for the whole month of January by starving yourself and “beating yourself up” at the gym, they’ll ask you to “take care” of yourself as we gear up to Valentines Day. It will be all about relaxing, pampering and caring for yourself with chocolate, teddy bears, flowers, massage vouchers and spa days.
It gets predictable, doesn’t it? January is about suffering, February is about caring… and, year after year, we fall into the same trap.
So, before we jump into all this madness, I would like to offer an alternative: LOVE YOURSELF. What do I mean by that?
When you love yourself, you respect your body and your health. So, instead of starving or binge eating crap, you nourish your body with nutrient-dense food. You invest in good quality food and take time to cook it nicely, so you can fully enjoy it. You eat slowly and mindfully, and you focus on the flavors and textures. You stop eating when you’re satiated, in order to avoid unnecessary storage and toxic waste building up in your body. Food fuels your body, mind and soul.
When you love yourself, you honor your body as your temple. You keep it clean and tidy. You engage in physical activity that strengthens your muscles and your lungs, promoting elimination of toxins. You gently challenge yourself without mistreating your body. You measure your energy so you can build upon it, instead of exhausting it.
When you love yourself, you respect your body’s recovery time. You go to bed early and prioritize your sleep hours. You relax before doing to bed and take some time to wind down.
When you love yourself, you cultivate uplifting relationships with others. You let go of toxic relationships and spend time with people who love you and who want the best for you. You do the same for them: be kind, generous and caring.
When you love yourself, you trust yourself and stop looking outside for acceptance and validation. You don’t need Social Media to tell you what you should think or buy: you make conscious purchases of functional items that help you have a more comfortable life. You don’t compare yourself to others or fall for temporary trends, unless you actively decide you really want something to help you improve an aspect of your life.
So, what does this mean in your daily life? Here are some ideas.
Next time you’re in front of a cake: instead of thinking “I feel like a victim as I am not allowed to eat it. I don’t deserve this cake as I didn’t workout today. I have been eating too much during the holidays, there’s no way I can indulge any more”… how about you tell yourself “This cake would temporarily taste good but I love myself more. I love myself enough to respect my body and not poison it. Instead, I’ll find a healthy, delicious food that nourishes my body and soul”.
Next time you’re at the gym or on your yoga mat: instead of thinking “I am doing to sweat as much as possible so I can burn off all the calories I ate during the holidays. I have to make up for all the time I’ve been partying and indulging”… how about you tell yourself “I am going to clean my body and strengthen it so it serves me and allows me to have a healthy, comfortable life. I will enjoy this practice, listen to my body and respect its limits”.
Of course, you’re human and will fall for unhealthy choices every now and then… and you’ll accept them and move on. No punishment, no beating yourself up, no guilt feelings. Just self-love all the way. Who’s with me?
With love and respect,