When was the last time you Savored your body?
Meaning, when was the last time you paused to notice the marvel that is your body?
How it continuously, unconditionally takes care of you? Allows you to experience being human - the good, bad, and ugly parts.
All the while making sure your heart keeps beating, your lungs keep breathing, and so much more.
I saw this seasonal marketing campaign as I walked into a local grocery store just before Thanksgiving. I love seeing other food-related businesses pick up on the beauty of this word.
At Alpine Nutrition the word savor and the concept of Savor Food & Body isn't seasonal. It's the foundation of my nutrition counseling practice and quite honestly, worth embracing for the rest of your life.
These 5 steps are how I define Savor as a foundational practice for all my clients, students, and retreat guests...step 1,
S = Stop. Take a mindful minute to check-in with yourself
If your day-to-day existence, with its ever-growing to-do list, rarely if at all includes time out to check-in and notice what your body needs, then I'm guessing that you probably run on auto-pilot most of the time. Am I right?
Now that we're nearly 9 months into our new reality of pandemic-living, like many of my clients, you may have noticed that while your to-do list has been adapted to COVID-style, it hasn't necessarily shrunk. Home-schooling, keeping up with your full-time career, Zooming from one meeting or activity to the next, life is still busy.
It's understandable that finding time to check-in on your body's needs probably isn't on the top of your list. But it needs to be, and it doesn't have to take a bunch of time or add stress.
Mindful minutes are just that - 60 seconds of pause. Stop whatever you're doing and just breathe for 60 seconds. While doing so, ask yourself, what am I feeling in my body right now? What do I need right now?
This creates space for step 2...
A = bring Awareness to your body's needs - physical, emotional, and spiritual
Reflect on what you're feeling in your body and what you need with curiosity, compassion, and without judgment. It doesn't matter if you can actually do or get what you need. The point here is to pause, check-in, and increase awareness of your body and its needs.
Curiosity and compassion are your allies here, allowing for step 3...
V = Validate those needs. They matter. YOU matter.
As a busy, active, middle-aged woman, I don't think you can hear this enough. You matter. Your needs matter.
Whatever sensation your body is feeling, whatever need comes up during the mindful minute, it's valid. It's not selfish. It's not silly. It's not too much to ask. And you don't need to apologize for it.
The physical, emotional, and spiritual body needs come from being human. They are the result of living through all the complexities of being a female in our diet-wellness-beauty-anti-aging-can't-do/be-enough culture.
Validating your needs is like giving your body, mind, and soul a big self-compassion hug. It gives you permission to be a care receiver as much as you are a caregiver. It also opens up your mind to consider how you can meet those needs...
Creating space for step 4.
O = consider Options for meeting your needs. Get curious. Stay compassionate.
Meeting your body's needs doesn't have to take a bunch of time, resources, or planning.
You have options! Once your mind is open to the fact that your needs matter, you're more likely to see multiple options ranging in time and resources.
For example, here are some brainstorms to get you started...
Enjoying a cup of tea or coffee while staring out the window, people watching, or writing in your journal for 10-15 minutes could be enough to hit your reset button.
Eat breakfast or mid-morning snack if you're not hungry 1st thing in the morning
Taking a 20 minutes nap or a walk after lunch
Eat lunch - preferably sitting down, away from your computer
Zoom call with a friend while the kids' study
Ordering take-out giving you a night off of meal planning/prepping and supporting local restaurants/food trucks
Have your water bottle on your desk. Sip it often and refilling regularly
Eat snacks when your energy level starts to dip. Keep non-perishable, grab'n go type snacks close by your desk - nuts, dried fruit, fresh fruit if working from home, pretzels or crackers, hard cheese, chocolate.
Start a 5-minute meditation or yoga/stretching practice, increase as your time and interest allow
Soothe your body and hydrate your skin with a favorite lotion after a shower. My personal favorite is anything from Wild Carrots Herbals
The possibilities are endless!
The most important part of whatever you choose...Step 5.
R = Reflect on and Release the choice you made to meet those needs. Again, get curious and stay compassionate.
Once you've cared for yourself by honoring your body's need, check-in again. How are you feeling in your body now - better, neutral, worse? Do you feel a sense of peace or more anxious that you took time away from your to-do-list?
Again, NO judgment. NO shoulding or shouldn'ting on yourself. Remember your needs deserve to be met so that you can resource yourself for other people and projects that matter most in your life.
No matter how you chose to meet your needs at the moment, no matter if you were able to fully savor the experience or not, release the choice from judgment. Move on with your day.
The fabulous part of the human experience is that it's a practice of trial and error. So is developing a Savor Food & Body practice. There's no failure, only learning experiences.
By savoring as many moments as you can with your body you can learn so much. Most importantly, you'll be learning from a place of embodiment (being in your body) instead of always over-analyzing and criticizing (being in your head) your body and its need for nourishment, movement, love, and respect.
Pick one moment today to Savor Food & Body. Then let me know how it goes!
If you're ready to create a SavorFood&Body practice and reclaim your health from diet culture, download the FREE SavorFood&Body Guide
Cover photo courtesy of PCC Natural Markets, Seattle, Washington