I love that it's almost Fall...the leaves changing on the trees, crisp mornings, and warm days - roasting winter squash, savoring hearty stews, and preserving the flavors of Summer.
It's also a great time of year to preserve some self-care practices and fortify yourself for the coming holiday months.
Throughout this summer, I've been diving into resources that focus on what it means to cultivate self-care practices. All of the resources stress that creating self-care habits isn't selfish and doesn't have to be time consuming or expensive.
For me personally, self-care includes getting enough time outside hiking, riding my bike, and spending time with people who matter the most to me. It also means starting each day with some meditative stretching that helps my body avoid pain from old injuries.
One of my favorite resources for learning about self-care is The Body Positive. Their Be Body Positive Model® encourages practicing Intuitive Self-care as a way to heal your relationship with food and your body. Any time you can create space to connect with your body's wisdom, healing happens on so many levels.
Cultivating a healthy, intuitive relationship with your body and food takes time, patience, and consistent practice.
By practicing intuitive self-care, you’re able to increase trust in your body which will guide your daily eating, movement, and overall life choices. You’ll learn how to listen to and honor your body’s wisdom so that you can gather tools and resources that will help you eat, move, and live with a greater connection to your body.
Intuitive self-care means taking care of yourself with kindness and compassion, in actions and in words. It means taking a stance against committing acts of violence toward your body such as dieting and excessive exercise. And it means choosing to override your critical voice anytime it aims to make you feel insignificant and unworthy.
In order to practice intuitive self-care, it's crucial that you recognize that you're the utmost authority on your body and your lived experience. There’s absolutely no one else, no matter how many degrees in medicine or nutrition they have, that can tell you how to take care of yourself.
A while back in the post about Reclaim Health, I invited you to test drive any health or nutrition recommendation you heard or read and see if it’s right for your body.
The second piece to that reflection is this.
It’s much harder to experiment with any health recommendations if you don’t already check-in with your body wisdom.
Creating intuitive self-care practices that allow you to get in tune with your body starts with acknowledging that you are a pleasure-seeking human being - we all are.
Seeking pleasure is an ancestral gift handed down through millennia to ensure that our species survives - everything from enjoying a hot fudge sundae to sex to connecting with your tribe (friends).
Being able to feel pleasure from those experiences encourages you to do them more often.
According to The Body Positive, “people who live longer, happier, and often healthier lives are pleasure-loving, pleasure-seeking, and pleasure-creating."
Intuitive eating and empowering movement are two ways you can start adding more pleasurable self-care to your life and begin creating a healthy relationship with your body at the same time.
Intuitive eating is the exact opposite of dieting. Based on your unique sense of honor, fullness, and most importantly satisfaction, is a fundamental self-care practice. It's so basic that it's often overlooked on most self-care recommendation lists.
Participating in empowering movement on a regular basis is another fundamental self-care practice that doesn't require fancy gyms, influencers, or brand-name leggings. It can if that's your thing, but it doesn't have to.
Empowering movement is moving your body in a way that lifts you up rather than making you feel defeated. You can make it as challenging or gentle as your body needs on any given day. It goes beyond burning calories or earning your food - intentions that are harmful and distract you from getting in touch with your body's needs.
Finally, practicing intuitive self-care also asks you to be more flexible in your mindset. For example, your rational brain may tell you that having a salad for lunch or skipping breakfast is self-care (thanks to a variety of diet-wellness culture recommendations).
But if you eat that salad, notice that you're not satisfied, it's a-okay to grab a sandwich, burger, or slice of pizza and dessert to completely feel nourished from the meal.
There will be times when your rational brain and your intuitive wise brain won't agree. No problem. Just check-in, stay curious and take a mindful minute to ask yourself what you truly need in a given moment.
This simple act of pausing and getting curious will help you continue to create self-care practices no matter what else is going on in life or what influences maybe knock at your door.
For more tools on how to create self-care practices going into the holiday season, consider joining our upcoming Savor Food & Body 6-Week Online Workshop. You'll receive a ton of practical, action-packed tools, resources, professional coaching, and access to an amazing community of women who are all about cheering each other on through the Savor Food & Body journey. Find details and registration HERE.