Practicing Self-Love (part 2)

I posted an entry a couple days ago titled Practicing Self-Love where I shared a few methods of doing just that. The third tip on the list was a very general piece of advice that contained a lot of ‘sub-advice’. Given that it was way too broad of a topic for one little paragraph, I said I would post a second entry to break it down.

What I said (in summary) was that an integral part of self-love is quality self-care. I quickly listed the important things (exercise, eating right, sleeping well, meditation, etc) but did not elaborate on any of this or offer details because it would have made for a stupidly long post.

So with all that being said, this is what I had in mind:

1. Exercise
By this I mean at least, at least, thirty minutes of intentional activity every day. Not thirty minutes of casually strolling around the mall. I’m talking about at least one half-hour of good, sweaty effort every single day. Cardio, weights, group classes, home workouts, whatever. Some method of actual exercise that is somewhat challenging (i.e. you sweat) and gets you feeling awesome afterward.

2. Eat Clean
I think we all know the truth here. Whole foods are better than processed ones. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and high-quality lean protein are our greatest allies in health. Colorful foods are generally preferable to white or beige ones. Fast-food is bad for you. Likewise with soda-pop. Seriously – stop with the fast food and soda, that shit is going to kill you. And cut back on sugar overall. I want to make sure we’re clear on this.
Cooking meals at home, even if its things like pizza, tacos, and burgers, will make an enormous difference in the quality of your meals. The biggest benefit is that you have total control of the ingredients and the preparation process. You can start with real whole foods, that are organic whenever possible, minimally processed, not from a drive-thru, and as close to their original form as possible. And seriously, home cooked food tastes better. Everyone knows that.

3. Sleep Well
Quality sleep is so tragically under-valued. People have become too busy, too stressed, too burdened, too over-worked, and too run-down to do the one thing that could make them feel a thousand times better. SLEEP. I’m not going to insist that eight hours every single night is mandatory, because in truth, our fast-paced lives don’t usually allow for quite that much, and that’s old advice anyway. It is really an individually gauged need, but generally aim to reserve 7 to 9 hours each night for quality rest and good sleep. There are a lot of things that you can do to improve the quality of your sleep. One round of Google-searching should lead you to a wealth of ideas on this particular subject. (create dark cool room, no electronics, stop the screen time an hour before sleep, drink chamomile, do relaxation yoga, take a bath, read a book, etc etc etc.)

4. Get Some Sunlight
This is so easy. Take a break around 10:00am or 3:00pm and go for a little stroll outdoors or sit on a sunny bench and watch the breeze blow by. Just go outside when the sun is up, but a little lower in the sky, and absorb some of that warm, glorious, and incredibly essential Vitamin D!

5. Practice Meditation
No doubt this is much easier said than done. But there is a reason why hundreds of lifestyle experts around the world are constantly telling people to adopt a meditation practice. The reason is simply that doing so is absolutely life-changing. Meditation has a vast and rolling effect on all aspects of our lives. It is probably the single-best thing you can do for your total health because you are changed from a deep place within and that change spills over into your daily life-choices. All you have to do is take some time each day (like 20 minutes) to just practice stillness, to release from the obsession of doing, and be content in the present moment just to breathe and absorb nourishing prana. Here is a blog I posted recently about beginning a meditation practice.

6. Read
Another easy one. I suggest making time for quality reading that encourages creativity and personal growth, but that means different things to different people. If you are deeply inspired by or can become blissfully lost in an engaging piece of fiction, then by all means, go for it. If now, maybe you’d be better to seek out books, magazines, and periodicals that address your intellectual, emotional, or spiritual needs or desires. Either way, you can use reading as a means to overall deeper understanding and empathy in life.

7. Laugh, Pray, and Spend Time With Your Loved Ones
By this, I mainly mean to nurture yourself through laughter, light, and love.
Laughter really is the best medicine. It can turn a person’s a whole day around. You can watch funny movies, recall your most-loved jokes or humorous memories, and visit the websites that always make you chuckle. I personally like the autocorrect-fail blogs out there – they are too freaking funny!  And hey, why not share it with others? Give someone else a reason to laugh and brighten their day.
Prayer is another one of those things that is said to work wonders. This is centuries-old advice because its true. Prayers of gratitude, peace, questions, and troubles are meaningful and bring spiritual guidance to our lives. It doesn’t matter your religion, its the praying that makes a difference. I once witnessed a family begin their prayer by joining hands and saying together “God, Goddess, Universe…” as if to include any-and-all possible energies. Its simply about coming to commune with the divine and seeking that guidance.
Lastly, but most certainly not least, the paramountcy of spending time with your loved ones. Family and friends, and even those that we pass shortly along the way, but who touch our lives somehow. We have to take time out of work, chores, and responsibilities to let go and be among those we care about. We’re only given a certain amount of time with each of the people we are involved with throughout our lives. Do not waste that time, spend it. Be with these people and share quality moments together talking, eating, traveling, and laughing. Absorb the love, value, and wisdom that your loved ones have to offer you, and give of yourself freely in exchange.

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Some of my favorite resources for these topics are:

SmartphOWNED
National Sleep Foundation

Yoga Journal 
The Chopra Center
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© Danielle Hewitt (of Loving A Fit Life) and DanielleHewitt.com (including LovingAFitLife.com) 2011 – 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Danielle Hewitt and DanielleHewitt.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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