“Listen to your body” is something that is often easier said than done for many. For me, the art of knowing my limits; what I need and what I can let slide has changed so many things for the better.
It is so important to familiarise yourself with how your body speaks to you. It’s about being mindful, having a clear head and being in tune with the things that do and don’t make you feel good.
Of course it’s no revolution that January is the time where all you want to do is reset. You’ve most likely hammered yourself with late nights, over working to get everything finished before Christmas, eating too many of the foods that have left you feeling quite frankly, awful!
January is more often than not an extreme case of hearing what your body has to say; it’s craving the veggies, some early nights, a lot of water and some general TLC. Your gut is also probably turning on it’s head with wanting to be looked after, seeing as the 3 main things that wreak havoc on your gut are saturated fats (all that Christmas cake, the mince pies & brandy butter and not forgetting the cheese), the endless glasses of wine that are likely to cause the bad bacteria to multiply and leak out of your gut into your bloodstream and last but not least the copious amounts of sugar – that isn’t only in your choccies & mince pies, it also hides in the cranberry sauce and the honey roast ham!)
Learning to listen to your body
Before you jump to any conclusion about the fact that this sounds like a totally obvious thing to know how to do… I want you to remember those times where you’ve felt the beginnings of a sore throat. The scratch as you swallow before you’ve headed out for a night out. The times when you have done something that you had a gut feeling you shouldn’t have and the outcome has been bad. Or an occasion where your intuition has said go for the greens and you’ve reached for the beige… These are exact examples of when you’r mind/body has been telling you to do something and you haven’t listened and then have been frustrated or let down by the outcome. And guess what – the only person you really have to blame is yourself.
A brief explanation is that actually this is one of the first catalysts of a lack of self love, motivation and care – and the more and more you continue this pattern, the worse off you are going to find yourself.
So, it’s a new year, let’s put this to a stop! Here are a handful of ways that you can eliminate forgetting to listen to your body:
It probably doesn’t come of much as a surprise that this is top of my list because it is something I really depend on. Mindfulness comes in all shapes and sizes, it is a practice in which we learn to consciously direct our attention to our inner and outer experience in the present moment without reactivity or distraction. Do you ever find yourself worrying about the future or dwelling on the past? Mindfulness will help bring you back to the present moment. Mindfulness can be applied to most things; mindful eating, mindful loving, mindful driving, mindful talking, mindful working out and mindful drinking are all things that instantly spring to mind.
With mindfulness, nothing changes yet everything changes. For example, you’ll still have to do the jobs you hate, you’ll still have to sit in traffic and you will still be irritated by the things that irritate you. BUT what changes is the way you interpret these situations; there is a sense of peace and calmness that once wasn’t there.
Mindfulness can be a part of your meditation, or can be practiced throughout the day; making sure that you are focusing your awareness on your experience in that present moment… Almost as an observer.
Switching off the social / diary planning
This is such a simple task and quite literally takes blocking out two days of your week in your calendar. This then means that you are allocating time to recuperate and get an early night, spend some time at home doing the jobs you always ‘put off’ and then get bogged under with, have a self-care evening or even go to the gym / a yoga class or something that you may not otherwise make time for. Of course if you block out a couple of days and then you realise that there is something important happening, you don’t have to stick to the ‘no plans’ that evening, but it’ll make you check-yourself before automatically saying yes to everything and then feeling run down and deflated after.
Always remember you have a choice; you create the life you’re living.
Saying ‘no’ is something I find incredibly liberating. Since learning how to make it a part of my life, I’ve felt so many things fall into place. If you identify yourself as a ‘people pleaser’ then you are exactly the person who will benefit from this.
Know that your time is valuable. Learn where your priorities are. Be assured that saying ‘no’ doesn’t make you a bad person. Give it a go!
Prepare to have increased energy and live a more enjoyable life.
…Last but not least, Gratitude
The characteristics of someone who pays gratitude for their life: less self-centred, more spiritual, deeper relationships, kinder, improved decision making, more optimistic, improved sleep, more energy, less envious and happier memories. Sounds great, right?
Gratitude makes you appreciate the value of something, and when you do this, you are able to extract more goodness from things. A few weeks ago I made a list of all the things I’m grateful for; the small things and the big. And then each night I try and say one thing that I am grateful for from the day, the more and more I do this, I realise the impact it has. Remembering something you’re thankful for from your day can turn one of those days you’d rather skip by, into something great (or at least, better!).
“Gratitude will shift you to a higher frequency and you will attract much better things.”
I hope this year brings you much happiness. xo