Art in Action is a weekly post: a simple, practical guide to applying the ideas and principles in the Focus Pocus posts to your body and life. As always, I love to hear from you about how you use them and how you translate the ideas into action.
“Every fragment of self-talk is a little story in the head that goes around, and then you look at reality through the lens of the little story.” ~ Eckhart Tolle
Two years ago, I created a routine about Body Love and Self Love called Brave. At the time, it felt brave to go public with my own issues with distorted, unhealthy body image. But life and art, it turns out, are evolving things and as I return to the routine now I feel differently.
Now I want to feel at home in myself and with myself. Now I’m more interested in creating a Self that is kind and balanced and honest and compassionate…and also brave.
Here are some ways of making your body/self-home more comfy and more in alignment with you.
1. Don’t wear it unless you love it.
When you got dressed this morning, how did you feel? If you feel great, awesome. If you don’t, do not put those clothes back in the closet. If you find yourself wearing things that are uncomfortable, that you are tugging at all day, or that you think you should wear because they look professional/sexy/appropriate, for the love of Pete, get rid of them. Put them all in a bag and take them to your local second-hand store or even better, get together with friends and have a clothing swap and find some gems that you love but that aren’t working for someone else.
2. Feed it like you mean it.
Food can be tricky ~ there are so many emotional, habitual, cultural, familial patterns around what we choose to eat. Make your meals an opportunity to be intentional about how you want to feel. If you love coffee but find that the third cup leaves you with a rumbly tumbly, limit it to two so you feel better. If you don’t love green veggies but know that they offer incomparable nutrition, find ways of sneaking them into pasta sauces and omelets and smoothies. If sugar pulls you like a tractor beam but you feel terrible after indulging, look into ways of breaking the habit. (Wendy Vigdor-Hess and Megan Buer have a great e-course that addresses just that.)
3. Move to your rhythms.
Find ways of moving that you love – and that are flexible. We’re not the same day-to-day: today you might be full of energy, tomorrow you might need some restorative practice. Move in ways that are fun and enjoyable (so you’ll keep doing them) but also that are responsive to your changing needs.
4. Rest your sweet self.
Do you find yourself skimping on your sleep? Do you push yourself and book your schedule so you feel you have to stay up late and get up early? Sleep is one of the most important aspects of for your physical, emotional and mental health. There are studies linking sleep disorders to an increased risk of Alzheimer’s (Yikes, right??). Treat yourself as you would a precious child: get yourself some rest.
5. Inspect Your Self-Talk.
Pay attention to your thoughts about yourself. Are they demeaning and critical? Are they self-aggrandizing and puffed up? Are they true? Are your thoughts kind? Is that the kind of talk that would feel good in your home? If not, it’s probably not so cool to have it in your head.
6. Treat Yourself Like a Friend.
Sometimes I just have to wonder at the scathing criticism I sometimes dish out about myself. I’ve often thought, “I would never, ever say anything so mean to anyone else.” Now when I notice a tone of meanness or belittling I check in: would I say this to a friend, to a child, to someone I love? If not, I don’t say it to me.