Is it the chicken or the egg? Do you love yourself first and then act like it, or do you act like it and then self-love follows? Or can you be in both spaces at the same time?

I think the answer is, all of the above. There isn’t necessarily one path to self-love, but the end result is both thought and action.  The care of one’s body is an indicator of self-love. So, I’ve compiled a few actions that I believe aide physical well-being.

Getting Enough Sleep: It all begins and ends with sleep. You know if you haven’t had enough ZZZ’s you are functionally useless for much of your day. I hate knowing I have to be somewhere and be on, when I’m just exhausted. Your performance is subpar, and you feel like you’re moving in quicksand. Your motor functions are off, your memory and mental functions are diminished. Not to mention you’ll find that you’re doing those nod-offs whenever you’ve got a few spare minutes. Sleep is important because it allows the body to repair damaged cells, it boost the immune system and it recharges the heart and cardiovascular system.  We know that a prolonged lack of sleep can lead to serious health problems, like high blood pressure, heart problems, strokes and diabetes.

Try to go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day, so that your body gets used to a rhythm. If you’re having trouble getting to sleep, try taking melatonin. When I’m having trouble sleeping I pop a low dose and I’m off to slumberland in less than 10 minutes.  Melatonin is not a drug. It’s a hormone that your body produces naturally, that regulates sleep.  If you think you may have sleep apnea – find out. Go to a sleep clinic and get tested. If you have to wear a CPAP mask to bed and you’re hesitating because you think it’s not sexy, ask your self if heart attacks are sexier.

Get Regular Check-Ups at the Doctors: There are a lot of people that will not go to the doctor, even when they think something is wrong. So many of us were served a constant plate of toxic shame as children and so it’s difficult to feel comfortable exposing ourselves and being so vulnerable, even to a doctor. As we get older, it’s important to know what’s going on in our bodies, because little issues that go unchecked can become big issues down the road.  High blood pressure one day, can lead to heart disease the next. If only you had known, you could have a) taken a pill, b) started a fitness routine…..

Go at least once a year, just for a check-up. Be on top of problems before they cause serious damage. Most people take their vehicles in for maintenance on a regular basis. A warning goes on in my car, every time I start it, that I need an oil change, every 6 months or so. Don’t take better care of your vehicle than you do your body. Treat it like the temple it is and give it regular maintenance checks.

Eat Well: I never learned how to eat well growing up. Nutrition was not a concern of my mothers. We were fed a steady diet of sugar, pastries, cereal, bread, potatoes and dessert after every meal. What I’ve learned is that when you put in good fuel, you get better output and you physically feel better. A lot of people use food as a coping mechanism. That one minute on your lips gives you a temporary happy spike of serotonin, so it feels good. It also gives you an insulin spike which may cause problems on a metabolic level.

Even if you don’t have weight issues the health benefits of eating a nutritious diet are well documented – you maintain a healthier weight, cut your risk of diabetes, heart disease and cancer, you’ll have stronger bones and teeth and you’ll live longer. Conversely the effects of a poor diet can lead to obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, tooth decay, feelings of bloating and stomach ache, lack of energy, focus and tiredness. Give yourself the best chance possible by giving your body the best fuel available. Give yourself every chance to be your best every day. Your body is a Lamborghini so give yourself the high octane fuel you deserve.  Model Kate Moss once said, “Nothing tastes as good as being skinny feels,” though she got a lot of flack for that comment, I think she makes a very good point.

Exercise: A lot of people hate exercise and I get it. Who wants to feel sore, be out of breath and all sweaty? The thing about exercise is that it’s after the exercise that you feel all of it’s benefits. Your respiratory system works better and you’re not so winded after climbing those stairs. Tasks are easier because you’ve built more muscle mass, you look better, firmer, leaner, sexier. You feel better because you’ve got all of those endorphins buzzing around through your blood stream. You sleep better because your body needs that time to recover… the benefits are endless.

You don’t have to live at the gym. You can do 30 minutes a day – everyone no matter how busy you are, can find 30 minutes a day to exercise.  Get yourself a Fitbit and keep track of your daily output. They’re also good for tracking your heart rate and the amount of sleep you get. Make sure that you incorporate weight training into your routine. It helps you to lose weight, burn more calories, protect against injury, gain strength, it aides posture and decreases back pain, it decreases your risk of Osteoporosis and reduces stress.

You don’t always have to be on a treadmill or in a gym. Go for a walk, do yoga, practice Tai-Chi in the middle of a forest, swim, play tennis, go kayaking, or peddle boarding. Have fun with it and incorporate it into your everyday life.

Here’s a few extra ideas I incorporate into my health routine:

Matcha: Matcha is the ground up, powderized, leaves of the Camellia Sinensis plant.   Unless you’ve been living under a rock you should have heard of this wonder plant and all it’s incredible benefits. It’s high in anti-oxidants, high in Catechin which greatly reduces the risk of cancer, it increases energy, memory, concentration and calmness. It’s a detoxifier, immune system booster. It aides in weight loss. It’s a calorie super burner. It makes you feel full. The list goes on and on. It is a little pricey, but when you drive a Lamborghini you can’t skimp on the right type of oil. It does however taste awful – imo, so if you can’t get past the taste, have a little Stevia or raw honey handy.

Apple Cider Vinegar:  This is one of those, “It tastes awful, but it works,” remedies. I tend to think of it like I’m cleaning my biological coffee maker. You know how you run vinegar through the coffee machine to clean it out and get rid of all the built-up guck inside. This is sort of how I see Apple Cider Vinegar working. When you eat sugar, starches, fat and oils your blood is all thick and full of artery clogging cholesterol, but when you consume ACV it thins and cleans out the blood. It lowers blood sugar levels, it helps you lose weight and gets rid of belly fat, it lowers cholesterol and improves heart health, and reduces the risk of some cancers. Not all Apple Cider Vinegars are created equal though. So make sure you get the organic variety and that it contains the word ‘mother’ on the label.  Make sure you dilute it with water first, so you don’t damage your stomach lining, 2 teaspoons before bed mixed with water should do the trick.

NAD Therapy:  Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) is a coenzyme present in almost all of the cells in your body. It helps to metabolize carbohydrates, fats and amino acids. NAD Therapy is a relatively new treatment and it’s been causing waves in the wellness industry, because of it’s incredible health benefits.  These IV treatments are provided intravenously by qualified health personnel. They have anti-aging properties, they increase energy, decreases the risk of diabetes and other metabolic conditions, help you lose weight, reduce pain and inflammation, they aide in addiction recovery, cognitive functioning and have many, many other health benefits. While it’s been around for a few years, it’s just recently become more main stream and several wellness centers are now incorporating it into their curriculum. It can be pricey and if you don’t like needles it may not be for you, but the health benefits are undeniable.

Wayne Fields once said the best six doctors anywhere are sunshine, water, rest, air, exercise and diet and he couldn’t be more right. The problem for many of us is we get so caught up in our lives, in our habits and in our pain that we don’t take the time or put in the effort to properly take care of ourselves.  We wonder why things are getting harder for us and why we’re not functioning properly, but all we have to look at is the way we treat ourselves.

The great thing about our bodies is it has this amazing ability to heal itself. It’s never too late to start. If you’ve abused it for years, you’ll be astounded by how well it bounces back. If you regularly put toxins into your body like drugs, alcohol or cigarettes, seriously look into quitting – whatever benefit you believe you’re getting from your habit, pales in comparison to the high you feel by being healthy.

When we take care of our bodies, we find that many other problems melt away. Stress, fear, shame, fatigue, low self-esteem, insecurity, and a list of other issues that hold us back, will no longer apply. When we take care of our bodies we send a message to the Universe that says, “I value myself enough to treat my body with the love, care and respect it deserves.” It is your vessel, your vehicle, that allows you to do all the things you want to do. It goes with you everywhere. Whether you drive a Lamborghini, or a beat-up old Dodge is up to you. The keys – are in your hands.

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Written by Savannah Grey
Savannah Grey is a Freelance Writer, a Hypnotherapist, Consultant, Sports Fanatic, and Philosopher and has a degree in Psychology. She is the founder of www.esteemology.com, a website dedicated to educating and healing survivors of abusive relationships.