A lot of what we see/read/hear today is that we need to eat or exercise a certain way or a certain amount to be healthy and take care of ourselves. What is really meant in most cases is that attempting to manipulate your body shape or size with food and exercise is equivalent to health and taking care of yourself. This is so not true!
The most healthful form of eating or exercise for one person is probably not the most healthful for someone else. This is not to say that we can’t aim to take the best care of ourselves, it will just look different from person to person. Attempting to manipulate your body into something it wasn’t meant to be is not taking care of yourself.
This is where self-care comes in. Rather than spending all our time and energy trying to fit into a certain size (and probably being constantly frustrated), we can spend our efforts trying to take the best care of ourselves, regardless of our body size.
Knowing how to practice self-care takes some self-exploration. For example, I know that I get uncomfortable and short-tempered if I don’t eat often, that I need days or evenings with nothing on the schedule to feel recharged, and that a strict schedule dictating when and how much I should exercise leads to stress and burn out.
Keeping in mind what I know about myself, some of the ways I like to practice self-care are reading, keeping snacks around to eat during the day, having a regular sleep schedule, being flexible with exercise, going on walks, and protecting my free time.
Taking time to learn about and accept the things that make me who I am has taught me how best to take care of myself. Practicing self-care also leaves far less time and mental energy for body dissatisfaction.
What helps you slow down, relax, or be more joyful? Knowing that, what are some ways you could practice self-care?