A more mindful approach to your health
Could you practice taking a more mindful approach to your health?
Try paying attention to how you feel, the signals your body is sending you, and what would truly serve the needs you have.
This week I’ve been super tired due to 6 days of very interrupted and short sleep from settling an extremely anxious dog in our home for a 3 month stay. In the past I would have grabbed for multiple coffees as the solution. Now I adopt a much more mindful approach and know that what my body really needs is sleep – so I’ll fit in a nap and go to bed earlier for a few days.
When noticing that you’re tired, instead of plying yourself with caffeine, could you acknowledge that the true solution is sleep?
When noticing that you’re hungry, could you respond by eating now, rather than waiting for set meal times? Could you choose food that you feel like, instead of what you think you should have?
When noticing that your back is stiff, your legs are feeling restless, or your concentration is waning, could you get up from your desk and go for a little walk (even if it’s just around the office), rather than sitting for hours uninterrupted?
When noticing joint or muscle pain, could you book an appointment with a physiotherapist and pause your exercise, instead of making the injury worse?
When noticing that your fuse is short, your emotions are running high, and you feel under pressure, could you respond with some time out enjoying an activity that makes you feel good? Could you say no to a few things, slow down your commitments, instead of pressing forward like the world will fall apart without you?
Mindfulness for more than just eating
You’ve probably heard of intuitive eating as the way to use internal cues for eating rather than external rules. You can also adopt this more mindful approach for your movement, stress levels, sleep etc. Could you practice paying close attention to how you feel physically and emotionally, and give yourself what you really need?
Don’t expect to be able to do this instantly
It will take practice and patience if you’re used to ignoring your own needs. You may need expert professional help to decipher what your body is telling you, or what your needs are – (eg. GP or dietitian).
Note: Of course it may not be feasible to immediately respond when you’ve worked out what you need. For example, you might need sleep, but that can’t be done at work or whilst you’re caring for small energetic children. Being mindful is not a rule, or something that you fail at. It’s not wrong to turn to other methods to cope, and it’s certainly not wrong to drink coffee! Sometimes it’s exactly what you feel like! It’s just that practicing giving yourself what you really need will bring huge benefits.