For many women, our relationship with our bodies is a constant battle. It's a war on fat and flab, and a struggle against aging and perfection. If we shift our mindsets and focus on honoring our bodies instead of berating them, we will feel and look better. Use these eight essential steps to ensure a healthier, more enjoyable lifestyle.
1. Connect with your monthly cycle.
As women, we are lucky to have a monthly health check, courtesy of our menstrual cycle. Changes in our period are often our body's red light that something may be off. Tuning into your cycle guarantees that you'll notice any changes like increased flow, worsening PMS or delayed or absent periods.
2. Sleep for quality and quantity.
If you aren't getting enough sleep, you won't reach the level of health your body deserves. Most adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep each night. Turning off the electronics at least 90 minutes before bed and sticking to a sleep schedule will help you achieve higher quality sleep.
3. Support your body with whole, real foods.
We often hear conflicting nutrition advice. But most nutrition experts agree to eat more vegetables and limit our consumption of processed foods. Stick with foods provided by nature to provide your body with optimal nourishment.
4. Move often with intention and pleasure.
A majority of adults spend a vast part of their day sitting, but the human body was made to move. Exercise alone will not reverse the effects of a sedentary life. Instead, we must find ways to move at low to moderate levels of intensity throughout the day. We should also include occasional bursts of high-intensity activity. Try taking the stairs or pacing while talking on the phone.
5. Reduce stress in your life.
Stress is one of the biggest toxins in most people's lives. Learning to release stress and reduce stressors in our lives should be a priority for greater health. What that looks like for you is up to you to figure out. Maybe you should try meditation or exercise as ways to deal with stress.
6. Spend time in nature.
Dr. Yoshifumi Miyazaki tested the idea of shinrin yoku, or forest bathing, in the forests of Yakushima. His work showed that 40 minutes of walking in the forest, as opposed to walking on a treadmill, lowered stress and improved mood and vigor. Exposure to nature reduces stress, depression symptoms and hostility. It also improves sleep, vigor, and feelings of liveliness.
7. Foster touch.
Of all the senses, touch is the first to develop in utero. Touch is our primary language of compassion. New research shows that touch is fundamental to human communication, bonding and health. One study found that NBA teams who touch more, win more games. So don't be afraid to go in for a hug if a handshake feels too formal.
8. Embrace your sexuality.
Your sexuality is your sexuality. We are all unique. How you explore and embrace your sexuality is your own unique journey. Neglecting our sexuality means neglecting our body's capacity for pleasure.
Focusing on nourishing your body with these eight elements will end the constant battle with your body and lead to a healthier lifestyle. A lifestyle that is far more enjoyable that the constant battle you have been waging all these years.