Welcome to part 1 of my 5 part series on living a balanced life!
After a year of quarantine, technically more, and I am still struggling to find balance. I feel like I’m probably not the only one either. Even if I got used to the “new normal” as people like to say these days, things are returning, little by little, back to the old normal- traveling, working together, school, and the pre-covid life. Another transition, which for me, means a period of adjustment and chaos. It means, balance isn’t going to come easy, it’s something I’ll have to actively work towards.
There are many different ways to define a balanced life, and it varies from person to person. As a polytheist pagan, I like to look at the concept of balanced life in terms of the five elements- earth, air, fire, water and spirit. It feels right for me. I don’t believe I’m alone in this, nor do I believe I invented this. And my associations might not be your associations. I can’t tell you where I came across this, only that as I began to investigate my life and how I could better balance things, these were how the aspects of my life seemed to fall into place.
Today, I’m going to talk about our physical self care- our body and the representative aspect of Earth in our life. This is the part of our self and space that grounds us. It is something we can literally touch, and that touches the Earth. Our bodies are our foundation, where the rest of the aspects are housed.
The physical needs of our body represent the Earth. It is our health, our nutrition and hydration. It addresses our physical needs like food, water, vitamins, and exercise. The physical can be easy to ignore. For a long time, I would go through my day without prioritizing physical self-care. I would never think about why I was feeling so lousy, blaming stress, the weather, or some other scapegoat. It was only after numerous times of working on my physical health and realizing that correlation of how I felt after. I’d work out, or go on a “health binge” and feel better, than slack. Sometimes it would take a day or two, but I’d start to feel a side effect- a return to that sluggish, lousy feeling that I had before my exercise and nutrition stint. It was a “A-ha!” moment.
My body was telling me it’s needs, and I was given signs that I was out of balance. Now, if I don’t eat well, don’t move, don’t shower, and even don’t drink enough water, I feel it. I listened to my body, but I’m also more proactive in taking care of it. I’m not perfect though- taking care of my body is hard work, and years of neglect have taken a bit of a toll.
You might think you don’t have time to workout, or feel up to a diet, and honestly, I hear you on that. My perspective isn’t that we need to do all sorts of big things but little things here and there will help. Eat a healthy breakfast by dropping sugary cereal and filling up with protein and vegetables. Or at the very least, a hearty oatmeal. (Ok, so oatmeal is my first love and breakfast of choice!) Learn about simple carbs versus complex. Take short walks, or simple stretches to make your body looser. Even 10 minutes a day will make a difference. Drink water or tea more. Get one more glass than you’d normally get, and move up from there.
This isn’t about weight- fatness/thinness is not the focus. It’s health (Only you and your physician can determine your health.) and the care of your body, which is the temple for your soul while here in this world (or so I believe. You might believe differently, that’s ok! We can still agree that our bodies are important!) We are here for a good number of years, so taking care of it is ideal. Any act we take to care for our body can be considered sacred as well.
Here are some other ideas that might seem mundane, but can easily be considered sacred because it’s taking care of you:
Brush your teeth
Brush your hair
A hot bath (Don’t forget some herbs, bubbles, bath bombs and/or oil!)
Medical care (don’t put it off!)
Eating unprocessed (or less processed) foods, rich in vitamins and nutrients
Drinking herbal tea
Getting a massage
Take a walk
Take a hike
Start a workout program
Get enough sleep
Rest and relax
Let your feet touch the Earth
Let your skin soak in a little sun (Use sunscreen to avoid being sunburnt though!)
Be in front of the mirror, let go of judgement, and love all your parts, flaws and all. Every flaw is a part of your story- good or bad.
Even just one of these things honors your physical body. Even the smallest thing is an act of working towards fulfilling the care of your physical aspect, and thus, working towards balance. Plus, it makes you feel good, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Self-care is self-love!
Stay tuned for parts 2-5 of Balanced living, coming soon!
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