Treat your body like a temple. We’ve all heard that notion before. It’s in the Bible too (if you read that) over at 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, if you’re curious. But what does it ACTUALLY mean? How do we treat our bodies better, overall and throughout this year ahead? Well, let’s simplify that!
(Ok, ok, before we get started, let me state the obvious for the record: make sure to talk to your doctor for professional advice on your health and your own body. Today’s episode is just a highlight of my own journey, sharing the insight I’ve learned along the way.)
And here’s the thing… for some people (myself included), sometimes it’s really, really HARD to talk about our own bodies like this. There’s a mental block or a cloud of shame or something else that makes it hard to see a different, more healthy perspective on it all. And if that’s the case for you too, I’ve got an idea… let’s talk about cars, then!
(Never in a million years would’ve guessed that I would have said those words on this podcast…)
1) Your body is just like your car.
Pop quiz time… what state is your car in right now? Like the one you actually drive every day? On a scale of 1-10 (ten being best), how’s your car running these days?
Mine is a solid 7 right now. She’s doing well, we keep the interior cleaner than we have in the past, and I’m paying more attention to how she runs nowadays. However, there seems to be a leak from one of the tubes and every now and again, I need to top her up with clean engine oil.
I drive slow, steady and to the right most of the time.
So, how’s your car doing?
Are there any ‘check engine’ lights that keep coming on or rattling sounds that you keep hearing, but are totally ignoring? How are the tires? Any funny smells? Or maybe, have you noticed it’s become a bit of a tip inside from crumbs, junk and nonsense that’s collected over time?
(Do you see how great this analogy works when we think of our own physical bodies, too!?!!)
The truth is… I’ve never been one to respect or care for my car. I just expect (nay, DEMAND) that it works 100% of the time and that it ALWAYS gets me from point A to point B. Just do your job, you silly, dumb car!
And it hit me recently… up until a couple of years ago, I used to treat my body the same exact way. No respect. No empathy. No compassion. Just do the thing, Mary – ugh, silly knee! Silly ankle… silly tailbone. Stupid belly.
The difference between our cars and our bodies is that if you say a horrible thing to your car, it doesn’t care because it’s an inanimate object. But when you say something absolutely dreadful to your subconscious, your body keeps score.
2) Your body keeps score.
Over the winter break recently, I read that book, The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma by Dr Bessel van der Kolk and it shone a light on so much shame and trauma that has been stuck in my body for decades.
Dr Bessel says this, “once you start approaching your body with curiosity rather than with fear, everything shifts.”
Which is true. Trauma comes in all sizes, both seen and unseen, too… as catastrophic as being in an accident or being teased by a little boy on the playground when you were little. Sometimes, your mind doesn’t know the difference between the two… it all feels hard, horrible, or debilitating, depending on how much weight your subconscious gave that memory. These moments are what make up our lives. They shape us, form us, and are anchored deep down into our identity and beliefs, either as debilitating, or empowering, or neutral.
So take a moment to scan your body with curiosity right now. Scan down from the tip top of your head, all the way down to your toes. What hurts? What aches? Where is your proverbial ‘check engine’ light on and what needs your attention right now?
3) Do something about the warning signs. Like today.
If you want to treat your body like a temple, you cannot ignore the warning signals any longer:
- Maybe it’s time to book an appointment with your doctor and also, your ob/gyn for your annual physical exam?
- Or speak to a nutritionist for guidance on what you eat and drink?
- Maybe it’s time to see a therapist to help you unpack some heavy stuff that needs processing? (I highly recommend CBT therapy and EMDR, personally.)
Bottomline, give your body the attention it needs to catch the warning signs early before the whisper turns into a scream like a heart attack or stroke. Yes, even at this age… it can happen.
4) Take things slower. Temples are meant to be worshiped in, not rushed through.
Just like I’m a slow driver these days, I’m starting to take things slower with my body as well. Gone are the days of energy drinks and cigarettes which fueled me through my early 20s… seriously, how did my body not quit sooner with that junk!!?!
Now that I’m in my mid 40s, I’m much more aware of the food I eat, where it came from, opting for less processed foods, less chemicals and yuck, and more simple, whole foods for my meals. When given a choice, I eat an apple whole, instead of processed applesauce… that sort of thing.
Taking things slower could also look like taking yoga or stretching classes, giving my body a treat by tuning inwards. I take things slow when I go grocery shopping, carefully reading the labels before it hits the basket.
This requires a little ninja-fu – my top tip is going shopping alone, never on an empty stomach, and most times I like to shop when no one is in the store… so either late at night when they are restocking the shelves or during the weekday. Find a time that works best for you.
5) Like your car, make a commitment to take better care of your body, too.
For the longest time, my car looked like a tip! It was so full of junk. But in the last few years, I’ve made a commitment to change that, vowing to take better care of it inside and out. This takes focus, intentional time spent to do daily upkeep, a few added resources (like regular car washes and service checks) and implementing regular routines.
The same goes for my body.
In order for me to treat it like a temple… the one and only body I get for this lifetime, I need to make a commitment to change my old behaviors. Vow to take better care of her inside and out. Take focus, schedule in intentional time spent to do daily upkeep. Add in a few healthy resources (like therapy, yoga and strength training classes and regular doctor visits) – these are the things that ensure my body is thriving.
Remember, if you don’t pick a day to relax, your body will pick one for you.
One final whisper
And just one final whisper, just from me to you, dear friend… come in closer.
- Is it perfect? Hell no.
- Do I slip and over-schedule my life? Yup, that happens every now and again, too.
- Am I going to quit? Nope.
I’m realizing my secret weapon is actually grace, especially in moments when my go-to was shame.
Grace is saying to yourself (when your body lets you down, or in my case, when your period is super heavy, your knee gives out, or you just feel a bit BLEH from head to toe), “hey you… I see you. It’s gonna be okay. You’ve got this, keep going.”
This is the body you’ve been given for this lifetime… so ask yourself today:
- How am I going to be a good steward for my one and only body?
- What can I eat that’ll give me true quality energy, help me build muscle, and heal any aches?
- How will I drink more water and consume less caffeine?
- In what ways can I move my body today that’ll bring me endorphins and pleasure?
- What will I do tonight to ensure I get a good night’s rest?
Keep asking. Keep listening. The answers you seek are within you now.
You can do this, I believe in you.
It’s time to SIMPLIFY.
If this thought of the day inspired you…
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Happy new year, my friends! As you might have heard in the new intro, my last name has changed… more on that in the near future. But for now, I’m sending you my love and encouragement and I look forward to hearing how your vision board creative process went! Reach out and DM me on Instagram at @thesimplifiers and spark a conversation.
Show credits: Suzen Marie, our Podcast Editor and Jeffrey Lynn, our Video Editor. Aubri Nowowiejski, Chris Justice, and George Mills, our advisory board. Big love to Dennis Coleman and Kristen Kurtis, as well. And I’m your host, Mary Baird. Thank you so much for listening and telling your peeps about us.
As always friends, keep things simple.
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