No one ever hates his own body, but feeds it and takes care of it just like Christ does for the church ~Ephesians 5:29 (CEB)
It is easy for most of us to take care of the basic human needs like eating, bathing, and grooming. These are things we do without thinking and without a question so we can survive. Knowing that the body requires food and water in order to survive, we typically make sure we eat regular meals and drink a fair amount of fluids even if it comes in the form of fast food and soda or juice instead of the recommended daily water allowance. Why do we opt for the easily acceptable unhealthy routines instead of what the body actually requires? Why are those who eat healthy and drink plenty of water looked at as ‘the healthy’ ones? We all make sure we breathe in and out so we can live another day and hopefully a full day, so why don’t we all make sure we live an intentional balanced life for wholeness? Let’s talk about loving yourself from a different perspective.
Are you taking preventive measures to watch your meal choices, especially sodium, and sugar intake? If high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes runs in your family, what are you doing to discount the widely acceptable belief that you will also inherit these illnesses? Tip: Just because it seems to run in your family, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to prevent it from occurring to you. Try cutting out one thing at a time – soda, adding salt to your meal after it is cooked, or those midnight snacks. I am a witness who does not have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, nor diabetes, yet it runs in my family. I am not bragging, but giving God the glory for having me shift my eating in my 30’s. Loving yourself requires you to feed your body the proper nutrition so your energy levels and your alertness are where you need them to be.
Do you accept being overweight, winded while walking, and unable to enjoy playing with the children, grandchildren, nieces or nephews because your joints hurt, you can’t catch your breath, and you tire easily? Tip: Just because it requires hard work and consistency, doesn’t mean it is not within reach. Start by parking further away when going to the grocery store and walking. Try taking the stairs at your pace instead of riding the elevator. Do not use the cold weather or the lack of a gym membership as an excuse, there are plenty of FREE exercise videos on YouTube. Loving yourself requires your body to sustain a healthy, but active lifestyle that keeps the body fit, limber, and able to easily adapt.
Do you take on more than what your schedule can comfortably allow because you do not want to disappoint? It is perfectly okay to say “No” without providing a long, detailed explanation. It is perfectly okay to admit that you do not have the capacity, the time, or the resources to honor the request. Tip: Just because you may be friends or friendly with the requestor does not mean you are obligated to say “Yes”, nor does it make it acceptable for them to subtly cause you to feel guilt if you decline. Those who have a true, relationship with you will still have a true, relationship with you if you are unable to fulfill a need they have. If the relationship changes based on your availability to and for them, perhaps the relationship needs to be re-evaluated. Seasons change even for long time friendships; pruning is a necessary part of growth. Loving yourself requires understanding boundaries that prevent you from over-committing and living a stressed life of burn out.
Live within your means and prepare for retirement early. Financially stable living requires a budget to keep spending from spiraling out of control. Boundaries are also needed in finances when it comes to entertainment, gift giving, and even purchasing necessary large items. Sure, a new car may be the right decision, but knowing the budget for that new car is the difference between living within your means and trying to keep up or show off for whoever you hope is looking. Tip: Just because you may be able to afford it, does not mean it is the right purchase at that time. Managing finances goes beyond a budget and day to day spending, but includes savings accounts (multiple accounts for vacations, gift giving, ‘rainy days’ and more), 401K and investing, as well as charitable giving. Loving yourself reflected in finances results in stable systems that leave you stress free and with flexibility to finance last minute emergencies or getaways.
A stimulated mind is an active mind even when age suggests otherwise. Whether reading, doing puzzles, or coloring, keeping the mind active has proven to prevent as many senior moments and even fight against memory loss. Tip: Challenging yourself to learn something new on a regular basis keeps the mind growing and learning. Choose to learn about a less well-known historical figure, research the area where you live, read to learn a new skill set or language; the possibilities are endless. Take the time to research other cultures, religions, or professions. Loving yourself includes stimulating the mind to keep learning, growing, and expanding as an ongoing habit.