Using Intuitive Eating to support a healthier lifestyle is more than just changing your eating habits. It’s also based on learning how to take care of yourself through building healthy habits.
Having good self care habits in place work to keep you sane when things get crazy and support you in making healthy food decisions. Meaning, it is possible to use self care to support intuitive eating and your journey to making peace with food.
Of course, no matter your approach to eating or dieting, making self-care a priority is crucial to managing stress. And, making yourself a priority doesn’t mean you are selfish, it simply means that by recharging yourself you are better able to support your own life and those around you.
Why is self care so important?
Today, many women like you and me, wear many different hats and have a wide range of responsibilities each and every day.
♦ Maybe a job outside the home.
♦ And then there are the children, partners or other family members that rely on us to cook, clean and much more for them throughout the day.
♦ And what about all the commitments such as friends, volunteer groups, activities and such that we have made or enjoy.
♦ Then on top of all of that we need to make time to take care of our own health.
You get the picture here…It’s a lot!!
What can long-term stress do to your body?
It’s hard to juggle all the many things in our lives. But even more, if we don’t take care of ourselves and manage our own stress, then honoring these commitments and responsibilities just becomes much more difficult. We’ve all heard the saying, “you can’t pour from an empty cup” and that is exactly what happens when we don’t make ourselves a priority.
Even more so, is the issue that the unmanaged or out of control stress in your life will eventually lead to physical, behavioral or emotional problems. Here are just a few…
- Mental health problems including depression and anxiety
- Increase in cardiovascular disease
- Obesity and eating disorders
- Menstrual problems
- Sexual dysfunction including loss of sexual desire
- Acne or other skin issues
- Hair loss
- Gastrointestinal symptoms
- Increased and permanent inflammation in the body which can lead to more chronic diseases
Since we don’t want to get to that point, let’s look at some ways to you can minimize some of the stressors in your life.
How can you reduce stress and use more self care in your life?
Here are just a few ways to use self care to support intuitive eating and a healthy life. Trying to implement these will help you to focus on making yourself a priority and manage the stress in your life.
Ok, this may be overly simplified but getting yourself organized is actually the first step to minimizing stress. An overly messy environment stimulates and creates an inability to focus and be productive. So, start by cleaning off the clutter. Your desk, the kitchen table, the piles of papers or whatever is creating clutter in your home, office and other spaces you spend time.
Meal prep and planning
Meal prep is a specific part of getting organized. Not having to spend time every day to think about what to eat and what you have in the house that you can throw together for dinner will change your life!! I promise!!
Set aside some time, no longer than an hour to think about your schedule for the upcoming week. Think about what meals you need to cook and what meals maybe you need to plan to eat out. Look for quick and easy recipes or meals you can make ahead for busy nights during the week.
After you plan, the next BEST thing you can do for yourself is a little bit of food prep. Taking the time to prepare things ahead of the meal will save you time later on during the week and will make getting dinner on the table less stressful.
We all need time each day to spend in quiet. Whether it’s meditation, communing with nature, prayer or reading a book, it’s important. Using tools such as meditation help me to manage my stress much better. I find that I am less likely to react in anger or frustration when confronted with a difficult situation.
Finding moments of quiet throughout your day is also a helpful tool to learn. Feeling some stress, frustration or anger? Simply, find a quiet place to sit, close your eyes and take a few breaths focusing on the in and out of the breath. It will calm you and you will be better able to deal with whatever triggered your stressful or difficult moment.
You need your friends and fun activities to fill your time. But often, making time for these engagements ends up at the bottom of your list and after a while you begin to feel isolated and unhappy. Set some time aside for a book club, art class, some exercise or just a simple hangout with your favorite pals. Stepping away from your responsibilities will help to recharge you a bit so you are better able to jump back in when you return.
Ask for help
I don’t know about you but this one is the hardest for me. I think that as women we often think we have to do it all. But that simply isn’t the case. You can find help in many ways…
- Ask your spouse, children, friends or other family for a bit of help.
- Hire help to clean.
- Consider using a meal prep service.
- Learn to say no to some activities. You don’t have to always say yes.
- Get a babysitter to give yourself some “extra” free time.
My favorite self care treats
Things like scheduling a spa day may just be out of reach for some of you. Maybe you feel like you don’t have enough time or that it is too expensive or extravagant to indulge in. If that’s the case, here are some products that I have used to make myself feel a bit pampered or to provide me some ways to relax.
Start today with implementing self care as a healthy habit
Since stress can actually be harmful to your health, eating behavior and mind, creating ways to take care of yourself and manage your stress is crucial to building a healthy life. These are just a few of the methods and products that I use to take care of myself. What about you? What brings you stress in life and how do you manage it? Tell me in the comments here.
Want to learn more about how to use self care to support intuitive eating and a healthy life? In my 6-week course, Building Healthy Habits with Intuitive Eating for a Healthier and Happier Life we spend an entire week on learning more about stress and self-care. If you want more information and to find out when the next group is starting, contact me here.
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