I heard a phrase a while ago that really resonated with me. It was, “we aren’t born hating our bodies. We are taught to.” How real is that statement? In the world we live in, the media portrays the perfect body as thin and lean. And if our bodies don’t match that image, we put a lot of stress on ourselves. Some have even gotten to the point that they develop eating disorders because of how they feel.

I recently had a Food Freedom Coach and a Fitness Coach slide into my DMs. The first told me that she could help me gain freedom from food (whatever that is). I told her I was already free from food because I was free to eat whatever we want. The second coach had never interacted with me before and one of the first questions he asked was, “what’s your weight loss goal?” I told him I was fine with the way my body was and I didn’t have a goal, but I wished him success in the future.

It’s questions and comments like that, that make women feel less than. Or that there is something wrong with the way they look because they don’t look like the models coming down a runway. Instead, we should focus on being kinder to ourselves and our bodies. Most women feel that they’re already being kind, but are they really? Here are five tips on how to treat your body with kindness.

Get The Rest You Need

The first way to treat yourself better would be to make sure that you get as much rest as you need each day. Proper sleep and rest are important for your body because your body needs those periods to conserve energy and make some repairs to your cells. If you don’t get all of the rest you need, then your body will begin to fail in small ways, and you will begin to feel tired all of the time. As you become weaker, you will see a breakdown in the quality of your work, and relationships around you will begin to suffer.

Much of this is due to the fact that it’s hard for a person to feel completely connected to others when their mind hasn’t been allowed to rest properly. Studies have connected lack of sleep to a rise in apathy in some people. As the apathy increases, the subject will begin to connect less and less to those around them until they are completely isolated. So, it’s extremely important to take proper sleep into consideration.

Have Some Fun

Do you ever feel guilty when you take days off or try to do fun things with friends and family? A lot of people feel pressure from their employer to constantly produce more and more. This culture of overworking yourself isn’t healthy and can lead to extreme forms of burnout. The apathy that comes from being sleep deprived can also play a heavy role in diminishing your ability to enjoy things, so this is a place where arresting and allowing yourself to have fun meet. When you are properly rested, you’ll be in a better state to have fun, and if you allow yourself that time, then you can get rid of a lot of the extra stress that you’ve been holding onto each day.

Stay Hydrated with Water

How much water do you drink in a day? Hydration is something that a lot of people overlook, including me. A lot of people have fallen into the habit where they’ve replaced water with different types of soft drinks or juices. These drinks are made of mostly sugars and chemicals, and they don’t provide enough pure water to help you sustain many of your basic functions, so it can be very easy to suddenly find that you are dehydrated to a level that can make you feel ill.

Take a Social Media Break

Technology these days has been very good at absorbing nearly all of the free time that people have. If we aren’t scrolling social media, then we might be playing games on our phones or checking the news or the latest game scores. But recent studies have shown that constant engagement with apps can actually cause a lot of stress in some people.

Social media has made it difficult for many to feel content with their daily life. This doesn’t mean that social media is a bad thing. Sometimes you just need to limit your time on social or at least choose to only follow people who make you feel good about yourself. To help yourself feel better, you may even have to take a step away from social media so that you can focus on more pursuits that involve your well-being.

Pay Attention to Your Body

Self-awareness isn’t always something that comes naturally to people. Sometimes it can take a well-crafted effort for you to learn what is needed and when. This is partially because the world at large expects people to live for their desires more than their needs. Once you have made the choice to get more well acquainted with yourself, you can begin to practice mindfulness so you can learn about the signals that your body puts out to let you know what you really want.

When you’re eating a particularly delicious meal, you might already know that you’re full, but you keep eating anyway. Suddenly you feel so full that you begin to burp, and your stomach makes loud noises. This could be a sign that your body has chosen to let you know that you’ve eaten too much. Learning these signals can help you to stay more comfortable and treat your body with greater care.

Take care of your body and treat it with kindness; we only get one, so love it well.

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