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Mental Health and Self-care: Honoring Your Body 


In my quest to have a better mind, body, soul connection, I’ve been more mindful of adding to my self-care practice, or should I say, my awareness. 

Like when my husband and I were watching the Hulu series, Ramy, the other day. There’s a scene in the first episode where Ramy, a Muslim Egyptian-American, is at a mosque and, while washing himself in preparation to pray, he is reminded by another man in the room to clean between his toes. Something that if you weren’t consciously thinking to do, you might not do at all. 

feet against a wall
Photo by Lucrezia Carnelos on Unsplash

But between your toes is one of the most important places of your body. Each crevice helps support you. Houses the strength to carry you. Day after day. Step after step. So honoring and respecting the spaces between your toes, just as honoring and respecting your body in general, means to clean them.

It got me thinking about the body-soul component of self-care: to honor your body. A concept that makes those extra tough self-care days easier to bear when you think of honoring parts of your body almost as something beyond yourself. Which may seem like the opposite of self-care, but I find that if I can convince my mind that I’m honoring something beyond me, it somehow gives me the strength to do it. Like how postpartum mothers still manage to take care of their babies, who are an extension of themselves, even if they aren’t always able to care for themselves personally. Sometimes it’s just easier to care for someone other than yourself. And that’s why honoring your body beyond yourself is sometimes easier.

I still have days where I can handle very little. Where I’m dealing with shooting pain throughout my body. Where I feel flu-like. Sick. Where getting out of bed and doing something, anything, is effort. Where my motor skills aren’t functioning well. Where I’m clumsy and can’t drive. Where my body feels heavy and uses up its energy quickly. Leaving me drained. Where I’m extremely sensitive and easily triggered. Causing me to need to rest even more often. All while trying not to feel lazy or to beat myself up over all the things I’m not getting done.

In order to help myself, especially on tough days, I’m trying to be more mindful of honoring my body no matter what that means each day. Cleaning it thoroughly or only as much as I can. Moving it as little or as much as I am able to. Nourishing it with whole foods or letting myself have processed snacks. And only doing what I can when I can. Not pushing myself.

If that means I don’t shower until nighttime or not at all, oh well. Or if it means I don’t cook dinner or clean up or interact with others or get all my work done. Oh well. 

We add so many things to our lives. To our days. But really, we’re just meant to be good to ourselves. To breathe in the air. To soak up the sunshine. To nourish our mind, body and soul. To be good to ourselves. So we can, in turn, be good to others. 

Whatever I do, I’m learning to put myself first. My body’s needs first. Giving myself breaks when I need them and telling myself it’s okay. That I’m doing the best that I can. So my body doesn’t feel ashamed that it can’t keep up. So I honor myself.

Like the other day when I didn’t have much physical strength to exercise or to do yoga, I went into the pool that I’m blessed to have, even though the water hurt my skin, and made myself swim a little. Not do rigorous laps, but glide. Tread water. I was doing well until my neighbor started using his blower, so I had to quickly go inside. But it was at least an effort I otherwise wouldn’t have made if I wasn’t so aware of honoring my body. Of only doing what I can when I can, but of doing something. And when I went inside and showered, even though all the physical activity was taking its toll on me, I still took the time to clean between my toes.

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Mental Health and Self-care: Honoring Your Body 


Jenna Grace

Jenna Grace is a writer and educator with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), sensory processing disorder (SPD), premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), social anxiety disorder (SAD) and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) diagnoses. She writes and speaks about topics including healing from trauma, coping with neurological disorder and practicing mindfulness in order to help others and to explore new meaning. Visit her website for more of her stories.


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APA Reference
Grace, J. (2019). Mental Health and Self-care: Honoring Your Body . Psych Central. Retrieved on September 23, 2020, from https://blogs.psychcentral.com/neurodivergent/2019/07/mental-health-and-self-care-honoring-your-body/

 

Last updated: 26 Jul 2019
Statement of review: Psych Central does not review the content that appears in our blog network (blogs.psychcentral.com) prior to publication. All opinions expressed herein are exclusively those of the author alone, and do not reflect the views of the editorial staff or management of Psych Central. Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.