Whether our day has been great, mediocre or downright miserable, every moment is a new opportunity to feel good about our bodies and ourselves. Here are some ideas for improving your body image and practicing self-care throughout the day.
Of course, you can do any of these activities at any time. It’s up to you. I just wanted to show you the different — and often simple — ways we can care for ourselves from morning to night.
In the Morning
- Write morning pages. Julia Cameron created the idea of “morning pages,” which is simply writing down three pages of whatever is on your mind. It’s a great way to get the gunk out of your head. Many times we don’t even realize that we’re bashing our bodies because we’re stressed out about something else entirely. Or maybe we don’t feel good about ourselves, but those negative thoughts are especially intrusive. Write it down. Release the negativity.
- Eat a nourishing breakfast. What foods do you like? What gives you energy? What flavors do you crave in the a.m.?
- Take a 15-minute walk.
- Take a group class at your gym. (I usually take classes, such as TRX, kettle bell and cardio sculpt, around 10 a.m., which sets the tone for the rest of my day.)
- Or practice any movement that brings you joy.
- Practice deep breathing.
- Set your phone alarm to ring at 2:30 p.m.
- Wear clothes that help you feel great.
- Look in the mirror, and try this exercise from Glenn Schiraldi’s book 10 Simple Solutions for Building Self-Esteem:
As often as you can, stand briefly in front of a mirror or look directly at your body. Instead of noticing what’s wrong (such as a blemish, bags under your eyes, or wrinkles), notice what is right, what is working. Pay attention to your hair, your clean skin, your ability to stand and move, or the color of your eyes. You might consider the wonders [of your body]. If you are stumped, simply move your thumb around and notice the marvelous complexities and varied movements that are possible. Then expand your awareness to other marvels of the body, outside and in.
In the Afternoon
- Check in with your body. Ask yourself: How am I feeling? What do I need right now?
- TASTE your lunch.
- Have lunch with a friend. Challenge each other to avoid mentioning diets or any kind of supposed faults or shortcomings (your looks or any negative traits.)
- Stretch your body. (Try these stretches at your desk.)
- Sit outside for several minutes. Notice the little things like the rustle of the wind and the color of today’s sky.
- Take a 10-minute dance break.
- Pause, close your eyes, and take several deep breaths.
- When a negative thoughts enters your head, find a compassionate alternative.
- At 2:30 p.m. give thanks for your body or anything else you’re grateful for.
In the Evening
- Change into comfy clothes.
- Gather around the table.
- Practice yoga to unwind.
- Take some time to journal about your body and your body image. (Try these prompts.)
- Practice this body scan.
- Think of three things your body helped you do today.
- Send an email to your gratitude buddy.
- Light a few candles, and take a bath. Bring a body positive book in with you. (If you’re like me, and don’t like baths, take a hot shower, and focus on the water against your skin.)
- Apply lotion. Slowly. Golda gave readers this tip in our interview:
…The next time you take a shower or put on body lotion, do it really slowly. Do it at least three times as slowly as you normally would. Pay attention to what you’re doing, the way your skin feels as you touch it, the type of pressure that you like, the way your muscles soften or contract in response, the way your skin changes color ever so slightly. You can do this wordlessly, or just say a word or two, like “beautiful” or “love” or even hum a bit. This is going to feel so different than your usual shower or lotion application session. Notice how your body feels as you move throughout the day. Often, you’ll feel sexier, more relaxed, etc. It’s a beautiful way to instill body love right into your body.
- Fall asleep while listening to a guided meditation. (This website and this one feature meditations for any time throughout the day.)
- Do what pleases you.
- Think of how you’ll celebrate yourself right now or tomorrow.
- Go to bed early.
What are your favorite ways to practice self-care throughout the day? Which tips do you like from the above?