Finding Ways to Love Yourself

hearmindValentine’s Day is a time of year when we show our love and gratitude to the special people in our lives. We shower our loved ones with shows of affection, not only on this holiday, but also in our daily lives year round. We all want to make others feel loved and admired, but what about ourselves? In order to serve those around us in the most meaningful way, self-love is essential.

Many people that consciously embark on a self-love journey are inspired to do so by someone else in their life. Love for yourself lives not only in our minds, but also in every cell of our bodies. Nurturing yourself, mind and body, has been undeniably linked with a longer, healthier, and happier life.

One of the primary ways to cultivate self-love is through exercise. Of course exercise makes you feel good for the superficial reasons – when you look good, you feel good – but there’s so much more to it than that. We’ve all heard it; exercise releases endorphins. These are beautiful little chemicals that your brain pumps out to make you feel good. Improved self-esteem is a well-know benefit of regular physical activity. Exercising, your body releases chemicals called endorphins that trigger a positive feeling in the body. So, even on those low energy days, just show up. If you can just show up to that class or the gym, the second you start moving, your brain will start to reward you. And that in turn will make you want to replicate the feeling. And when you are truly happy, high on life, your amazing mood will positively affect others.

Meditation is another way to really check in with yourself and nurture your mental and emotional health. Many extremely successful people have shared that meditation has absolutely been a key part of their success. Oprah, Steve Jobs, and Sting – these people have testified to the value of daily meditation and even admit that some of their best ideas came to them during this time of introspection. It’s like a daily cleaning for your mind.

In the age of social media, we are constantly being bombarded by everyone else’s thoughts and opinions. Meditation allows us to hear ourselves, and only ourselves, and the insight and wisdom that can come from just paying attention in the moment will surprise you. Even if you feel like you have no idea how to start, you can find a plethora of free, guided, meditation videos online. Just pick one and see what happens. Meditation is like any other type of exercise – just focused on your brain. It does require practice and patience. You don’t expect the rest of your body to change overnight, so don’t expect your brain to learn to meditate perfectly either. But if you stick with it, the rewards can be very satisfying.

So just remember, when you’re sending out love and gratitude to the people in your life, add yourself to that list. Sometimes being the best version of ourselves is the best gift we can give to others.

-by Savannah Swafford, METFitness Coordinator

self-love

Stand Up!

You work out regularly. Keeping fit is important to you. You try to eat healthy meals and snacks. You probably think you are doing everything right as you sit down and relax to watch an evening of television or camp out with your computer game for the night. Stop!

As reported in recent journal and magazine articles, more than half of the average person’s waking hours are spent sitting: watching television, working at a computer, commuting, or doing other physically inactive pursuits. That sedentary life style is difficult to balance even with the 30-60 minutes of exercise you do most days.

Various studies show that people who sat for prolonged periods of time had a higher risk of dying from all causes — even those who exercised regularly.

So what can we do? Breaks from sitting as often as possible –even breaks of one minute can improve your health. Exercise is great, but balance your day with activity breaks between sitting times. Time to stand up for yourself.

It’s actually better for your health.9czxobpBi

Happy Valentine’s Day

jogging-heart-12984085As Valentine’s Day approaches, we are all inundated by images on all social media.It seems like hearts adorn everything from underwear to cars. The message is very clear. People love the concept of being in love. Many spend the week prior to Valentine’s Day in a panic, trying to come up with the right card, or gift, for someone special in our lives.

One of the best gifts we can give to someone else is a gift to promote their good health. You could give a gift membership to a gym but that may not result in them actually going to exercise. A simpler gift could be inviting a good friend to join you in a Zumba or Pilates class at a local studio or fitness center. Many people start a lifetime of good exercise habits from one introductory class. Or perhaps, just ask them to join you on your morning walks. Both of you will more readily continue these daily routines if you know that someone is expecting you to show up.

Valentine’s Day is symbolized with a heart. Go ahead and give the heart-shaped card but also give a helping hand to the person you care for to keep their heart healthy.