Our bodies are the vehicles of our life. They allow us to get from point A to point B. And just like a car, when your body is operating at its best, you will have a smoother ride through life. Your body needs the proper attention and care to carry you through the many journeys of your life. Within this pillar, we establish self-love, self-care, and being intentional with our bodies. Guiding your child towards establishing a strong sense of self-love is one of the greatest gifts you could give them. A gift that will last a lifetime and help them find balance and happiness in their life.
So, what does caring for yourself truly look like? What does accepting and loving your body, in all its shapes and sizes, really feel like? Within the body pillar of the Happy Life System, we explore this. It’s within the body pillar that we learn how to be intentional with our bodies and how to listen to them truly. Let’s dive into how to care for your body to ensure it operates at its top capacity.
The Elements of the Body Pillar
Everything we do needs to bring value into our lives. This includes how we care for and nourish our bodies. If you practice good body care, you will operate at your full potential on a daily basis. If you do not properly care for your body, you will be going through life while operating at half-capacity. This can come in many forms. It could be consuming too much sugar, getting inadequate sleep, consuming too much alcohol, or neglecting health issues. You will never operate at your full potential without properly caring for your body.
There are four elements to the body pillar. Let’s dive in!
Proper hygiene is an integral part of properly caring for your body and your health. We are living organisms that need nurture and care, just like all other living organisms do. This is not a passive activity. It takes personal action to maintain good hygiene.
When it comes to teaching your children about hygiene, it’s important that they understand the why behind it. Get them to engage and reflect on how they feel when they are clean. How is their mood if they look unkempt and dirty vs when they feel like they look nice and clean? Get them to examine how they feel when they are clean and caring for their body. Once they understand that they feel better when they have good hygiene, outline what actions they can personally take to keep their body clean.
In some cases, it’s helpful to use visual examples of good hygiene and poor hygiene. For example, this is a photo of teeth that are brushed daily, and this is of teeth that are never brushed. Then, ask them to share with you what differences they notice between the two. Work together with your child to get them to engage and examine for themself why hygiene matters.
Some great ways to explore self-care within the hygiene element of the body pillar are as follows:
- Wash and bathe your body 1x a day as part of your routine
- Brush and floss your teeth every day
- Wash your hands and body when you get dirty from play or work
- Properly care for your hair
- Do a skincare routine
When you and your child begin to explore and put into practice these daily hygiene routines, you will inevitably feel better, look better, and live happier.
The number one way to bring vitality and nourishment to your body is through nutrition. When you practice proper nutrition, you nourish your mind, body, and soul. So how do you properly nourish your body?
Eat with intention! Mindfully become aware of what you are eating and how it is nourishing your body or how it is not. This requires intentional awareness. How does this meal make me feel while I am eating it and after I ate it? Does this food item bring value to my body?
It’s important to teach your child to be conscious about what they are consuming. This also requires allowing them to make food choices for themselves and examine the difference in how they feel after. For example, have them examine and become aware of how they feel after they eat a candy bar versus after they eat a bowl of strawberries. Do you notice a difference in how you feel after that fast food versus the alive food we ate at snack time?
Don’t just tell your child what they can and can’t eat, show them the different effects different foods have on the body. Bring consciousness into your daily life by being conscious of what you consume, and teach your child to do the same. Work towards creating a healthy relationship with food and recognizing which foods bring value to your body and which do not. Don’t create anxiety, stress, or depression around food. Instead, teach your child to make positive choices for themself that will enhance their life.
A great way to give your nutrition element a boost is to start with the following:
- Eat three alive foods a day
- Skip candy and sweets for a day
- Drink enough water daily
- Eat enough vegetables daily
- Eat enough fruit daily
- Try a new food every week
When you incorporate the above six nutrition basics, you will inevitably feel stronger, healthier, and happier.
Our bodies are comprised of a network of living, functioning systems, and these systems need movement. Movement brings energy and oxygen into your body and your cells. It is an essential part of mastering your health. In fact, in order to truly FEEL and experience life, we must utilize our bodies and all its parts.
Exercise does not need to feel like a chore. It should not be dreadful. Exercise can and should be fun! This is one of the easiest body pillar elements to gamify for your child. Set a timer to play outside together for 20 minutes. Choose three songs and dance together through all of them. Create a friendly competition of seeing who can jump the highest and spend five minutes jumping. Something as simple as these incorporate a spirit of play-around exercise and establishes good habits for life.
The daily action step for this body pillar element is simple:
- Give your body daily exercise
If you don’t enjoy exercise, shift your mindset about it. Shift your mindset into honoring your body by moving it in the ways it was made to move. Instead of saying, “I have to exercise today,” say to yourself, “I get to exercise today because my body is healthy and capable.” Daily exercise is proven to lessen your risk of disease, create stronger bones and muscles, and even elevate your mood. Don’t neglect this vital element of the body pillar and the Happy Life System.
Protecting Your Health
Protecting your health is essential to a happy life and the body pillar. Protecting your health starts with making positive choices to empower your body. Practice intentional awareness of how your body feels and what actions you took, or did not take, that resulted in that feeling.
You must take ownership of your own health and teach your child to do the same. Creating a healthy body is a proactive activity, not a passive one.
There are five great ways to revitalize your health element within the body pillar:
- Give your body adequate rest
- Give your body vitamins and minerals
- Exercise your eyes
- Rest your body when ill
- Do regular and routine doctor visits
When you protect your health, you build confidence in the strength and capabilities of your body.
The Enemy of the Body Pillar
The enemy of a strong body is neglect. Neglect will wear your body down. Neglect of cleanliness will lead to bacteria and illness. Neglect of nourishment leads to a lack of energy, illness, and even fogged thinking. Neglected movement leads to lower energy levels and depressed moods. And neglected health inevitably leads to exhaustion, illness, and in some cases, disease.
Loving Your Body
An integral part of the body pillar is loving yourself and loving your body. We all have things that we are insecure about when it comes to our bodies. However, loving your body isn’t about looking a certain way. Loving and caring for your body is about honoring and respecting your body so thoroughly that you want to care for it.
Take the time to truly look at yourself and note the things that you LOVE about your body. The deeper you love yourself, the deeper your child will love themself. They follow our lead, and we must lead by example.
One of my favorite pieces of advice for the body pillar is to love yourself, any shape, any size. That’s right – ANY shape and ANY size. This is achieved when you lean into connecting with your body and acknowledging and appreciating all the amazing things it does for you.
The final piece of strengthening your body pillar is to take a moment each day to look at yourself in the mirror and say something that you are grateful for about your body. At least once a day, slow down, check in with yourself, honor yourself, and say something positive about yourself.
Our bodies are the greatest instruments we have been given to enjoy life. Be mindful of what choices you are making for your body and whether they are enhancing or inhibiting your quality of life. When you master this, you will master your health and also love yourself deeply.