Self-care is any intentional action that is used to support our mental, physical and emotional health. Essentially, it is anything that helps to fill your own cup, charge your batteries, or replenish an empty gas tank. This may sound simple, but self-care practices are commonly overlooked in the rushed, busy nature of our daily lives.
Nourishing your body through food is one of the most important forms of self-care. What we eat, when we eat and how much we eat can play a big role in how we show up in our lives. This form of self-care can be neglected in a variety of ways: someone may skip meals because they are too busy to stop, eat as fast as possible between tasks, or even avoid hunger cues to lose weight. We are all born with an innate ability to satisfy our needs around food. As we grow into adulthood, it is common to base our food choices on external factors instead of using our innate wisdom to guide us. Here are a few examples of how food connects to caring for ourselves:
Food impacts our energy and productivity
Our body requires regular food and water to function optimally, and ultimately, to survive. Eating every 2-3 hours helps to stabilize blood sugars, satisfy hunger levels and maintain energy throughout the day. This connects to our ability to how we show up in our work place, our relationships and our ability to move our bodies.
Food impacts our outlook
We all know what “hangry” looks like, whether we’ve experienced it ourselves or seen it in loved ones. When our brain and cells aren’t getting the fuel they need to function, we can become irritable. If we over-fuel, we can end up feeling sluggish and lethargic. Tune into your hunger and fullness cues to help find a balance.
Food provides satisfaction and connection
Food is a part of every aspect of our lives, from celebrations to mourning. It is completely human and a normal part of a person’s relationship with food to get comfort and satisfaction from what we eat. It’s why we choose a warm bowl of soup on a cold day, or an ice cream cone on a hot summer day. Remember that food is essential to our existence and is meant to be enjoyed.
As you explore your relationship with food as a form of self-care, keep in mind that this doesn’t mean controlling every single thing you put in your mouth. Look for a balance of choosing nourishing foods that sustain you, but also provide satisfaction and comfort.
By Kalin Herbach, Registered Dietitian
Revive Wellness Inc.