Self care Sunday - or any day - is a great way to fill our cups, and as we know, we can't pour from an empty one. But sometimes without realizing, we end up pouring Jack Daniels into that cup instead of tea. What’s the difference between “listening to our bodies” because we need the rest, and simply giving in to the temptation to oversleep because it’s more comfortable?
Here’s what listening to your body looks like:
You’re feeling the start of a cold… scratchy throat, coughing, glands in the neck a bit swollen.
You say to yourself, “I’m going to sleep for an extra hour instead of getting my workout in today. This will give my body extra restorative sleep and prevent this from becoming a full blown cold (or worse, these days).”
You reset the alarm for an hour later (rather than snoozing 6 times). You drink lots of water all day, have a cup of bone broth, take your zinc and vitamins C and D. You nourish your body with whole foods. You go to bed early that night.
You feel better in a day or two, and you get back to your routine of waking up early, working out, prepping healthy meals and getting to bed at a regular time.
Here’s what making excuses to stay comfortable looks like:
Your alarm goes off and you’re tired. You have no symptoms of being ill, you’re just tired - like we all are.
You justify snoozing (several times) and skipping the gym by telling yourself you are listening to your body.
You finally stop snoozing, but lay in bed scrolling the news or instagram for another 20 minutes. This is justified as extra rest.
You don’t have to feel like you are making excuses because Jenni the feel-your-feelings mindset coach and untrained reiki healer told you that listening to your body means: snoozing whenever you feel a little tired, eating the ice cream any time you crave it and only working out on days when your moon goddess sends you a sign in the stars.
"It's self care Sunday, so obviously I'm laying in bed all day watching Netflix."
Don’t listen to Jenni. Jenni doesn’t even listen to Jenni. No one becomes the best version of themselves - the healthiest, happiest, most successful version of themselves - by settling for mediocrity...by never challenging themselves...by never overcoming that inner voice that says "stay stagnant".
Our body speaks to us, that's true. And most of the time, we should listen.
But other times, it's just doing what it was designed to do - survive. Surviving is a lot easier than it used to be. It used to be the case that food was scarce and death-by-lion was a possibility around every corner. So, we had to figure out how to use as little energy as possible to complete a task and avoid starvation. We had to learn how to hold onto excess calories and crave highly palatable foods that were energy-dense like sugars and fats. At the time, we needed to consume as much of them as we could, because we may not get the chance again. We had to rest whenever we felt safe and full to conserve energy. We didn’t feel safe or full very often.
But now? Now, most of us feel safe (from predators) inside our homes often enough that resting throughout the day is a given. We know at the end of most days, we can sleep - even if just for a bit.
Trust me, you can get up and do the workout. 9 times out of 10, your body is telling you to snooze because it’s designed to use less energy whenever possible. It hasn’t yet evolved to match our current environment of abundance. It doesn’t know it can actually expect the next food source in 5 minutes, 5 feet away from where it sits. Your next food source is most likely already in the fridge or the pantry, waiting for you to get back from your workout. 1 time out of 10, maybe you’re spreading yourself a bit too thin. 1 time out of 10, when that reptilian brain tells you to conserve (read: snooze), maybe you should take the time to rest because you need it.
1 time out of 10, you should just have the cookie - not because you need to hoard calories but because your mind needs to feel community and belonging. Sharing some wine or tasty treats with friends and family, laughing and sharing stories and not focusing on health all of the time is necessary. But don’t mistake that for “listening to your body”. That is listening to your mind and what it needs - shared experience, laughter, fun. Don’t mistake listening to your body for listening to your mind. We should listen to both but also add a bit of deductive reasoning.
Let's also consider the scenario where it is our bodies we should listen to, but we should look below the surface craving. For example, your body never *needs* 16 tablespoons of sugar. It never will. So why are you craving the soda or the donut? Possibly, because your body or your mind or both, need something else. Reduced stress. Stimulation (you're feeling bored). Lowered anxiety. The dopamine from that sugar rush may help for a second because we've changed state from the boredom, stress or anxiety. But if we look below the surface, we can identify the real solution. That might be a walk, some deep breathing, a brain dump of tasks for the day, some reading, talking to a friend or mentor... but it is never about the cookie itself.
And hear this: The excuse is almost always that: An excuse.
The excuse is usually not our bodies telling us what they need. We know better. We need to do better. If you want to be the best version of yourself, don’t listen to Jenni the feel-your-feelings mindset coach and untrained reiki healer. Listen to Gia, the real human who is consistent with her habits over time and sees results for herself and her clients, health coach. Or better, listen to yourself - but the version of you who wants to be their best. And if you need someone to keep you accountable, a health coach is a great resource - not just for self care Sunday, but the other 6 days of the week as well.
Tell that voice in your head that snoozing isn't in the plan today. Mediocrity isn’t in the plan today. Giving up isn’t in the plan today. Get up, put those spandex pants on and lace up. It’s time to work. Your body will thank you for it.