When holidays or celebrations roll around it’s easy to forget to take care of yourself. Suddenly you may find that you’re prioritizing a holiday over your own health because well, it only happens once a year. You pop some DayQuil so you can pretend that nothing is wrong at least for a few hours but what you choose to ignore is the fact that DayQuil relieves only symptoms. It will not cure the root cause of your aches and pains. I am not a stranger to this habit, but I am also too familiar with the consequences of ignoring my body’s cries for help. Aches, pains, lethargy, symptoms of illness – all these things happen when your body is in distress and needs your attention. But then you turn to your right and someone is handing you a candy corn Jell-O shot or a slice of (God forbid) gluten free chocolate cheesecake, or a cup of celebratory jungle juice served from a “cauldron” submerged in dry ice. So the aches and pains could wait until this Jell-O shot and this cake and this jungle juice, right?
This has happened to me on multiple occasions, and I’ve gotten better at listening to my body’s signals and taking it easy when I knew it would be best. But after having the same chronic issue for over 10 months, I started getting daring. I tested the waters to see just how much I could take without pushing my body over the edge. I wanted to know what level of “fun” I could reach as a college student before my body would reject me. I learned the hard way (more than once) that that’s not how this world works. But it’s difficult to remind myself that there are valid and important reasons in giving up parties and birthday dinners and football games and weekend trips.
So here’s 5 reasons to help remind you (and myself) why taking care of your body should be your #1 priority day-in and day-out. Here’s 10 reasons why you say no when someone offers you Jell-O shots or insists that you go out with them one night instead of masking your body’s cry for help with Tylenol:
- Your body is the vessel in which we experience our world. If you wish to make change in the world or seek beauty around you then you must start with your body for it allows you to see the world this way. If you live and breathe positive energy and good health, then this is how you will be experiencing your world. Drawing in negative views and contaminated thoughts about how your own body lives everyday is only going to encourage these contaminated thoughts out into the world.
- Your body is a miracle. Have you ever sat down and tried to think of how much we know about the human body and how much there is still to learn? Have you considered the millions of neuron connections you are stimulating when you glance at the words on this page and then translate these symbols into meaning? Or action? Or emotion? Have you ever considered how many amazing and truly magnificent processes are occurring inside your body in this moment, despite your brain being focused on this sentence? You never have to think to breathe or make your heart beat or make your stomach digest food. It happens because your body is sophisticated in ways we have only begun to understand. It’s beautiful, a gift even. And it’s absolutely worth preserving.
- Your body only knows how to live. Think about it – the many times you’ve been sick only to come out the other side still breathing. Or the many times a doctor has told a patient that their child has only a 20% chance of living past the age of 2… but they live full lives. All of our body’s systems align to meet one common goal: life. And it starts at the DNA level – mechanisms exist to keep cell division and development in line. If even 1 mistake in the DNA sequence is detected, the cell is killed or revised to prevent cancer and other defects. HOW?? Scientists can explain the ways in which these mechanisms work but when it comes down to it, the real reasoning behind why our bodies work the way they do is because they want to sustain a successful life.
- Your body chooses life even when you’ve given up. I’m referring mostly to the people who have chronic health concerns that never seem to dissipate and you can’t help but think “I give up,” when it feels you’ve tried everything. You start to hate on your own body and blame it for the misery that you feel. Yet no matter how many times you say you give up, your body chooses to breathe and it chooses to sustain your life. So I urge you to recognize this and instead of hating your body for not healing fast enough, maybe find ways to encourage it to heal. Because despite your negativity on the matter, it’s trying. That’s what’s so wonderful about the human body – it doesn’t need your consent to try to live.
- Your body will be the one constant thing that you have until the moment you die. Love comes and goes, friendships are made and lost, faith is gained and lost… but your body will live and breathe through all this with you. That’s pretty amazing considering how much garbage you may decide to feed it or how much hate you may throw its way. It will never abandon you. Your soul is embedded in this body and it pulses through your veins despite the crap it puts up with. Seeing as you are entangled at a soul level with your body, you might as well protect it and love it because it’s you. Choose to hate yourself? Refer to point 4.
This is just a miniature pep talk on the reasons why your body deserves your love and care. It certainly doesn’t stop here and I’d love to hear what else encourages people to move forward and make health a priority!
I had to type this tonight because I find that I miss out on a lot around me due to illness. My immune system is not yet built as strong as I’m aiming for, for reasons I’m only starting to dive into. The alienation that accompanies my decisions to skip social events is almost unavoidable, and it’s a problem I face a lot. But I have to remember why I do it. If I never did that, it would be too easy to convince myself to pop the pills and deal with the symptoms later. It’s easier said than done but for now, I’m choosing to support the miracle that is my body.