Today was Love Your Body Day. It's a reminder that our bodies are all different, all okay. And modern media's portrayal of what is "okay" and what we should strive to be isn't really a good definition. It's a reminder that just because the media is in love with rail thin, tall, young, long-legged women -- we are not all rail thin, and that's okay. Furthermore, no one is young forever, and we should celebrate, not denigrate the passing of time filled with our experiences.
I celebrated by popping over to the Women's Resource Center on Campus, where the local chapter of NOW had organized a little event. There, I offered little samplings of various kinds of bodywork and massage. A little reminder that no matter your body shape, you're worth touching. A mere 15 minutes on the table in a room full of other things going on (people chatting, yoga lessons, general milling about).
And yet, the women who spent time with me all enjoyed those fifteen minutes. They climbed upon my table with complaints of stress or pain. And they got up, feeling more at ease, more relaxed. And even ... with less pain.
I hope that they had plenty of opportunities to connect with their bodies, through massage, yoga, pampering facials, and even taking the time to actually ENJOY good food. I also hope that the women who came in did not let this celebration of LOVING their bodies end with the closing of the Women's Resource Center Door.
Loving your body,
which is a big part of loving yourself, is something that is an ongoing
venture, not a one time event. It's taking care of yourself! As we live our hectic lives, filled with classes, papers, jobs, due
dates and family demand, we all too often forget to take care of
ourselves. And even when we do remember to take care of ourselves, we
forget that doing so means taking real care of our bodies.
How? How can we forget to take care of the very structure in which we live 24 hours a day? Simple, We live in our heads. And while lots of good goes on in our heads, we need to stay in touch with our bodies to let our heads do their best work. That's why it's important to stop every now and then, and actually feel our bodies - to check in on what it feels like inside our skin. And when we find that we're hurting, it's important to remember that pain is our bodies' way of telling us that something is WRONG.
Luckily, there are solutions for the problems that settle into your body, leaving you in pain. Sometimes that solution is as simple as slowing down, pausing, becoming aware of yourself in your body, aware of your own breath and the feel of your muscles and bones. Other times, we all need a little help.
Research has shown that receiving body work as little as once a month can make a significant and lasting difference in pain, headaches, depression, gastrointestinal problems, and overall ability to withstand stress. It helps with focus, and ability to concentrate (and learn!) Better still, regular massage or bodywork improves your immune system, so not only does your body feel better, you stay healthier!
And today reminds me ... it's time for me to add a little bodywork to the ways I love my body. And perhaps time for an update on the other things I've been doing.