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3-3-2021 | BODY

Don’t get it twisted: Physical health isn’t just gyms and exercise—everyday baby steps are crucial, too

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BY Candace Reels | 3 MINUTE READ

One of our favorite terms at Female Collective is “radical self-care,” which is the preservation of self to contribute to and care for the community around you. The first rule of radical self-care: You cannot pour from an empty cup! We must take care of ourselves, both mentally and physically, so we’re able to care for those around us who need it most.

So firstly, what does it mean to take care of yourself mentally? It means being gentle with yourself and practicing daily self-love, as I write about here. As for the physical element of radical self-care, we all know the importance of exercise, but I’m of the mindset that physical activity doesn’t always need to be “big moments” like going to the gym or running for miles. Not to mention, “If you’re forcing yourself to do an activity you don’t like just to get your muscles moving, you likely won’t stick with it,” says Murad founder and board-certified MD, Dr. Howard Murad.    

For instance, remember that presence can be a daily physical practice. It only takes a few minutes a day to strengthen your health. If you’re short on time, use small daily tasks like making the bed, drinking a glass of water or brushing your teeth as an opportunity to focus on staying fully present while you tuck, sip or brush. Even better, set aside five minutes a day to pause and reconnect with yourself.

A few of my favorite ways to incorporate moments of presence into my day:

      • Change your perspective—literally. Look up and look around you, remember you’re part of a larger community that needs you.
      • Sing out loud and move to your favorite tunes to get into your body and shift your mood.
      • Sit quietly with your thoughts and set an intention for the day.

We also need to make sure to rest. With a constant stream of information coming at us from work, social media and our relationships, we can easily become overwhelmed and exhausted. Our bodies need rest, our brains need rest, our emotions need rest. From a physician’s perspective, “I can tell you that the human body was not designed to be ‘on’ all the time,” Dr. Murad says. “There’s a reason why we must sleep—and it’s not just for beauty. Just about every system in the body is affected by the quality and amount of sleep you get.”

A few of my favorite ways to incorporate moments of rest into my day:

      • Take a nap to power down and recharge. I love a good nap and am committed to them in my routine—and don’t feel a bit of guilt over them!
      • Stop what you’re doing and take a five-minute dance break. Doing this in the middle of a hectic work week can be absolutely transformative.
      • Get out into nature as much as you can. Going for a walk regularly has been key to managing my stress and finding work and life balance, especially during the pandemic.

Of course exercise, eating well and staying hydrated can’t be ignored when it comes to physical health, but given how quickly life changes these days, perhaps committing to being present and resting EVERY. SINGLE. DAY can really be considered radical self-care.


About the author: Candace Reels is an intersectional feminist, self-love advocate and fierce champion for women’s empowerment. Her community platform, Female Collective, uplifts and celebrates the feminine spirit, with nearly 1 million followers on Instagram.