It’s almost October, which means its almost time to hand in all my practice assessment documents and my final essay. Woop, woop!
Towards the end of the summer (which seems to have returned all of a sudden), Laura and I were chatting on twitter about doing a detox in October. It seemed like a good excuse to ease back on the sugar and break some unhealthy food habits. Immediately a load of ideas sprung to mind. I’ve done a cleanse before with Gena, which was really great and highlighted a number of issues to me as well as resetting my subconscious food routines. Since Laura and I were chatting, the detox (hate that word so I’m just going to use cleanse), has been on my mind. And, instead of doing a food-based cleanse in October, I’m going to do a thoughts/mind-based cleanse. Why?
I don’t know about you guys, but so I often I find myself trying to have a perfect diet, trying to fill my days with foods that are on my ultimate health list. Know what I mean? Sometimes I’m pursuing the perfect diet for my IBS, sometimes I’m pursuing the perfect diet for my mind (the one that causes the least guilt and stress), and sometimes I’m pursuing other peoples ideas of the perfect diet (e.g. all-natural, sugar-free etc). This is rarely a conscious pursuit but it’s been highlighted to me over the last week or so.
When I’m giving healthy living and healthy eating advice to friends and family, I recommend them making realistic and sometimes only small, incremental changes to their diet or lifestyle one at time, and always with an attitude of kindness and forgiveness towards themselves. Yet, I never do this to myself. There have been days when I’ve woken up and said to myself, “right, today I am going to eat only the healthiest of foods with no junk whatsoever” only to end my day having failed and feeling disappointed with myself. This sets up an awful cyle which just leaves me feeling drained, and slowly chips away at my self-esteem.
And, y’know what. I don’t think there is such a thing as The Perfect Diet, per se (there may be a personally ideal diet). The same for the perfect exercise regime, the perfect healthy lifestyle. So why do we pursue these things? Nutritional Science is still very much in its infancy and there’s a lot we have yet to learn about food and how it interacts with body and mind and effects health. I’m not saying there isn’t value to this. For example, what we’ve learnt about saturated fats has been undeniable dynamic in the prevention and management of heart disease. What I’m trying to get at, in a long-winded way, is that we should evaluate the standards we put on ourselves, in all areas of life including diet. Are they fair and reasonable? Do they come from a place of self-love and self-confidence or from a place of insecurity and placing one’s esteem in things we feel able to control and to manipulate our bodies in a way that we see fit. All of which may be regardless of the necessity and realism of these pursuits.
Therefore, for October, be it for a week in October or for the whole month, I’m going to be Practising Kindness. This will involve letting go of perfectionist ideals, being mindful, and being kind to myself. For some of you, this may include cleansing your diet as well (this was helpful for me when I did Gena’s cleanse). The lovely Laura is hosting a cleanse in October so her’s may be one to follow in conjunction with practising kindness.
The main principle behind this cleanse is to practice kindness towards yourself primarily every day. Practically, this could mean journalling/writing daily reflections, doing something you enjoy without any pressure of expection (such as reading that book you’ve been desperate to pick up for ages), practising yoga, meditation, reading inspirational quotes, practising Operational Beautiful. This may also mean easing up on your dietary expectations and instead trying to eat intuitively, and with love.
Throughout October, the focus of my blog will be less on food and more on Practising Kindness. I’ll obvo still feature food because it is my love and passion. Thus the cleanse for me will mean that instead of trying to control food, and use it as an emotional/psychological crutch, I am going to embrace my love of it and stop putting restrictions on myself. However, this will also mean cutting back on the sugary stuff because it leaves me feeling jittery.
So, who fancies Practising Kindess with me for the month October? The hope is that this self-kindness will become more routine and part of our daily living beyond October. For you fellow bloggers, this could mean posting about how you are going to practically love yourself more, or posting stories that inspire you, or anything else you think comes under the remit of Practising Kindness. Maybe you had an awesome yoga session or walk in the countryside where you had a few realisations that helped you in some way.
I’ll also be featuring guest posts so if you’d like to write a guest post about what practising kindess means to you then I’d love to hear from you. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment.
Hope all that makes sense!
Right, onto foodie stuff. Things have been stupidly busy and I’ve only just managed to find my camera. On finding it, the only pictures I’ve remembered to take are completely random…
Even though this isn’t food from one day, it’s a pretty good example of what I may eat in one day (minus the copious amounts of chocolate that I regularly consume!).
What do you think about Practising Kindness in October? Any suggestions? What will you be doing/do you do to practice kindness towards yourself?