“Do you not know that your body is a temple from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been purchased at a price. Therefore glorify God in your body.”
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
It is important that people take care of their bodies for many reasons. First of all by getting enough sleep, exercise and nourishing foods, people are able to fulfill the physical needs of their bodies in order to best serve (God and others). (I know I am guilty at times for not providing my body its basic needs.)
Sleep provides people with the opportunity to rejuvenate their energy levels and to process nutrition and circulate it around the body to rebuild cells in our body that people wore out through the day. While people rest and sleep the body has full opportunity to remove waste and to restore equilibrium. Yet, the first basic need people sacrifice when time is short, is sleep (or when worries prevent them from sleeping aka insomnia). Consider taking a mindful look at your schedule; are you allotting yourself enough time to sleep as well as, to unwind and relax before bedtime so you can get to sleep?
The Harvard Women’s Health Watch suggests six reasons to get enough sleep:
1. Learning and memory: Sleep helps the brain commit new information to memory through a process called memory consolidation. In studies, people who’d slept after learning a task did better on tests later.
2. Metabolism and weight: Chronic sleep deprivation may cause weight gain by affecting the way our bodies process and store carbohydrates, and by altering levels of hormones that affect our appetite.
3. Safety: Sleep debt contributes to a greater tendency to fall asleep during the daytime. These lapses may cause falls and mistakes such as medical errors, air traffic mishaps, and road accidents.
4. Mood: Sleep loss may result in irritability, impatience, inability to concentrate, and moodiness. Too little sleep can also leave you too tired to do the things you like to do.
5. Cardiovascular health: Serious sleep disorders have been linked to hypertension, increased stress hormone levels, and irregular heartbeat.
6. Disease: Sleep deprivation alters immune function, including the activity of the body’s killer cells. Keeping up with sleep may also help fight cancer.
More details on the importance of SLEEP.
Importance of sleeping in human life.
(What helps me to get enough sleep is to plan my day accordingly. I know I am not a morning person, so I my work activities around my “prime time”, which is that time of the day when I am most focused and alert. I know that if I need to be up at a certain time, I need to be in bed 8 to 9 hours prior to that appointed time. Reading in bed with low-level lighting helps me to fall off to sleep quickly. Many experts do not encourage reading, but it helps me. Each of us has an idea what works and does not work for them. Exercising right before bedtime is not a good idea as it boosts energy levels to the point where one will not be able to fall asleep.)
Exercise not only helps strengthen muscles and builds stamina in people, but it is re-energizing and a mood-lifter. As people exercise, their hearts are working a little more to circulate their blood that is carrying oxygen to every part of their body. Increased circulation in a person’s body provides the oxygen (minerals and nutrition) to all the cells (muscle, nerve, skin, and fat cells) in one’s body where energy is made via metabolism. This process lifts a person mood. People can actually go into an exercise routine a bit sluggish and tired, and ten minutes into it feel a second wind. After their exercise routine, they feel more energetic. That energy can now be used in positive ways. People will also find they are able to focus more clearly with as little as ten minutes of aerobic exercise.
Through the course of a day, people encounter various stresses, such as incessant worry over things they have little control, which can increase their heart rates and blood pressures. Exercise helps people attain a balance as the mood-lifting processes of exercise seem to ease worry. As with sleep, however, when time is short, exercise becomes less of a priority in one’s life. Exercise is often eliminated from one’s daily routine. This is unfortunate, because, it really does not have to be. With a little creativity, one can include exercise into their daily routine.
It is not too difficult to increase the amount of activity in one’s day. Here are some examples to get you thinking. Use music in the background when you work at the computer and at the end of each song, stand up and march in place for a few minutes. Use an egg-timer at work, set it for 50 minutes, and then at the end of 50 minutes, take a 10 minute break to walk and move around. Each time you take or make a phone call, get up and walk around. Use the stairs instead of the elevator and park further away from the entrance of a building. Instead of sending a memo to someone in your office building via e-mail, deliver that message in person (and if you wish, you can still follow-up with an e-mail). When possible, when running errands that are a short distance from your home (1 to 2 miles), use a bicycle or walk. As you become more and more active, you will build up your stamina and feel better. These little things may inspire you to take a Tai Chi or Zumba class once a week. Along with exercise, people need nourishment.
More on the Importance of Exercise
BBC on Healthy Living
People need a steady amount of nourishment throughout their day to fuel their bodies, starting with a generous breakfast with a balanced amount of protein, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats. How much you need consume and exactly what you need to eat will vary from person to person depending on your height, weight and medical history. Skipping meals or overeating will cause people to become unbalanced and they will feel sluggish. Over time this can cause unhealthy conditions and illness. (I find when I eat a balanced diet of protein, non-fat dairy, fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains and a limited amount of healthy fats like olive oil, I feel energetic and satisfied. I rarely feel hungry when I consume these every 3 to 4 hours during the course of my work day. If I want an occasional treat of chocolate or ice cream, I do not deprive myself.) Balance is key when it comes to giving one’s body the proper nutrition to maintain one’s health.
Practicing self-care is not only practical to maintain/improve people’s overall physical well-being and health; but, it is also provides people with a solid foundation for their mental and spiritual well-being. It is not selfish to put your basic needs first. On the contrary, it is vital to take care of yourself in order to serve God and others.
Self-care helps us to better serve God