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Habits for healthy bodies are plenty, but how do you have a healthy soul?

Health advice is available in plenty and from a myriad of approaches, and when people are searching for advice about how to improve their health, often what you’ll find is advice on how to care for your physical body. Drink more water. Eat less carbs. Exercise. Get more sleep. Cut out alcohol, refined or processed foods. The list of potential tidbits goes on for days, but one really glaring error I’ve noticed is that all this health advice tends to avoid or skip one big component of being healthy: taking care of your soul.

It’s important to feed your body good food and keep it in fine working order, but it should be argued that it’s equally important to take care of your inner self. Making sure that your soul and mind gets fed the things that keep it in working order, content, and settled can help you complete the picture of a healthy life.

Soul Food for Merrymen Magazine - Photos by Ashlee Harris in Volume 4

Like your physical body, your spiritual self needs regular check ups and maintenance care is the first step. If you aren’t at peace mentally or emotionally, that is the first sign that something is not right. Just like your stomach hurts when you’ve got a bug or your nose runs when you’ve been exposed to too much pollen in the springtime, these emotional symptoms often have a trigger, a stressor that causes them.

A great way to do this is to check in with yourself through meditation and prayer. Look at the circumstances around your upset, and see if you can identify the moment that it began or see what caused it.

Taking the time to check in with yourself can help you see what the magnitude of the situation is, and see what further needs you may have. If you notice something that’s persistent or could become a bigger issue, it’s much like a physical illness: you should go see a professional and get a check up. Often times the opinions of a professional can help you see things through a different light.

It’s also important to practice tasks that promote self-care. If you know you’re having a rough day, be careful with yourself. Play your favorite music, or cook your favorite dinner. Tidy up a place in your room that needs a bit of attention. Read a book or take a relaxing bath. Really, it’s any activity that is healthy and helps to settle the mind and give you a modicum of peace.

The big thing to remember about keeping your mind and soul in fighting form is that care is much like caring for your physical self. There will be days where things work as they should; you’re getting all kinds of tasks completed, your memory is sharp, and you’re on top of things. And then there will be days that you’re running a bit slower. Maybe you can’t remember something as well because you’ve had a rough night of sleep.

Or maybe you had an unexpected upset and your focus isn’t on the task at hand. When these upsets happen, it’s no different than being sore after too much exercise. You need rest and you need to be kind to yourself. Balancing your physical and mental/spiritual health can be tricky to get a hang of, but once you do, you will notice a definite improvement in your quality of life.

Habits for healthy bodies are plenty, but how do you have a healthy soul?

Health advice is available in plenty and from a myriad of approaches, and when people are searching for advice about how to improve their health, often what you’ll find is advice on how to care for your physical body. Drink more water. Eat less carbs. Exercise. Get more sleep. Cut out alcohol, refined or processed foods. The list of potential tidbits goes on for days, but one really glaring error I’ve noticed is that all this health advice tends to avoid or skip one big component of being healthy: taking care of your soul.

Arts & Culture | Vol.4

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