Five Tips for Living Intuitively
Lately, I've been seeing so many questions regarding how I manage to stay happy and healthy in my body --- how do I stay mindful, aware, and how have I healed my relationship with food?
Seems like y'all wanna get deep --- CHALLENGE ACCEPTED.
So, these aren't simple questions to answer, and I believe there are so many different paths that work for different people. Obviously, throughout the years I've tried many many diets, cleanses, you name it. This year has been a whirlwind of experiences, and big transitions in life (*ahem* moving across country) can trigger unwanted behaviors and emotions in anyone.
This is also around the time I began learning about listening to my intuition: an instinctive knowing without actually knowing, a gut feeling, a deep yearning without reason.
From podcast to podcast, blog to blog, I've scoured far and wide for the most insightful lectures from experts in the fields of psychology and spirituality. Some people see intuition as being "God" and others feel that their intuition speaks the language of their soul. In this post, I share with you a few tips to get you started on tuning in, listening to your body, and trusting yourself. Learning about Intuitive Living has been such a huge thing for me, especially when it comes to food, rest, and exercise.
1. Say No Sometimes
Maybe you've experienced doing the "wrong" thing when it felt right, and actually reaping an ideal outcome from the situation? What about the opposite? Ever done something that made you feel uneasy deep down because someone you know (or maybe just society) told you to? Did this end up badly, or did it just make you feel worse?
Sometimes, you need to do something self-serving and say no. I mean, you don't have to be an asshole about it --- just check in with yourself when prompted to do something (invited to an event, etc.), and if your gut feeling says don't know about this one, boss, it's okay to say no. If your intuition is leading you to stay in with your babe, watch the news, or dig into that new book you've been dying to read --- that's okay!
For the record, this is absolutely different than suffering from social anxiety. If you find yourself always saying no, making plans and bailing, or never making plans at all for fear that bad things will happen --- this is not your intuition talking. Irrational fears do not equal intuition. Don't mask your social anxiety in your intuition. For example, your intuition isn't going to send you screaming and crying down the hallway when you see a spider on the floor in your kitchen. Your intuition is that knowing in the back of your head telling you that everything is okay, that spider was tiny. Do you understand?
Your intuition speaks out of love, not out of fear. It's working to bring you closer to your heart's desires 24/7.
If you're one of those people pleasers who will do anything for anyone at anytime to prove your love and devotion, this might be really hard. With practice, you'll be able to learn what you naturally are pulled toward, and what you're pulled away from. The people that were meant to be in your life will absolutely understand. The people who chew you out for bailing on brunch? Probably not the besties for you.
2. Recognize and Let Go of Toxic Relationships
I feel like many of the same things mentioned above also go for dealing with toxic people. How do you know if some of your family, romantic, and friendships are toxic?
Well, if your intuition drastically pulls you away from someone several times and you don't listen, do you find yourself feeling drained or physically uncomfortable around them? A friend you keep hanging out with only to realize they never once asked about your life?
Your intuition can steer you in the direction of loving and accepting souls that will enrich your life, and your intuition will also throw up red flags when you encounter someone who's not meant to be in your life. Sometimes, it sucks to feel like you're constantly making plans and bailing on the same friend, for no reason other than something just not feeling right about your friendship.
If this is the case and you feel cripplingly awkward about it at this point, having never followed through with hangouts with this specific person, maybe do a double check for social anxiety vs intuition. You could even try being transparent with them and letting them know that you feel neglected in the relationship. Their response will tell you so much about how they value your relationship, and you can move forward from there. Same goes for parents, siblings, partners and lovers!
Choose to be around people that support you on your path of being the best that you can be. If you can’t be around supportive people, start spending more time on your own. Creating more me time will naturally help you to hear and access more of your intuition.
3. Honor Your Hunger and Fullness
According to Wikipedia: Intuitive eating is a nutrition philosophy based on the premise that becoming more attuned to the body's natural hunger signals is a more effective way to attain a healthy weight, rather than keeping track of the amounts of energy and fats in foods.
This is probably one of the harder things to do, but can also be one of the most fun and liberating parts about intuitive living. Intuitive Eating is a concept I was turned on to when I was in recovery from disordered eating at the age of eighteen. My dietician at the time gave me the book which coined the movement (Intuitive Eating written by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch) and I had no idea what to do with it. In all honesty, I worked with her out of the book, but ditched it once I stopped going to counseling. In the past month, I've picked it back up and began rereading it once again, igniting and deepening my love for the concept.
I highly recommend purchasing and reading the book, in which you'll learn how to honor your body's hunger and fullness cues; this means to eat when you're truly hungry, and stop when you're comfortably full. Intuitive Eating also acknowledges the need for feeding the soul occasionally, and eating for pleasure. They highlight the importance of accepting our decisions and moving on --- ditching the diet mentality surrounding food, for example: your last sweet treat before your cleanse, your last piece of pizza before giving up gluten for good (and you eat the whole pizza). Being able to accept that all foods are neutral, not any food is good or bad, and really healing the wound that the perfectionistic diet industry has left us to deal with.
Intuitive Eating also promotes the notion that your body's weight will normalize when fed according to it's cues. This is something that I learned whilst becoming a health coach, and is something I truly believe in.
I know you're thinking --- BUT KARSYN, AREN'T YOU VEGAN?! Yes, I am! Just because I have an ethical and intuitive devotion to a specific lifestyle, doesn't mean I don't sometimes struggle with feeling like even my vegan junk food is off limits. I don't think of dairy, eggs, and meat as being bad in the sense that they'll make me gain weight, I just don't view them as food at all. They aren't considered off-limits because I'm on a diet. I don't approach veganism with a diet mentality, especially since I'm so deeply rooted in the cause. My intuition is what drove me to become a vegan!
4. Exercise Intuitively and Move Your Body for Fun
Have you been grinding away at the gym for hours every week, only to be left feeling sore and self-conscious? Do you feel totally stoked on a workout one day, and then completely dreading it the next?
Don't get me wrong, I love working out. Having a workout routine has been proven to help decrease stress, elevate mood, improve sleep, and even assist in weight-loss. I love being drenched in sweat, jumping and twisting, pushing and pulling. I love feeling strong, powerful, and like a superhero during an intense workout, but I also have to listen to my body sometimes. For the past year, I've been doing some form of High Intensity Interval Training four to six times a week, followed by a few days of light yoga/walking, or maybe just full-out rest. I've been pushing my body to go so hard for so long, I've lost my daily desire for short, quick bursts of movement that comes with HIIT. Bummer? Nah.
I've been craving low-impact, steady-paced movement. Intuitively, my body is ready for a break from all the jumping jacks and killer ab circuits! My body is craving heated yoga, sunrise walks listening to podcasts, rollerskating, and swimming! I've also found myself dancing occasionally for exercise (to Beyonce, of course), and even just taking off running through my neighborhood if I feel too caffeinated.
I've only been doing this for two weeks now. I don't know why I've waited so long to give Intuitive Exercise a whirl, knowing that my intuition will never lead me astray. Regardless of my hesitation, I've found myself way more in tune with my hunger and fullness cues, my sleep schedule feels so on point --- I was forcing myself to get up at 5:30AM every morning to get my workout in. Let's just say that is obviously not what my intuition wanted!
5. Create Something
Some of you may be thinking, okay, Karsyn, you lost me. I'm not an artist or musician! Um, so?!
That doesn't mean you don't get lost when writing a short story, or maybe fiddling with a recipe you've been wanting to try. Give your imagination a workout by exploring different forms of self-expression. Whether it be through dance (no one is going to judge you if you choreograph a dance to your favorite pop song, even if it's just in your bedroom), or maybe some fun DIY project for your apartment, creating is a crucial part of living intuitively! We are all beings build to imagine, explore, and create. We recognize beauty, and have the capability to be profoundly inspired and moved by other people's creations. You can do it too!
I hope some of these tips ignite a little flame that makes you want to explore intuitive living even deeper! I encourage you to seek out podcasts and other blog posts like this one, and try these tips out for yourself.
Love hearing stories and advice like this? Get used to it! Later this summer, I'm launching a podcast dedicated to speaking with other intuitive and inspiring women, and sharing their stories! In the meantime, check out my favorite podcasts in this post from a few weeks ago!