In the Book of Mormon, 3 Nephi chapter 18, Christ instituted the sacrament to the Nephites. His disciples brought bread and wine and He invited them to partake of it. What strikes me about this account is that the Savior asked them to partake of it before they gave it unto the multitude (3 Nephi 18: 3-4).
This is an important concept in so many aspects of life. We hear the same kind of message every time we board a plane: "In the unlikely event of an accident, please put on your OWN mask before you assist anyone else." If we are not taking care of ourselves, how can we possibly take care of anyone else? You cannot pour from an empty vessel.
So how on earth do we make sure our vessel is filled to the brim and even to the point of overflowing? Here are a few essential ways:
FOCUS ON WHOLESOME EXERCISE AND NUTRITION
We need to take care of our bodies with movement and nourishing whole foods. When we improve this part of our lives, everything else improves by default. We’ll have brighter moods, we'll have more energy, and we won't feel the need to fill ourselves in other possibly destructive ways.
There is an abundance of nutrition advice out there, but the one thing that generally everyone agrees on is that we should fill ourselves with whole foods. This means eliminating the toxic, chemical, additive-filled processed foods. If you're focusing on consuming vegetables, fruit, proteins, and plenty of water, you'll be in a good place. It doesn't need to be more complicated than that. I recommend keeping a food journal. Instead of writing down only what you’re eating and drinking, also keep track of your emotions, how your body feels after eating, before bed, and when you wake up. Tracking what you’re eating and how it’s making you feel will help you recognize patterns and become aware of certain foods that aren’t making you feel your best.
As for exercise, this doesn't need to be too complicated either. My recommendation is to find something you truly ENJOY! Moving your body should be fun! When we worry about getting in so many miles or making sure we burn off X amount of calories, we may be causing more stress to our system; it can be counterproductive. For example, when we have excess stress, our adrenal glands release extra cortisol, which is our stress hormone. Constantly high cortisol levels can lead to weight retention, weight gain, diabetes, and more unwanted diseases.
It's important to realize that you don't need to please anyone but you. Find whatever movement makes you happy and do that often.
ADOPT A KINDER MINDSET AND BODY IMAGE
Our mindset and the way we view ourselves is a huge contributor to our level of happiness; it also affects the way we treat other people. If we have negative, self-deprecating thoughts swirling around our minds, what comes out through our body language and words will be of a similar nature.
It's important to have a positive, loving relationship with ourselves, yet many of us don't. We haven't been taught to be kind to ourselves. We are constantly bombarded by media that tells us we need to look or act a certain way or we won’t be good enough. This is NOT true. You are enough. You are MORE than enough! It doesn't matter what you look like; you are valuable and have a divine purpose that no other person on this earth can fulfill but you.
But sometimes we forget; We need reminders so that we can combat that inner voice that is telling us these lies. One way to do this is by telling yourself that you are worthy, intelligent, kind, valuable, enough! When you repeatedly tell yourself these things, it's called an affirmation or a declaration. You are declaring and affirming to yourself who you are so that no one else does it for you. You determine who you are! Write down some of these positive statements that resonate with you, and read them out loud, and read them often. Reprogram your brain to believe them, because they are true.
Another tool I encourage you to use to overcome negative body image is to write a letter to yourself. And then let your body write one back! I know this sounds silly, but I've done it many times. It's a beautiful experience if you let yourself dive right in.
Write a letter starting with "Dear Body." Then, include everything that comes to your mind: the things you hate, the things you love, the things you're grateful for, the things you wish were different, anything. Then put your pen to paper again and start with "Dear [your name]." And see what flows out, see what your body has to say to YOU! Will your body be happy? Angry? Sad? Neglected? Grateful? You won't know until you try it. Believe it or not, your relationship with your body goes both ways. This exercise will help you to understand that at a deeper level.
Focus on your innate value and your talents and gifts that our Heavenly Father has blessed you with, because I know there are many. We are more than our bodies.
STRENGTHEN YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH CHRIST
The last and most important way you can fill your own vessel is to develop your relationship with the Lord. This can obviously be done in many ways; the important part is that we're doing it daily. This means studying the word of God. It means kneeling in prayer. It means reading General Conference talks or listening to hymns.
We can come to know Christ in many ways; it just matters that we're doing it. President Boyd K. Packer said "Has it occurred to you that many problems can be solved by reading the scriptures? ... As part of your emotional self-reliance, read the scriptures." As a disciple of Christ and someone who lived a life very close to the Lord, He knows better than most that many of our problems can be solved if we read the word of God. It's a simple thing. And it's important that we make time for it. That we make time for Him, our Savior Jesus Christ.
One way that we can more easily incorporate scripture study into daily life is to attach it to something you already do every day such as brushing your teeth or eating a meal. Another way to create the habit is to only allow yourself to go on social media or check your email once you’ve read your scriptures for X amount of minutes. I have a testimony that when we care for ourselves in these ways that I've listed, we will be better suited to care for others in the way our Father in Heaven intended. Just as the Savior wanted His disciples to take the sacrament first, I believe we need to be filled before we can pour into others.
Adrienne Biehl is a wife to her wonderful husband of more than 5 years, and dog mom to her sweet chocolate lab. She was not raised in a faith-based home, but was baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints almost 8 years ago and has never looked back. She is a holistic nutritionist and focuses on empowering women to create healthy habits in their lives, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Some of her other hobbies include reading, traveling the world, spending time in the sunshine, and being with friends and family.
IG Handle: adriennejbiehl