by Sharan Matharu
It’s difficult to describe how I feel about my own body, sometimes I revel in its intricacies – the blood I can feel pumping through my body when I lay my head on a pillow at night; the tendons straining when I clench my fist; the colours that shimmer in front of my eyes on a beautiful summer day – and other times I want to curl into a ball when I look at myself in the mirror. It’s on the days where I want to retreat into myself that I know it’s necessary to nourish not only my body but my soul – yes, I went for the cliché – however, what I’ve learnt is that a way to make these days less frequent is to look after myself even on days where I feel great. Regardless of it being a good or bad day I know only a few guaranteed ways that make me feel like I’m in complete control of my body and my emotions.
The first is simple: exercise. It’s the go-to really, not only does it make me feel as though I’ve done something productive, it actually is productive. It’s also not about losing weight – though that is a happy side-effect – it’s about feeling like your body is alive and just as importantly for me, powerful. Not to mention the endorphins that are released when exercising and as Elle Woods from Legally Blonde said, ‘Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands.’ Maybe the last bit doesn’t apply but the first part is definitely true – exercise is a cheat code to happiness and if I’m in a bad mood sometimes I just need that little ray of positivity to get myself out of a negative emotional spiral.
“it’s about feeling like your body is alive and just as importantly for me, powerful.”
The second is easy: listen to music. Maybe this is only me but music impacts me a lot, I pretty much listen to it all day, every day and regardless of if I’m happy, sad or angry I always have the perfect song to either push me towards euphoria, dry my tears (after making me shed some more) or to scream along to. Another thing that comes along with this is dancing, I honestly can never feel sad when I’m on a dance floor, there is no lying here so in all honestly I can’t dance but that doesn’t stop me enjoying the heck outta it and making sure I dance my lil heart out when a sweet beat hits my ears. NB: when I’m self-conscious this is also done in the shower or in my kitchen while I’m cooking.
The final thing in my soul-nourishing arsenal is again pretty simple: message or meet up with someone who makes you laugh. It’s as easy as that, sometimes laughter brightens your day and nothing really beats meeting up with someone you care about and busting out some top bants, bevvys – of the hot or cold variety – are optional. If my friends/family aren’t free I tend to turn to my other friends, Netflix and YouTube, whacking on Brooklyn 99, Rick & Morty or a comedy skit from Michael McIntyre or Russell Peters – take your pick, there are treasures for everyone online.
Regardless of which of the above I use, usually by the end of one of these cleansing sessions I feel happier – sometimes not happy, because problems don’t just get solved with one act, but more in tune with who I am and somehow more aligned with my body.
That to me is an important step because like anything, it’s a long road to get anything worth having and happiness can be built, but you have to start inside – feed your mind and body with positivity and productivity, you’ll find your soul will follow suit.
Sharan Matharu | @sharanmatharu90
Sharan is an Assistant Editor at Penguin Random House in London. Her passions include reading, watching wrestling and all things Buffy-related.