As a wellness coach, I help my clients achieve their health and wellness goals. This topic is near and dear to my heart. While mixed messages abound, society mostly discourages us from living healthfully. Not only are we surrounded by processed food, but we’re often asked to be superhuman or machine-like, ignoring our physical and emotional needs. However, our needs are not luxuries–they matter.
Wellness is one of the most important foundations of my own life. When I sleep 8 hours, eat nutritiously, limit caffeine, and exercise regularly, I feel at my best. My thinking is clearer, my energy higher, and I’m more tapped into my own creative force. When I feel healthy, I show up better in my relationships. I see my career-related options more clearly.
Is it static? No–wellness has looked different at different points of my life. At one time, it meant rigor and challenge–training for 10K’s and a half-marathon. Other times, it has meant more variety, alternating short runs with kickboxing, rowing, or pilates. It has also meant doing yoga a few times a week, or swimming regularly.
Living a healthy lifestyle is a fluid, often intuitive process. While there are some good habits I need to do everyday (flossing, anyone?), as my life and needs change, I also change how I address my needs. I get to choose how much consistency, challenge, fun, and novelty I want at any given time in my active, healthy life. Am I bored? Maybe a 3-hour hike in the woods is in order. Am I tired? Maybe an easy swim is just what I need.
Wellness also includes managing stress. At times of stress, I’ve been tempted to over-caffeinate, under-sleep, and under-exercise. When I don’t de-stress well, I neglect to find time to relax–taking walks in the park or meditating, for example. Skimping on sleep and ramping up on caffeine or sugar never turns out well. When I try to cope with life in those ways, I’m trying to do more than is humanly possible.
The truth is, basic human needs matter, and they don’t go unmet without consequences. If I deny them, I feel a deficit–whether the deficit is sleep, nutrition, or having fun. If that deficit persists, it affects all areas of my life.
These days, life looks different. Nurturing myself is one of my top priorities, because it makes my life flourish. Relaxing and enjoying life are key components of health and wellness. A day that includes gardening, writing (with my calico cat keeping me company), playing the piano, or even watching “Frasier” on Netflix is a restorative day. We all need time to pursue our interests, be in nature, and simply do things that we enjoy.
What does relaxation give us? When we’re relaxed, we’re open to possibilities. We experience gratitude for what is. We’re connected to our inner selves and to others. It gives us joy and curiosity. We enjoy better health and more energy to refocus on what’s ahead.
What are key components of health and wellness for you? When do you feel at your best? What energy does that open up for you in the rest of your life? I’d love to hear from you. Wishing you abundant energy and good health,