Health is so much more than just physical. It’s emotional, mental and spiritual. Back to an earlier (MUCH earlier) blog post I write about balance in those 4 areas. I learned the best way to go about that from the book The Power of Full Engagement.
So – what am I doing to be healthy beyond the gym?
On the physical side I am focusing on getting better sleep. Drinking more water (still need to boost that one even more). Saw the Dr. for my physical. Taking the vitamins I need to take for optimal health. Eating out less. When I do eat out – doing my best to eat healthier (I don’t always succeed – sometimes the pull of a cheeseburger is just too great :). Shopping for less food when at the store so I’ll be sure to eat it before it goes bad – and not bringing unhealthy stuff in to the house. Having it here can be too great a temptation at times. Scheduling more fun outdoor activities.
On the emotional side – a few things. Allowing myself to feel what I’m going through in life. That means letting myself cry when I need to. Be angry when I need to be angry. Let my friends be there for me to be supportive. I talk about this part more on my Intentionally Fearless blog in this post: Created for Relationship if you want to read it. What has been and truly is amazing about the friends I have in my life – is them reaching out to me. Checking on me. Just showing up at random times. Letting me talk. Hugging me. Telling me the words I believe God wants me to hear – but in their audible voice. Praying – it is key, asking for peace, seeking His will. And when I don’t have the words to pray- listening to worship. Snuggling with my little brood of fur babies. I swear they know when something is wrong and want to be right by my side. Even lick the tears. Again – another precious gift in God’s creation.
On the mental side. Growing up with parents who were therapists I certainly learned the importance of mental health from early on. When I was in high school I learned the best way to get a day off of school was to tell my dad I needed a “mental health day.” He granted them. It was so much better than faking sick (like my brother had done) to stay home because when you were “sick” you couldn’t go anywhere. Dad on the other hand and I would enjoy my mental health days. He always had patients to see – but our lunches were together and usually most of those afternoons. With him being gone now – it’s one of my fondest memories and it also taught me the importance of taking those mental health days from time to time. For me now – they might include a whole weekend – not just a day. But taking time for self care is huge for my mental health.The good sleep is good for the mental health. Saying “no” when I need to say “no”. Not taking on too much. Setting boundaries where boundaries need to be set. Doing things that are treats for myself – like a pedicure/manicure or massage. At times in my life when I’ve needed it – I’ve sought out a therapist – and they’ve been pivotal for those times when I needed outside help. There is no shame in that so if you find yourself in a place of needing a professional 3rd party to bounce stuff off of – I encourage you to seek out a professional. Of late – I have returned to my writing. And this feels so good for me. As I’ve mentioned – I’m blogging much more frequently on my other one – but between that blog and this health blog the writing feels amazing. Being able to express what’s inside and put those words down is powerful.
On the spiritual side. I’ve alluded to some of that in each of the other areas. That is one thing the book I referred to talks about – if you are out of balance in one are you are out of balance in all of them. For me – when I look at the 4 areas of physical, emotional, mental and spiritual – to me the spiritual is woven throughout all of them. We are spiritual beings. If we allow God in to only certain areas of our lives – let Him in to just those places we want Him to be in and don’t give Him control over all areas – then it is harder for Him to do the work of full healing and restoration in our life because we aren’t allowing Him to. I have to allow him into the area of my physical health – which in all transparency – I don’t always think to do. Praying for will-power and strength for the eating and the gym need to become a part of every day so that when I am weak I can be strong through Him because I have given Him that area of my life. I know for my emotional and mental well being – the spiritual piece needs to be equally strong. So – I have plugged even deeper into my church over the last year. Built stronger relationships with those I am in community with. Created a place for myself to serve those in need in my church/community. Praying – and sometimes I truly do not have the words – and so worship is so important for me. Those songs that I belt out at the top of my lungs in the car are my prayers at times. I’ve been going to scripture more. Reading devotions. Turning to Him when there’s a problem and trying not to solve it myself.
Through my growth in all of these areas – my life feels so different than even a year ago. Not perfect. Not where I want it to be…but oh, so much better. As a friend of mine has said if you are “struggling, striving and growing” then that is healthy. And I am doing each of those. I’m stronger. My friends see it. I FEEL it inside.
So for yourself. Know that finding that balance of health is one step at a time. Requires healthy choices in each of those areas. But those choices are in the small choices of every day life. Every healthy choice matters. They cumulatively build and you will see a positive change in your life.