You’ve heard the saying, “without health, you have nothing”. If you or a loved one has ever been sick, you know what I’m talking about. I used to have Crohn’s disease and I can’t tell you how much better my life is since I’ve eradicated it. But what is true health? To me, it’s multi-faceted: physical, emotional, financial…with a lot of sub categories.
1) Physical – Being at a healthy weight and moving are critical to this one. Being at a healthy weight often means you aren’t on meds AND you can even get off meds once you reach this goal. It means less stress on your joints which equates to less pain and feeling better. It means that you MUST have decent nutrition. Notice that I don’t say you have to be perfect and only eat alfalfa sprouts and veggies. If you want to lose weight, it’s a simple matter of putting less energy (fuel) into your body. Having said this, you want your fuel to be of good quality. A sports car can’t function at optimal capacity with regular fuel, it needs premium. A sedan can’t function when it gets “bad gas” infused with water or some other non-essential ingredient. Your body can’t function well if you are constantly eating too much sugar, salt…non essentials. Focus on veggies and fruits and lean meats when you’re trying to shed some lbs. Moderation is key when you’re at your healthy weight and you want to maintain it. Use the 80/20 rule. 80% of the time eat well and 20%...well, a little wine and dessert doesn’t hurt anyone. On to exercise/moving. It’s not all fun and games, but you don’t have to do a lot to maintain health. It’s about setting a plan and being consistent. Can you walk a minimum of 10 minutes a day? Can you commit to 2 days of strength training for just 10 minutes. Can you get your heart pumping 3 times a week for 10 minutes? Of course! It’s a matter of choice and if you want good health, as Nike says, “Just Do It!” Lastly, see if you can find a sport that you like. Exercise then becomes “fun and games”!
2) Emotional – I could talk about this forever and ever. Our minds are so powerful! What you think about, comes about. First and foremost, I have personally found that practicing gratitude every morning and evening is huge to making me feel better. Think of 3 things you’re thankful for. It doesn’t have to be earth shattering. You enjoyed the birds chirping in the morning; the sunrise was spectacular; you’re loving the new pair of shoes. Know what your values are and pay particular attention to those aspects. If spirituality is important to you, stop making excuses to get to church. If honesty is important, don’t tell your best friend that her dress looks great on her. If relationships are important, put the time and energy necessary to make them flourish. Side note: one of those relationships should be with YOU! Remember, when you are at your peak, you are able to show up for others better too. Getting hung up on guilt when you take time for you is not serving you or anyone else. Learn how to say NO and feel good about it. Here’s an easy trick to saying no: “I would really love to help you with that event, but I have so much going on right now that I couldn’t give it my all and I know you can find someone better for the job.” The end! When your emotional health is at its peak, stress is low. Stress is the culprit of most disease. You get the picture. Health is multi-faceted.
3) Financial – Money does not make you happy…but it sure can help make life easier! 50% of Americans live beyond their means. Even more than that live paycheck to paycheck. If there is more month than money at the end of the month, take a look at your expenditures. Start tracking them and make adjustments. We don’t have cable TV. When we want to watch something, we purchase it from Amazon or Netflix. All the news you can ever want (and then some) is on the internet. If you have a Starbucks habit, start making your own coffee in the morning and limit Starbucks (or whatever that habit is) to once a week. You’ll be amazed at how that $5 savings adds up over the long haul. Make a game out of your new financial plan and see how much you can save at the end of the month. BTW if you have a “keep up with the Joneses mentality”, ditch it! I guarantee that it is not serving you.
To summarize, having a healthy happy life requires a little work. You’ll have more physical energy, emotional stamina, financial independence…and it’s worth the work to have the quality of life you deserve. Make the decision to commit to YOU!