Hey there friends,
If you’ve been following along, you know we’ve been using our weekly Wellness Wednesday blog posts to explore the Seven Dimensions of Wellness. If you’re new to the scene, check out our blog posts The Chick's Company Blog.
Last week we covered Social Wellness, something you may not have realized contributes to your overall Wellness. This week is quite different. It is a topic many of us think is the only thing that comprises our health and wellness. That is, Physical Wellness.
The question now is, are you tending to all areas of your Physical Wellness? As usual, there’s more to it than you think, so let’s dive right in.
Our society today does a pretty good job of bringing particular parts of Physical Wellness into our awareness. It’s all about what you eat, how you move, and how you physically look and perform from an external perspective.
But Physical Wellness is much more than diet and exercise as far as the eyes can see.
All too often we forget about things like safe sex practices, going to the doctor, going to the dentist, taking your vitamins, drinking enough water, proper hygiene, getting a good night of sleep, checking our blood pressure and being aware of genetic predispositions that need specific attention. The list continues, but you get the idea.
Think of your Physical Wellness as physiological process of the body that need to be addressed in order to function at their optimal levels.
When we lessen the emphasis from looking good and focus our attention on feeling good, the motivation and desire to take care of our physical body takes on a different meaning. I’ll be the first one to admit, it’s not easy. Especially with various forms of media telling us about the next fad diet or exercise plan. It can be a full time job to keep up with the trends. Not to mention, we live in a very competitive society where success and wealth is deemed as more important than taking time out for our wellbeing.
Thing is, our Physical Wellness is a lifestyle we create for ourselves and only ourselves, not something to show off or impress others with. It is what we do on a daily basis to ultimately prevent disease and keep ourselves out of the doctor’s office.
So, where do we begin? Tuning into your body and knowing yourself. This is one of the many reasons I fell in love with yoga and meditation. The practice teaches us to check in with our bodies and notice how it feels. It teaches us to move and breathe mindfully, so we are more aware of minor disturbances in the physical body.
If yoga isn’t your thing, that’s not a problem! Check in with yourself in a way that works for you. You are the only one who has to live in your body, so why not make it a pleasant place to be?
I’ll give you a brief narrative, and one of the many reasons it’s important to check in with the body.
One summer, not too long ago, but before I starting practicing yoga, meditation and mindfulness regularly, I got really good at ignoring the biological needs of my body in exchange for enjoying the heat, sun and active Park City, Utah lifestyle. As a New Jersey native and not having an affinity for drinking water, (I don’t believe the two are related, but who knows) I wasn’t quite used to the concept of “dry heat” and life at a high altitude.
We’re often referred to this mathematically devised recommendation of how many ounces of water you’re supposed to drink in a day, and I’m not discrediting the research and clinical studies that support it, but it fails to take into account how much energy you're expending, how much you're sweating and what your location and climate is. In Park City, especially in the high summer, staying hydrated is an uphill battle. Each individual’s body, situation, environment and genetic code is different.
Long story short, I ignored my thirst, which eventually led to extreme dehydration, a visit to the emergency room and multiple bags of saline. I ended up feeling disappointed in myself and even scared at how easy it was to throw my body off balance.
Physical Wellness is probably the most complicated because it involves so many different processes. Our bodies are delicate masterpieces — there’s a reason it takes half a lifetime and a large student loan before becoming a doctor. I have immense respect for the doctors, caregivers and health professionals out there. The only advantage you have over your doctor is you are witnessing these physiological process constantly, and they are not. Ultimately, you are your best care taker.
The most basic question you can ask yourself in order to determine where a change or difference in your life can be made is, how does this make me feel?
How do I feel after eating a doughnut first thing in the morning as opposed to a hearty bowl of oatmeal with seeds and fruit?
How do I feel when I start or end my day with some sort of movement?
How do I feel when I stare at my screen all day rather than taking frequent breaks to look up and give my eyes a rest?
Do I feel better after 5 hours of sleep, or am I more pleasant when I get 8?
Do I need to pop an Advil when my head hurts, or drink a glass of water?
Physical Wellness requires us to check in with ourselves and ask these vital questions throughout the day. And at some point, rather than a series of questions, it will simply be a way of life.
We all operate differently when it comes to making a change or breaking/creating a new habit. You may be the type that needs a complete reboot overnight. And it may be necessary if the change needs to occur because your life is at stake.
Sometimes it takes a catastrophic diagnosis, but it doesn’t have to.
For many of us, and the most guaranteed way to create lasting change is to do it gradually, over time and in a way that is fitting for our own personal lifestyles and budgets.
Be honest with yourself. What can you do today, right now, to make one small change that will lead you to a more vibrant life? How can you care for your body, your cells, your organs, your bones and your muscles, so they can perform optimally?
Start small, and start now. You deserve it.