World Health Organization definition of Health:
“Health is a state of complete physical , mental and social well being and not merely the absence of disease of infirmity.”
It’s important to remember when discussing health that it is not just our bodies that require the best efforts we can give but our mental and social state. Being healthy starts with having a positive relationship with yourself first and foremost, and this requires habitual practices of self love and affirmation.
Have you ever heard the saying ,” The way you treat others is a reflection of how you feel about yourself.”? It can be hard to treat others as kindly as you probably could if you don’t feel at full capacity yourself. As a young adult it is often hard to balance the desire to take good care of your health with the crazy hectic schedule that is probably your existence. ” In 2011( according to the U.S. Census Bureau, 2011 American Community Survey) of the 19.7 million students aged 16 and over enrolled in undergraduate college, 72% worked( 20% full-time, year-round workers and 52% less than that).” So it’s safe to assume if we’re one of the 72% of those 19 million+ students who were in college in 2011- we have a job. You are probably just graduating and navigating your way into your chosen career , or continuing your education in one form or another, or even raising a family but you still have to balance a home life, a social life and even some sort of personal life. Between all of that it can become very easy to skip the steps needed to reconnect with ourselves and maintain our well being every day, after all you are a person in your world who deserves love and encouragement so you can be what you need to those you care about.
Here is a 5 item Checklist for Wellness that I believe can help make you more aware of the attention you pay to yourself and how much better you feel when you do.
- Stretch Daily. – According to a UC Davis SHCS blog written in 2014, stretching releases the tension in your muscles making it a very effective form of stress management, allowing you to recharge and refresh the blood throughout your body resulting in a calmer mindset. Stretching also allows for an increased blood and nutrient flow throughout the body so your energy levels will be increased resulting in an improved sense of invigoration. Activities such as yoga help you learn how to connect your breath with the stretching of your body, and can be done for as little or as long as you can squeeze in.
- Read for 20 minutes.- “In addition to the relaxation that accompanies reading a good book, it’s possible that the subject you read about can bring about immense inner peace and tranquility. Reading spiritual texts can lower blood pressure and bring about an immense sense of calm, while reading self-help books has been shown to help people suffering from certain mood disorders and mild mental illnesses.” So try to make time every day to sit down and let your mind go somewhere else, its good for you.
- Eat Raw Food.- This is coming from a place of personal experience and also credibly sourced research, but foods eaten in their most natural state contain raw food enzymes, the benefits of consuming which include improved digestion and skin quality, enhanced immunities and increased energy levels. The fruits and vegetables abundant in raw food diets boost antioxidants that may protect against cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, cardiovascular disease and macular degeneration so not only are you going to immediately feel good after eating you’re more likely to continue feeling good later on in life from foods eaten in this state. You also can’t say you don’t have the time because it literally requires no prep, just wash and eat!
- Exercise.- We all know we need to do it, the conversation could really stop there but for some reason its one of the main activities for our health that we avoid. Exercise is proven to be good for your mind, good for your heart and pretty much the entire rest of your body. Regular exercise keeps your mood balanced, helps you relieve stress, can be an excellent source of positive motivation…there really is no reason not to do it. If you find yourself consistently putting off the gym then stop trying to force yourself to go to the gym! Walk around the neighborhood or the local track with a friend or your dog, break out your bike or some roller skates, take a pole dancing class but make an attempt to do something everyday for at least an hour to get your heart rate up.
- Love Yourself.– Positive words inspire positive actions and as entirely cliche as it sounds, there is something very powerful in saying ” I love you.” to you. Even if it doesn’t feel powerful the first time you say it or even the 10th or 100th time, if you continue to tell yourself that you are worthy of love, just the way you are you will begin to treat yourself as if you are worthy.
Rikki Mason, Avid Dog Lover.