We plan for business. We plan for our family. Why do we not take the time to plan for ourselves? Climbing Mt. Everest sounds easier than that. But, unlike climbing Mt.Everest, which for most us is not a necessary motivation in life, some sort of balance and wellness plan is.
So, let’s start with a simple question. What does wellness mean to you? Your answer will be very different than mine.
What is wellness?
Maybe we should define wellness to create a mutual understanding of the term. According to Webster’s Dictionary, “Wellness is the quality or state of being healthy in body and mind, especially as the result of deliberate effort.”
Sounds good, but what if we also defined wellness for the realities of our day to day lives? What if we defined it as the ability to be able to do what we need to do, when we need to do it, and have a bit of fun every once in a while doing so? Ok, so yes, your answer will still be very different than mine; however, now we know that wellness is our way to living our best lives, and wouldn’t that also inadvertently create the balance we so desire?
How do we create wellness?
Let’s start with the very basic level of the human body: cells. Cells, in their simplest form, are the building blocks of life, and they produce proteins to survive and reproduce. Without these proteins, their organelles (yes, tiny organs) cannot develop, remove waste, transport nutrients, nor reproduce. In other words, they die. And if your cells continually die at a greater rate compared to multiplying, well…then our bodies die right along with them.
Your body was built to live!
And your body wasn’t built to die…at least not today. Your body was built so that you may live. So that you can tackle that hill, lift your grandson, get up off the floor, climb that mountain, run that marathon, throw the ball with your dog, write that book, cook your favorite meal, sleep your best sleep, live your best life.
In a fundamental way, your movement is what builds up those proteins in your cells, allowing them to grow, to develop, to break down, to deform, and then reform, becoming stronger, creating a stronger you.
Deform and Reform – What?!
Cells create muscles. There are over 640 skeletal muscles in the human body and the more we use them, the more they break down. The more they break down, the harder they have to work to build back up. The more they build back up the stronger they become. When you lift for fitness it takes effort. That effort actually minutely tears your muscle fibers – it breaks them down. That doesn’t sound good.
Oh, but it is very good indeed. You see, it is during the resting period, after you have torn down those muscle fibers, that they heal, and they heal stronger than what they were before. It’s as though your body understands, “Oh, you’re going to put that extra load on me, so I have to be prepared for it next time. Not a problem; I will be stronger and ready for that extra load.”
Let’s take this body understanding one step further, and go back to those cells for a moment. Those proteins that your cells need to grow and develop, your entire body needs those, too. And for the sake of wellness, let’s think of those proteins now as the food that you feed your body for fuel.
Many of us think that the less food we ate, the more weight we’ll lose. Well, just like your body deforms and reforms from effort and becomes stronger, it does the same with food, except maybe stronger isn’t the correct word, how about rounder.
Diets. They are one of our worst enemies. We put on some extra pounds, we go on a diet, we lose a few pounds, and then put them right back on again. Sound about right? But why is it so hard to lose weight when you take in less calories?
Once again, our bodies know better than we do, so when we play this diet roller coaster, our bodies react similar to when we lift weights. When you are dieting, you generally deny your body the fuel it needs when it’s hungry. So your body responds, “Oh, I see you’re not feeding me when I’m hungry, so I’ll hold on to the fat that I get when you do feed me. That way, I will be ready for when you don’t.”
Great, but what does all this have to do with wellness?
Simple, give your body what it needs, and wellness and balance are a given. That sounds much simpler than trying to climb Mt. Everest.
Maybe you don’t need to lose weight. Maybe you need to lose some hours at work instead and gain hours at home with your family. Maybe you need some breath work, yoga work, stretch work, meditative work, or maybe you don’t need any classes at all, just someone to talk to or vent to. Or maybe you just need to go camping, hiking, or biking. Remember, wellness is what you need to live your best life, not mine or your neighbor’s, or even your husband’s, YOURS!
Four Simple Steps to Create Your Unique Wellness and Balance Plan
Decide to be well. Make the choice to live your best life. By simply deciding, you have already begun. Feeling a bit hopeless and want to wallow a bit longer? We’ve all been there, but eventually you have to choose hope over cynicism.
Think about all the things you love to do, and write them down. Think about all the things you have to do, and write those down, too. Think about all the things you hate to do. Don’t write those down; they don’t deserve that much attention. Just be aware that they are not your favorite things, although many of those things are probably necessary and required (like laundry), so instead of hating them, look at them as a path to get you to the things you love (like clean-smelling clothes).
3) Create a simple plan
Take those things that you love to do and make room in your busy week, for at least one of them. Two or three would be nice, but let’s be realistic here – one step at a time. Take those things that you have to do and make them more entertaining. For example, cleaning your house – play music and dance while cleaning. I know, cheesy, but it works if you decide to let it work. Another example could be grocery shopping. Get excited about cooking one meal that requires a real recipe with real ingredients and cook it while listening to music and enjoying a glass of wine. Make the entire process from researching the recipe to shopping for ingredients to cooking to enjoying a meal at a table with your family, an intentional evening. One to be savored and remembered.
4) Create a detailed plan to ensure continued wellness and balance
Now that you’ve created a simple plan, let’s create a detailed and balanced plan. Meaning time for yourself, time for your family and friends, time to dance, time to be outdoors, time to exercise, time to relax, time to stretch, time to breathe.
Create actual appointments to do the things you love to do. Use your calendars, your digital tools, your smartphones, whatever works for your style. Your calendar is meant to keep you on top of things, so use it for you, not against you. Be just as loyal to the appointments you set for yourself and your family as you are for your business or your clients.
You can totally create this plan on your own, but will you, or will life get in the way?
A wellness plan co-created with you
When you’re ready for some help with creating that detailed plan, we’re here. Start small with just a few yoga and breath classes, or go big, and contact Theresa for a full-fledged tele-wellness consultation on co-creating a balanced wellness plan just for you.
After all, it is your life and your wellness; it should be your plan.