Here we are at the end of 2013 and the beginning of 2014. As always with the transition to a New Year, we wish each other a good things for the new year and resolve to do things like lose weight and get healthy. As a fitness instructor, I’ve often said that the definition of fitness is different for all of us. For some people it’s the ability to run a marathon, for others, it’s being able to go from sitting in a chair to standing up. So what is health? Good health? Being healthy? I think it’s as individual as the definition of fitness.
Most people will say that to be healthy you need to eat right and exercise. That’s nice and neat but what does it mean? For “eating right” people often tell me that they are eating low-fat, low-salt, avoiding red meat, and other things that they hear about in the media or are told to do by their doctors, but there’s a lot of uncertainty about what to eat. As I’ve said in a previous post, I believe in eating whole foods and figuring out what works best for you. As for exercise, you can really overthink this one, but evidence points to being as active as possible and having fun while you’re doing it as being the way to go.
The ability to control our stress is a major contributing factor to being healthy and I don’t think we pay enough attention to how it impacts our health. I see articles in the press about managing stress with yoga and deep breathing but while these may work for some people, many others can’t imagine incorporating them into their lifestyles, so what can they do? I think it’s important to be aware of the things, people and events that push our buttons, and figure out what to do about them. Sometimes we have to change our priorities when something happens that also needs our attention. I’ve learned that the best way for me to avoid feeling overwhelmed is to do the best I can, working my way through the things I need to do one at a time. What works for you?
And then there’s sleep. Contrary to how it may seem in our go-go-go society, sleep is not a waste of time. We really need this down time to recuperate physically and emotionally. We know from experience that a lack of sleep and high stress are linked, so if we reduce stress, we’ll get a better night’s sleep.
Did you do something fun today? Make someone else smile? Encourage them? Did you discover something new? Take a risk? Did you think about the things your are grateful for? I think these are things that take us beyond surviving and into living. They help us create memories and are the gifts that keep on giving as we look back, remember, and smile all over again. Come to think of it, they’re free of side effects, too!
Patients are People, too!
We are much more than our ailments, diseases and syndromes. We are people who matter to other people, and have something to contribute to the world. Let’s take charge of the quality of our lives so we can enjoy them and share them with the people we love.
Wishing you a Happy and Healthy New Year in 2014.