What Does It Mean To Be Truly Healthy?
The World Health Organization defined health as ‘A state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.’ What stands out in this definition for me is that it takes several modalities to achieve overall health of body and mind. As Functional Medicine considers many parts that make up the whole, so does it take focus in various areas to create true health.
So how do we attain health in a holistic way?
To assess our health, we need to look at several factors that make up our daily lives and how we live them. Even though we may not have a specific illness or disease, we may not feel our healthiest and may still be in a state of dis-ease. In this case, we must examine our lives and work on the following areas to help improve our lifestyles:
- Diet – How are we eating? Are we eating a balance of whole, organic, unprocessed food? Are we avoiding foods that create inflammation and disease processes in our bodies? Are we drinking enough water? Are we eating regular nutritious meals but without overeating?
- Exercise – Are we doing at least 15-30 minutes of movement every day?
- Sleep – Are we getting uninterrupted, regular sleep and feeling rested when we wake up?
- Stress management – Are we taking time for ourselves? Are we managing the balance between stress and relaxation? Are we saying “no” to things that are not necessarily adding to our lives for ourselves and our families?
All these lifestyle factors impact our health, and when we don’t feel as good as we should, we should work on these areas and see where we can make healthier choices. Being healthy means that you experience vitality and feel strong, fit, and confident daily. It means being realistic when it comes to food choices, exercise, sleep, and work-life balance.
I very much believe that we must incorporate balance into our lives and choices.
I like to live by the Pareto principle or the 80/20 rule!
Eating a balanced diet can be periodically interrupted by an occasional not-so-healthy splurge. It’s what you do 80% of the time that makes the difference, but it doesn’t mean we have to deprive ourselves of all the things we enjoy.
The body is a creature of habit, and your daily rituals will build vitality. Healthy habits reinforce your routine, so choosing wellness is the first step towards creating a long-term health goal. Therefore, it’s important to make positive changes slowly, over time, so that they’re integrated into your daily routine.
Being healthy doesn’t mean you have to spend on the latest yoga clothes, superfoods, gym memberships or juicers. Being healthy means that you make simple healthy choices such as:
- Planning your menu to include a balance of fresh fruit and vegetables, unprocessed carbs, healthy fats, and clean proteins.
- Exercising outdoors e.g. a daily walk around your neighborhood or office building.
- Taking nutritional supplements.
- Being open and honest about your thoughts and feelings.
- Enjoying time with friends and family.
- Getting a good night’s sleep.
- Being mindful to stay in a positive state of mind, remembering what you have to be grateful for.
- Seeing yourself in a loving and compassionate way.
- Nurturing healthy relationships.
Being healthy is a mindset that we continue to evaluate and create for ourselves. If we fall off the wagon, we reset on Monday with renewed energy and compassion for ourselves.
Creating wellness for ourselves is a journey but it’s rewarding and offers us so many valuable lessons in growth along the way.
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