During one of our sessions, my friend and wellness coach Kelly, asked if I had ever re-balanced myself after I gave birth to my eldest daughter nearly 16 years ago. I never re-balanced, I just adjusted. I had learned to master my life, living with things I hated because it was just easier to do. Years later I wondered how I got here. You know here. It’s where time moves slow but not in a good way. In here we feel stuck and off balance. We don’t feel like ourselves. We’re not necessarily sick (at least not yet) but we certainly are not well. Here is where dis-ease will continue to live if we don’t address its root cause. If you are struggling to be well and suffering under the weight of the world’s ridiculous rules- the ones that say you have to have this, be that, go there, be here- then I will share 3 keys to wellness that were gifted to me by my very thoughtful, often nosy, but extremely wise neighbor. She saw me one day a few months after I had been diagnosed with blood clots in my leg and both lungs. I told her what happened and she took one look at me and in her best broken English said, “You too young”, which is a sentiment I heard over and over. The funny thing is, youth does not guarantee health or wellness. You are never too old to live and you are never too young to die. With all the manufactured stress in my life, I was on the fast track to the latter but these simple directives from an elderly Asian woman would help me deal with the chaos of my life. She told me I needed to do 3 things- rest, get sunshine, and keep happy…in that order.
Rest is not just sleep although for most of us, it would help to get more of it. It is quieting the mind and tuning out unnecessary noise, making space for new revelations. To rest means we stop for a period of time to regroup and re-energize, wait for instruction, or just be still. When we rest we might finally notice the messages our bodies are trying to send us. Here’s a revelation for you- your body will only keep going for so long before it shuts down on you. I think of all the times my body tried to gently warn me to slow down, take it easy, rest, or leave the present situation but I ignored it in part because I never thought I would get sick. We can’t be “on the go” all the time. If you don’t even have enough time to cook for yourself, then I suggest you reevaluate what else is going on in your life. Shift some things around and add more rest to your schedule. Who knows, you might actually come up with a creative solution for that problem you’ve been trying to solve for the last 10 months!
2- Get Sunshine
We live in darkness both literally and figuratively- going to work or school before the sun rises and coming home long after the last rays disappear. On top of that, our culture perpetuates the belief that we need to work from sun up to sun down in order to be successful and if we even hint that we need a break, we are portrayed as being a slacker or unambitious. It’s no wonder so many adults in this country suffer with some form of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Most kids don’t even know what it means to go outside and play in the sunshine anymore as technology has become their favorite pastime. Getting adequate sunshine is healing, detoxifying, and energizing for our bodies and we need sunshine to make Vitamin D naturally. Vitamin D activates the immune system increasing the body’s ability to resist illness and dis-ease. It takes approximately 5-30 minutes of sun exposure twice per week for sufficient Vitamin D synthesis however to prevent the damaging effects of prolonged sun exposure, limit your outdoor activity between 10am and 4pm when ultra violet rays are strongest. Wear appropriate sun protective clothing and “eat your sunscreen” by consuming anti-oxidant rich fruits and vegetables.
3- Keep happy
There is so much uncertainty and instability in our world that maintaining happy is difficult particularly with our current political, social, and economic climate. That is why we must surround ourselves with things that have meaning for us (including the work we do). I have talked before about finding your muse- that thing that inspires you and fuels your passion. It gets you excited and keeps the positive energy flowing. Getting happy is hard enough but staying happy is even more challenging. Emotion, especially happiness, follows our thoughts. So we need to always be mindful and think about what we are thinking about. We can also start saying “no” to things that no longer serve us. Joyce Meyer always says, “If the horse has been dead 10 years, it’s time to dismount”. What are you holding onto that has died or is sucking the life (and happiness) out of you? Here is where you need to practice “necessary selfishness”. Don’t continue to accept and adjust to “the norms” then teach your kids to do the same. Remember, other than what you have to do, stop doing the things you no longer want to do.
You might think achieving wellness requires a lifestyle change, but it actually requires a mindset change. Our degree of wellness is a manifestation of the life we created and the choices we made. When we choose to honor our lives, we will begin to make better choices for ourselves. It’s just that simple. Still, it’s not easy to change our mindset especially if we have become used to the way things are. My life had become familiar and I was not enjoying it. I realized I forfeited being well to host familiarity and familiarity ultimately breeds contempt and resentment. So, it’s important to put yourself first if you want to improve your health. Not only do you have to learn to love yourself, you have to learn to please yourself. That is something I’m still not doing to the extent I need to but I’m getting there. Use these three keys as your starting point to changing your own life. Though I cannot take credit for the list, I offer you my interpretation and you can, as my father would say, take it for what it’s worth.
©2016 by Tasha D. Manigo-Bizzell