Like many, I have been anxiously waiting for 2020 to be over in anticipation of some magical new year reset when the world will begin to heal and the shell-shocked population could once again begin to breathe freely and feel some hope.
I feel like I’ve been holding my breath for ten months, living in a fearful limbo. Viewing the outside world as a potential threat. Not being able to see family and friends has been isolating and lonely. Worse, it’s starting to feel normal. This is not okay.
Redirecting focus away from the headlines shouting about our dark future and concentrating on what can be controlled in our lives is a tangible step toward maintaining a positive attitude during a difficult and ever-changing situation. As someone living with chronic illness, I learned long ago that self-care and stress management are things that need to be consistently practiced for physical and mental wellbeing. Most people think wellness and health are interchangeable, but they are not the same thing. The definition of health is being free of injury or illness, wellness is about balance.
To add some stability to our lives we need to think about the components that make up personal wellness. These are the areas of our lives that directly impact our overall health. Being ‘healthy’ is not just about nutrition and exercise. It’s also about our relationships, family life, job, environment, purpose, and even personal fulfillment. It’s a big picture idea representing all the parts of your life and how well you balance these areas.
I occasionally ask people what they think wellness represents and I’ve gotten a few responses I hadn’t considered such as being okay with yourself when your health isn’t perfect, participating in life, being able to do things that matter, and peace. All these things are important for happiness and life satisfaction. Since wellness cannot be achieved without a certain equilibrium, the mind, body, and spirit must in balance.
Someone once taught me that you can exercise and eat all the blueberries you want to be healthy but if you’re unhappy or not acknowledging and addressing mental health, you will not thrive. 2020 was a year that I let my fear overpower my general wellbeing. I shuttered myself in my house, didn’t give relationships outside my bubble the attention they deserved, and forgot to practice stress management strategies and self-care, all to my detriment. It’s no wonder I ended up with panic attacks!
Wellness matters. Mental health, relationships, purpose, nutrition, physical activity, and spirituality all contribute to overall health. My commitment to myself for 2021 is to no longer let fear guide my decisions and to make some easily attainable goals that will improve my attitude and boost my immune system including:
- Walks in nature because I find it meditative as well as good exercise.
- Write in my journal at least weekly. It’s therapeutic! A great way to work through anxiety and to acknowledge the good things happening in life.
- Add a daily smoothie to help meet nutritional needs.
My New Year’s Resolution is to redirect my focus to things I can control, to make better choices toward living a fulfilling life, and to embrace wellness!
What does wellness look like to you? What commitment will you make to yourself in 2021?
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