What Does Health Mean To You?
Updated: Sep 19, 2020
When asked this question, I find the responses from my clients cover a wide spectrum:
‘Being a size 8’, ‘having more energy to play with my children’, ‘to have glowing skin’, ‘quit my sugar cravings’, ‘to eradicate my health condition’.
The World Health Organisation defined the word health as this:
“Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”.
This statement puts into perspective that health has many different branches to be explored and bring attention to…
It’s really important to recognise that there is usually not just one thing that will ‘transform’ our health. You could have a brilliant nutritional intake but if your relationships and home life aren’t bringing you fulfilment, inevitably this will have a negative impact on your overall well-being, regardless of the amount of broccoli you may be eating.
If you are striving for perfection each day, being hard on yourself for not getting everything ticked off your to-do list, that continuous pressure and perfected version of yourself you’re trying to reach is going to bring you down considerably if you don’t meet your own ‘standard’… even if you’re still managing to get your 8 hrs sleep in per night.
It’s a combination of factors that must be considered
The way in which I work with clients is multifaceted, taking into account many factors which can impact our current health state, including stress, sleep, nutrition, physical activity and social connection. By exploring these elements we gain some identification for perhaps why things aren’t working and which bit(s) of the puzzle we can concentrate on improving first. The body is a hugely complex piece of machinery, but when we can pinpoint or start to understand the why, we can then get to the how and that is a liberating and fulfilling step to get to for change to happen!
I previously suffered with something called HA, ‘Hypothalamic Amenorrhoea’ (article coming soon on this) – I didn’t have my period for 2 years. My goal was simple and straight forward, but achieving it was not. In short, I had to address a multitude of factors in my everyday life, exploring the many contributions to my hormonal imbalance to get the result I was after.
When I eventually regulated my menstrual cycle, I can’t tell you the fulfilment I felt; I had not only achieved my goal, but in doing so optimised other aspects of my health that I was previously unaware linked in so profoundly to reproductive health.
When we put our body and mind in the best environment we can, great changes can happen but it’s not usually an overnight fix.
Sometimes we need to get comfortable with being uncomfortable
We humans have an amazing capacity to adapt and compensate for many stressors which is a blessing but also a curse. We typically get used to the way we ‘are’, the diet we eat, the lifestyle we lead and the way we feel, plus, the thought of change is daunting.
However, we cannot do the same thing over and over, expecting a different result (Einstein’s words, not mine – however we share the same birthday FYI). Reaching out for some guidance and a fresh perspective on a situation (probably getting increasingly bigger and more frustrating in your head) is a positive step for decreasing the burden and mental fatigue that our ill-states of health can bring on us.
What advice could I benefit from today?
So, health isn’t necessarily a size, health isn’t a ‘when I look like this or when I achieve that’. It’s SO much more. It’s accumulative lifestyle factors which influence our overall state of health which is constantly adapting and evolving. Nutrition choices, sleep quality, social connection, physical activity, our relationships with ourselves, stress…
If you feel like you’re failing because you didn’t get that extra serving of greens in today, or you ordered dessert last night with your other half when you were trying to be ‘good’, or you cancelled your HIIT class for a snooze instead… Don’t be so hard on yourself!
Finding true health and happiness I believe is an active process, creating a lifestyle pattern of positive and maintainable choices that lead us to a more balanced and fulfilling life which most certainly can include dessert – it’s about finding a lifestyle which works for YOU and your own personal health and situation and sometimes we need guidance from specialist practitioners to get us on the right track at the right time.
Lastly, do not compare or base what you ‘should do’ on what someone else is doing, we’re all different and everything we do has a completely unique effect on each of our physiologies for influencing our physical and mental health/happiness into the future.