Being healthy can take on many meanings, however the two most common meanings of being healthy is one that consumes a healthy diet and is physically active. To your surprise, those are the two things that this post won’t be focusing on. There are many things, other than fitness and nutrition, that play a large role in determining if someone is healthy or not. One can eat a healthy diet and be physically active, but if they’re not working on other areas of their life, then they still might not be healthy.
Some things that can affect your health are:
Stress & Overwhelm
Lack of sleep
Depression & Grief
Lack of socialization
Lack of family time
Lack of self care
Little to no alone time
Bottling up emotions
And Many More
I’m going to focus more on the first three in this post because the rest tie into the first three and I will discuss further in future posts.
Stress & Overwhelm
Being raised in this culture trains us to think that we always have to stay busy and that if we aren’t busy then we’re being seen as lazy. Most of us work a minimum of 40 hours per week, some even work 2 different jobs to make ends meet. Then when you’re work day is done you are expected to go home, clean your house, prepare dinner for your family, clean up the kitchen, do laundry, help your kids with homework, put them to bed and by the time that is all said and done all you can do is go to sleep and do it all again the next day. Not to mention, most of us take our work home too. So when our work day is done and we go home to start our family work day; i.e. cooking and cleaning, we still continue to work for our day jobs by answering texts, emails, phone calls, etc. The “work” just never seems to end.
Only we can control what we do and don’t do. You have to draw the line somewhere because if you don’t, all those daily stressors are going to start to overwhelm you to the point where you breakdown.
So if you find yourself working too many hours then take a day off, and or, leave early here and there. Base your decisions on your personal situation, but you have to somehow cut down your workload. Something to tell yourself that I always have to remind myself as well, is the business will still be there whether you’re there or not.
The show will go on.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you’re struggling to get everything done at home then delegate some tasks to your family members. Give your kids chores, it will teach them responsibility before they’re of working age. Every parent likes to treat their kids every so often with going out for ice cream or a trip to the zoo. However you choose to treat your kids, have them earn it. My daughter has been doing nightly chores ever since she was a toddler. At that young of an age it was small things like, put your toys away. As she got older though, I have her doing the dishes every night, taking care of our cats, vacuuming and doing her laundry. She is a big help to me because with my work schedule and building a business on the side, there is no way that I would have time to do everything myself.
Also, don’t be afraid to ask your significant other for help. Don’t be superwoman or superman. They can help with cooking, cleaning, laundry, groceries, etc, all you have to do is ask.
A lack of sleep is very bad for your health. Your body needs that time to recoup from the previous day and prepare for the next day. If you’re not getting enough sleep then your body will always be dragging. However, it won’t only be your body dragging, it will be your mind too. You’ll have trouble focusing, remembering, retaining attention, and grasping anything new. When you’re tired you operate on autopilot. You think your fine because you have a routine and your body can go through the motions without your mind being fully present in what you’re doing. The second a wrench is thrown in your routine and you have to do something new or out of the norm, you’re mind and body can no longer operate functionally and it’s a struggle to accomplish said task.
There are many things your body does when your sleeping that you may not even know about. Your body works hard while you’re at rest and if you’re not resting then your body won’t perform the tasks it needs to the fullest potential. Believe it or not, you are burning fat and calories in your sleep. Your body is in full digestion mode throughout the night to process what you’ve consumed the day/days prior. You can be eating a healthy diet and be physically active, but if your not getting enough sleep then your not giving your body the time and rest it needs to burn the calories and go through it’s nightly processes.
Depression & Grief
There are many ways people handle depression and grief. I’ve battled depression all throughout my young adult years and been forced to face grief well before I thought I would. I’m going to tell you how I dealt with my grief and the lessons I learned from it.
My mom was diagnosed with cancer when she was 50 years old. I was only 22 years old. At that time I wasn’t living with her, I was living in New York and she was in Florida. She battled breast cancer for 2 years, but she lost and passed away at 52 years old. When she passed I was overwhelmed with grief in all forms possible. I went through every stage and back and forth multiple times too. How I handled it wasn’t well at all though. After flying back to New York after the funeral I locked myself away in my room for about a week. After that week passed, I spent most of my time with friends, drank every chance I could get, almost never slept, stayed out all night and went straight to work the next day. It’s safe to say that I was a complete mess. If I wasn’t partying I made sure I was never alone and stayed busy every waking second of the day. I had no time to reflect, no time to think, no time to grieve, which is ultimately what I really needed.
Looking back 8 years later, I know I should have taken time to cry, taken the time to seek support from my friends and family or even a professional. I should have found a different distraction, a healthier one, instead of drinking away my sorrows.
6 years and one week after my mother passed I was faced with grief all over again. My father passed away, also from cancer. However this time, it wasn’t only this 29 year old young adult that had to suffer, my 11 year old daughter suffered too. When my mother passed my daughter was only 5 and unfortunately, didn’t spend much time with my mother and was young enough to not fully understand what had happened, but this time was very different. My father played a large role in helping me raise my daughter. They were very close, and with her father not being in the picture, my dad filled that void for her.
My daughter went into a very dark place after my father passed. I focused on her 100%, I got her the help she needed and I supported her no matter how much she pushed me away. Luckily I had a much healthier distraction from my own grief, my daughters grief, but I still didn’t deal with my own either. I isolated myself from everything and everyone and essentially lost everything I was before my father passed. I lost all hobbies, interests, drive, direction . . . I lost myself.
Looking back, a year and a half later, I should have reminded myself of the things that I enjoyed before my father passed. I should have chosen to keep myself “alive” because that’s what my father would have wanted. I should have shown my daughter that I was strong and instead of preaching to her what she should do to help her grief, I should have just done it. I should have taken better care of myself so I can take care of my daughter.
I’m sharing these more personal aspects of my life with you because I’m also a normal person, who at times gets stressed and overwhelmed, who doesn’t always get enough sleep, and who has also gone through loss and depression. Sometimes life gets in the way of always being “healthy,” but it’s how we react to it that makes all the difference.
I may be co-running a fitness and nutrition business, but it’s not just what you eat and how much you move that make you healthy or not. It’s work, it’s parenting, it’s how you spend your spare time, it’s how much sleep you get, it’s how you react to the unexpected things that life’s throws at you, and yes life will always throw them at you. As you grow and get healthier you will see that when life throws something at you, you will catch it, you will own it, you will handle it, and then you will put it down. Life will no longer throw things at you and knock you down.
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