“Mens sana in corpore sano” wrote Juvenal the Roman poet. From ancient times to our present technology-driven days, we have been searching for ways to live better lives. “A sound mind in a healthy body” sums up so well that being healthy should truly address the Mind/Body connection.
After all, we use phrases like “I know it in my gut” or “I feel butterflies in my stomach”. In essence, the state of our health reflects not only everything we put in and do to our body but also, what we think and how we feel.
Deep changes in societies around the globe and events in our life can have sneaky, tricky or brutal effects on our well-being. And it is especially true if we are not equipped to respond in a nurturing way to get back on our feet.
Awareness and attention to our Mind/Body self-care is our most readily available resource to ensure we are healthier physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually and thus can conquer the challenges we encounter and lead the rich life we envision. Yet, self-care is not, to this day still, a priority in many people’s lives or in businesses.
We live longer, but not in good health
The consensus is that too many people are dying earlier than they should because of preventable diseases. And many more do not pass away at an early age, but live many years with chronic diseases that considerably lower their quality of life and enjoyment. In the US, we spend on average 20% of our existence unhealthy.
Indeed, preventable chronic diseases are largely caused by our own lifestyle habits. The CDC reports that 6 in 10 adults suffer from a chronic disease; and that 4 in 10 adults suffer from at least 2 of them! Chronic diseases are the leading causes of death and disability and major drivers in our Nation’s $3.3 Trillion Annual Health Care Costs.
It is obvious that while our standard of living has improved, what we do on a daily basis and how we consume is running havoc on our health. In the end, it affects our longevity and our health span.
Fortunately, science is clearly showing that even though there is no magic formula to live fully disease-free until the day we pass away, there are many things we can do in our lifestyle to better the odds to a thriving long life.
And if you are looking for motivation to put yourself first, here are some worthy reasons.
1. Self-care to feel good in our head and in our skin, today and tomorrow!
By turning our attention to how we feel in our skin and in our head, we can learn much about what we do habitually that is not serving what we dream for ourselves and our loved ones. When we explore intentionally our behavior around issues that are already red flags to us, we can then start the wheel to create the changes we need to make.
We align our behavior in the direction of what we want most in life. It starts with self-compassion, non-judgmental observation and nurturing our body and our mind, a little each day.
When Dan Buettner, the author of the “Blue Zones” went to the places in the world that count the most centenarians, he discovered many unsuspected factors that seemed to be repeated in the lives of these happy thriving older people. There are things they do, every day, that are central to their vitality.
He found that they are mindful about what they eat and drink, about getting daily physical activity and making time for rest and recovery. And he also observed that they appeared to live by their values, have purpose, prioritize the people they love and be engaged in their social lives and communities.
All of them have gone through hardship and difficult times in life. But they are resilient and move forward on their life’s journey, holding onto the anchor of their physical, emotional and mental self-care.
Centenarians are the proof we have the power and opportunity to feel better by engaging proactively in the lifestyle habits that we already know we should address. When we listen to what our body and mind tell us and establish a personal self-care routine, we activate powerful preventive tools to increase our odds to be healthy in the long run.
2. Self-care to have the energy it takes to manifest the outcomes we long for in our lives
Centenarians are our evidence indeed that, by aligning Body, Mind and Spirit, we manage our precious energy to create what we want to see in the world.
Clearly they are onto something since they embody what we hope for in our own future: Harnessing amazing physical and mental energy to do the things we love not only today, but also in older age, for as long as possible. Isn’t that what we should all aim for?
Fast forward a few years, by the time they get to me, they are often out of steam, depressed and feeling unhealthy! How did they get there?
- A few years of malnutrition, eating what is easily available, including sugar, when the going gets tough, sitting for long periods, lost in digital space, and getting no exercise, sleeping poorly and with short vacations to recover.
- This spiraling goes hand in hand with work challenges and struggling for time, let alone quality personal time. It gets hard indeed to keep creativity and performance up when well-being, energy, motivation and morale fade.
And in today’s world of convenience, we tend to surrender to the medical field the control of our health and well-being. We mostly do that when we reach a roadblock: when we are sick physically or when we hit rock bottom mentally.
I would never diminish the important place healthcare holds in our life, but there is a lot we can do in terms of prevention. Physicians themselves urge us to take care of ourselves. Turning a blind eye to how we feel will eventually derail the thriving life we build today and take us away from the outcomes we wish to manifest.
Instead of addressing symptoms when they express themselves, why not take back the control of our well-being and ensure we keep in the best health through prevention?
Creating a personal self-care routine is our best ally to nurturing over time the precious energy we need to improve our health. It also allows us to keep up with living our dreams and to ensure we can still thrive many years down the road.
As we age, being healthy keeps us on track for success and away from wasting our precious time on this planet being unhappy, sick, inactive and taking costly medical treatments.
3. Taking care of oneself fuels taking better care of our loved ones and others; the other way around does not work!
Of the many people I meet who have lost their stamina, there are some who have gone beyond simply needing to get back into shape and reclaim their energy. They are parents and caregivers, who have usually given up on their self-care, to focus their attention onto nurturing others.
They are overwhelmed at work and take care of everyone in their family at the expense of their own well-being.
Their days are spent on auto-pilot. Their needs go beyond establishing supportive physical habits to claim back their energy. They feel exhausted and frankly, they feel stuck, depressed and negative about what their life has become and about their future.
Forget about personal alone time to reflect or explore what they want out of life. They are caught up with keeping up with their loved ones activities and meeting deadlines at work.
It is usually very difficult for them to take that first step to explore changes they can make to feel better. They feel a lot of guilt and resistance around taking time away from their family to take care of themselves.
Once they do start their journey and first improvements bloom, they become hopeful. Holistic wellness starts with small steps and little wins that feed their motivation to go deeper. They realize their potential for change is much greater than they would have ever thought.
But the one observation they all seem to make is that taking care of themselves seems to ripple around in their family life. Everyone from partner, husband, wife and children is also suddenly behaving and looking a whole healthier. Running yourself down is unnecessary and a disservice to the entire family as well.
A healthy family simply starts with healthy role models.
It is feasible for all of us to make health improvements that will have incredible benefits on our life. Self-care ensures that we help our being, body and mind, perform better and reclaim our most crucial resource: our vitality.
This energy we need not only to keep us healthy and active, but also to sustain the endeavors we wish to manifest successfully, and to take care mindfully of our loved ones. This virtuous circle is the reason self-care of body, mind and spirit is the most important basic foundation to achieve not only health but also serenity, fulfillment and a thriving life!
If you are ready for your own journey to making the healthy changes that will help you thrive but don’t know where to start, I invite you to book a complementary discovery session with me! This will give you the opportunity to find out whether holistic health coaching could help you achieve the results you long for.
Happy Healthy Long Life!
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- https://www.healthsystemtracker.org/chart-collection/u-s-life-expectancy-compare-countries/#item-le_the-u-s-has-the-lowest-life-expectancy-at-birth-among-comparable-countries_2019 retrieved on 8/6/19