What's this unicorn known as wellness and how the heck do we obtain it? How do we live our #bestlife, achieve balance and still do all the things? Take these 5 steps and get your wellness on!
Wellness. We see it mentioned everywhere and we all want it. But, how do we achieve it? I've been on a personal mission to figure out this unicorn - like state of being. My journey began about 15 years ago. I was in my mid 30s and struggling - physically, mentally and emotionally. I was exhausted. I was gaining weight, despite a healthy diet and regular exercise. I was on an emotional roller coaster from lack of restful sleep, numerous misguided medical diagnoses and prescribed anti-depressant medications. I was confused, frustrated and beginning to enter a downward spiral of hopelessness. After many months of living (and I'm using that term loosely) in a state of survival mode, I had a breakthrough realization. I made up my mind to determine what was creating this situation of struggle for my mind, body and spirit and take back control. I promised myself that I would work towards a solution to overcome my issues, even if it took the rest of my life. Let me pause right here and say that my story is just that - MY story. It is unique to me and as I am not a medical professional, I cannot tell anyone the specific path towards their personal wellness. However, I've discovered a few things along the way, and am sharing in the hope that one or more of these steps may get you headed in the right direction. With that, here's my 5 steps to create wellness.
1. Partner with an empowering medical professional. Maybe that is a Naturopath, Ayurvedic or Holistic Health Practitioner. Maybe it is a traditional Physician who is open minded enough to try alternatives to western medicine. Use your intuition and do your own research. Talk to everyone you trust and get referrals. If the first professional doesn't provide the direction you need, move on until you find the ideal fit.
2. Heal your gut. There is a reason that eastern cultures refer to our stomach as our "second brain". More and more studies are showing the correlation between gut health and immunity, inflamation, emotional balance, the list goes on. Determining what foods fuel your body positively, as well as foods that aren't supportive is an integral part of optimizing your body's wellness. With the guidance of a medical professional that you've already chosen (see step 1!), you may obtain testing for food allergies and sensitivities, do a trial elimination of the major and most common trigger foods, such as gluten, dairy, soy and corn. You and your health professional may also decide to do more targeted testing of nutrient absorbsion, elimination (yup, it's exactly what you think I'm referring to) and toxin screens, to name a few. Knowledge is power and while I didn't relish the realization that I needed to give up gluten to move forward with my wellness goals, I did it and after an almost instantaneous and hugely impactful improvement, my dietary restriction soon became an easy lifestyle change for the better.
3. Take small, but daily, steps. This seems very simple, but it's human nature to make a decison and go "all in" only to overwhelm overselves and quit when the process gets too complex. Cue all the diets that start with a bang on Monday and are totally abandoned by the time we hit our Friday happy hour of hot wings and beer. Take things at your own pace and be gentle with yourself. Your current state didn't happen overnight and your changes won't either. Setting your intention on making small but consistent changes that work for your real life will lead you towards making sustainable new practices. You don't know it now, but you will grow to LOVE that morning mediation that you thought you'd never, ever, do!
4. Get real. Uhmm, sorry. This one is a little harsh, but necessary. We can't create true wellness, without truth. What is really at the root of our personal struggles? Is it a negative mindset? Are there limiting beliefs? Addressing the emotional component of wellness from our history, learned behaviours and past experiences can be very difficult, but it is a vital step to evolve and grow.
5. Make the decison to BE WELL. This is the most simple, yet often most challenging part of the journey. When we DECIDE to be well, our bodies and minds focus on the steps to move us in a positive direction. This step is all encompassing. Speak life in to every aspect of your day to day routine. Use conscious language, i.e. using words and phrases to declare what you wish to happen as if it has already happened. If there is a diagnosis, refer to that as an issue that you are working through and not a description or a self-identifier. If you believe in God or a higher power, ask for guidance, support and healing. This may not occur in the timeline or manner that you had thought, but it is quite astonishing when it happens.
I hope these 5 steps provide the tools to get you started or continue down the wellness path, you've already begun. I'd love to hear your steps, tips and life hacks for wellness. Let's get a viral wellness thread going. Wouldn't that be just amazing? Ok, your turn. And...GO!