The coronavirus seems to be in every headline these days. There is genuine confusion about what local and national responses are going to be. Some cities and even countries are preventing people from traveling and closing schools, while others merely urge a more thorough handwashing regimen.
It is easy in times like these to forget that health is a “whole self” issue. Sure, a virus can be disruptive to an individual, family, or community. This is a reminder: your overall well-being is dependent on a larger system.
Is your health dependent on what you eat? Your activity level? Your friends and family?
All of the above. And more.
In fact, there are eight key areas where you have direct impact on your overall health and wellbeing.
These eight areas are outlined below, and are described in more detail in this Personal Health Inventory.
Food and drink
You are what you eat. This adage has been passed down over generations because it is largely true. Making wise choices about what, when, and how much you eat will contribute greatly to overall health, for better or for worse.
During an era when indulgence is seen as a right, restraint remains the key to a long and happy life. This does not mean never getting what you want. It means being intentional about when and how you indulge your tastes and preferences.
Moving the body
Exercise is a second important component to overall wellbeing. Recent science reveals that one does not need to have rock hard abs or run a four-minute to be fit. Taking time intentionally every day to move your body weather through Pilates, yoga, or other anaerobic or aerobic exercises, contributes to your overall health and well-being.
Physical and emotional surroundings
Do you “feng-shui”? Perhaps you “Marie Kondo”? Or are you more “Hoarders”?
The heightened sense of how we treat our surroundings and our possessions is a form of self-care. Creating tidy spaces that meet our emotional and physical needs is important. A sense of security is derived from having things in their place, and having the things we need.
How do you spend your time? Does your work fill you or drain you? Do your family and friends reinvigorate you, or do they tire you out?
Finding the right mix of enrichment, effort, and engagement is another overlooked key to health and wellbeing. Your best self needs to feel needed and valued, and how you spend your time should bring you joy. It does not need to bring joy all the time, but it should, on occasion bring meaning and fulfillment. If not, your health will suffer.
Shakespeare repeatedly stressed the importance of sleep to his characters and the events of his play, once saying it “relieves the weary laborer and heals hurt minds.” His works remain classics because of their insight to the human condition, and his observation on sleep is no exception.
You need rest from your worries and from your work. Intentionally building a chance to recharge into your schedule can help you manage the daily stresses of managing your work and personal life. Are you getting enough sleep and rest to truly ever get refreshed?
Family, friends, and co-workers
Your closest relationships help define who you are. Further, they have a surprisingly large impact on your quality of life. Healthy living includes managing these relationships; spend more time in nurturing relationships and less time in draining ones.
You can develop skills to help manage these relationships. People who master a few key concepts can turn their troublesome relationships into fulfilling ones. Learn the signs for when to abandon a toxic relationship altogether.
Spirit and soul
Nurturing your spirit is also shown to bolster your health and well-being. Prominent, peer-reviewed studies have shown correlation between regular attendance at religious services and a reduced chance of dying during the period of the study.
Is this because of God? Is it because of the spirit? Do our souls get nourished at synagogue, temple, mosque or church in unique ways? Only you can answer that question for yourself. However, this we know: having a heightened sense of spirituality, and acting on your beliefs, can help you live a more satisfying and – yes, longer – life.
Power of the mind
Our thoughts are powerful. How we talk to ourselves, and about ourselves, can have a direct impact on our mood and our actions. This makes the power of the mind truly unmatched. It can improve or harm every relationship, talk you into or out of bad habit and poor choices, and so much more.
Through habits such as developing a growth mindset, guided imagery, and intentionally fostering a sense of gratitude, you can develop a healthy mind that will contribute to your overall health and well-being.
Tie them all together
Your overall health is a complex system, with many interwoven parts that act on each other. Sometimes these effects are evident. Sometimes they are invisible.
What if you could take steps to work on the area that is troubling you the most? What would be possible for you? A good night’s sleep? A more rewarding love life? Better relationships with a sibling or an estranged friend?
What are you waiting for?
Learn more by downloading Sakina’s guide to well-being, or schedule an in-person (well, virtually in-person) consultation today.
Or just continue to Sakina’s blog to learn more about parenting, relationships, or to accelerate your own self-growth.