I missed 2 blog posts this week…
Part of it was because of Easter Sunday- which, by the way, Happy Belated Easter.
But part of it was due to the anxiety and resulting tiredness I’ve been dealing with in the last few weeks, months, years.
Like, most of us think that procrastinators are just really lazy people who need to get over themselves. But I swear, I don’t remember being a procrastinator until I got to high school…where everything got infinitely more complicated and, therefore, more angsty.
(If you have high-functioning anxiety, it’ll help you to watch Jordan Raskopoulos talk about it. She explains it to a T.)
Teenage angst is a real thing. And if you don’t take care of it, it can follow you into adulthood.
I mean, it might anyway, but at least maybe by then you’ll have some coping skills so you don’t have to worry about not being able to handle life.
Anyway, that’s not my story. I’m dealing with it now and that’s all there is to it. I just fall off the wagon sometimes.
But it really got me thinking…
Normally on Wellness Wednesday, I’d be talking about vegan lifestyle, health hacks, or products that I’m loving.
But as I delve more into my mental health & spiritual journey, it’s really got me thinking:
What does wellness actually mean?
What does it mean to be ‘well’? To be balanced, healthy, and content?
6 Dimensions Of Wellness
Mmkay, so according to the National Wellness Institute, there are 6 dimensions to wellness:
Not necessarily in that order. Because none of them is more important than another.
How To Be “Well”
Again, I’d usually do a post about vegan food or beauty products…
Don’t worry, those posts aren’t going anywhere. They have their place in the wellness spectrum.
But as I get ever deeper into what it means to live a good life, I wanna get deeper into what it means to “be well”.
And how to do that. How about you?
With that being said, here are some suggestions for living your best life…
…a “well” life.
1.Learn What It Means to Take Care Of Yourself
You’d be surprised how hard it is to take care of yourself…really take care of yourself.
I’m not just talking about gaining your independence or doing your own laundry or keeping up with the bills on your own…those are only a small part of it.
I’m talking about taking a good look at what makes you tick, learning how to cope with life, taking care of business without overwhelming yourself, being kind to yourself.
Learning how to talk to yourself in a way that’s going to build you up, not tear you down.
Sometimes, that’s going to mean giving yourself things that other people can’t give you: love, affection, understanding, compassion, etc.
We have to learn how to fill in the blanks where our loved ones can’t.
Does this mean that you shouldn’t expect a certain level of care from the people who love you the most? No. Of course not.
Having standards is reasonable. But you can’t have lists upon lists upon lists of expectations that they need to meet in order for you to be happy.
No one outside of yourself can live up to that. Shucks, you can’t even live up to that. Life happens, and you’re going to fall short. So you can’t rely on your expectations of others to fulfill your happiness.
Taking care of yourself is learning to be content even when circumstances aren’t ideal.
The planets are never going to align simply because you need them to. But you want to know the good news? You live most of your life with the planets unaligned. And you still manage to find glimmers of happiness then, don’t you?
So maybe it’s not so hard. Maybe life is much simpler than we make it. And maybe you can learn to take care of yourself even when your life is in shambles…
…especially when your life is in shambles.
2.Start Practicing Healthy Habits
Practice positive thinking
Avoid negative situations
Concentrate on living a life that makes you feel your best- mentally, physically, emotionally.
I trust my body to tell me when something is off. Because I like to think I’ve started taking steps toward treating it right.
For that reason, I know what feels right and what feels wrong and I can sort of detect subtle issues before they become too big.
Practicing healthy habits can help you live your best life. Not just because you could live longer, but also because you’ll feel good on the regular.
3.Stop Treating Your Stress Like Weakness
Everyone gets stressed. And it’s a physical response, not just an emotion.
Each emotion causes a response in your body. Your state of mind does have an effect on your physical health, whether you like it or not.
Did you know that stress can kill you? YEAH! It can give an otherwise-healthy person a friggin’ HEART ATTACK! Or an aneurysm!
Stress causes your body to go into panic mode. Your adrenaline races, your blood starts pumping, your heart starts beating faster and faster.
In situations of real danger, this is a good thing. It’s what helps us outrun predators and various dangerous situations. But when you feel like this all the time? It’s too much on the body, and IT CAN KILL YOU.
That’s the f*ckin’ WORST! Definitely not a “weakness”.
So stop treating it like one. Your stress is real. Your exhaustion is real.
4.Strive for Balance, Not Perfection
You are not perfect.
And no matter how many times you flagellate yourself when you fail, you will never be perfect.
There will always be future failures, future mistakes.
So settle for an even helping of both successes and failures.
Value your failures as proof of your perseverance. Value your successes as proof of how far you’ve come from where you were.
5.Ask Yourself: Why Do Other People’s Opinions Matter?
I DON’T KNOW!!!
GOD, you know how many times I ask myself this question? It’s INFURIATING!
But it’s true…I care too much about what people have to say about the choices I make and not enough about making them.
To the point that I am paralyzed with fear when it comes to decision-making.
Why is it so damn hard to just make a decision? It’s your life, isn’t it? You have to live it.
So why do other people’s opinions matter so much? Tell ‘em to f*ck off…
…in your brain, of course.
6.Do It Badly, and Improve Over Time
I have failure anxiety…
There, I said it.
The thought of making a mistake makes me feel like I might sh*t my pants.
Mostly because I’m afraid of trying my best, aiming for the moon, and not even landing amongst the stars…
Like, seriously, what if that happens??
But the point is that that’s ok, too. You may still have fallen waaaayyyy past the stars, but you’re probably still above the atmosphere somewhere…which is still further along than you started.
Even if you tripped and lost some trajectory… it’s better than never having taken the step.
Check out this Ted Talk with Olivia Remes. She really explains it best.
So do it, trip, face-plant, and screw up.
There’s always bandaids.
7.Spend More Time By Yourself, With Yourself
I’m a chronic introvert. It’s easier for me to be by myself than with large groups of people.
But I don’t really like to sit with myself, with my thoughts, in my own company.
More often than not, I’m trying to avoid the conversation with myself. I don’t want to confront my thoughts or allow them to exist. Especially if they’re uncomfortable.
But it’s really important sometimes to just exist as you are. The thoughts don’t go away just because you ignore them. They’re still buzzing around in your brain even if you haven’t noticed them.
The problem is that when you allow unconscious thoughts to go unobserved, they run wild.
They are the reason you feel anxious and can’t pinpoint the cause…what makes you feel inexplicably sad.
We’ve been training ourselves to tune them out and persevere.
Don’t. Pay attention to those thoughts. Notice them, but don’t try to get rid of them.
Awareness is how you’ll learn to keep thoughts from becoming “bad” or “good”.
They’ll just be thoughts.
8.Reconnect With Nature
Especially in the Spring and Summer months, nothing relaxes me quite like standing on my deck with a cup of tea.
My deck looks right out into the woods, so I see nothing but trees for a few yards. I hear nothing but birds and little animals shuffling around in the bushes.
This is how I reconnect with the earth. And the universe. I stand (or sit) and let the sun shine on my face, breathing in the clean air.
Sometimes I’ll reach out and touch the branches of the nearest tree and imagine its energy running through me.
As much as it pains me…urgh… I leave my phone inside.
This is how you cleanse yourself of the technology and rush of the world.
We humans have forgotten where we come from. We’re part of nature, no matter how we try to separate ourselves from it. Everything we do becomes part of the world.
It’s like coming home after a long business trip, or visiting old family after building a new one. We need to reconnect with our roots.
It’s how you stay grounded.
9.Don’t Skimp on The Therapy
I have said before that there’s no shame in seeing a therapist.
In fact, it’s really good to have a person outside of yourself process your behaviors and help you create healthy habits around them.
Look, the reality is that most of us grow up with some kind of damage or dysfunction. NO ONE is perfect, especially in today’s society.
There are so many ways in which we can become imbalanced, detached, unhealthy… all as a result of trying to cope with our environments.
But a lot of these coping strategies aren’t sustainable in every day.
Trust me…I know. I’m fighting some of them right now.
You can’t play turtle every time you don’t want to face the world. You can’t react every time someone else does something. You’re gonna end up doing yourself several disservices and very few services.
So talk to a professional about straightening yourself out.
But hey, we don’t all have therapist money. And in those instances, you can always join a support group for your “-isms”.
Trust me, type your concerns and the words “support group” into Google…you’ll find something.
And the great thing is that you don’t have to stop at one. If you qualify for several, attend several.
It’s all part of the therapeutic process.
10.Journal, Journal, Journal…
A tip I got from my psychiatrist recently: document how you’re feeling each day.
Have a physical journal to document major changes in your mood, particularly abnormal changes or mood swings.
Journaling on paper is better than journaling on a computer. Typing doesn’t quite have the same effect as writing.
Something happens in your mind when your hand moves a pen or pencil across a page. There’s a bigger change in your brain vs. when you’re just smacking keys.
I plan to journal how I feel in the morning vs. how I feel before I go to sleep. It’ll give a more accurate reading of how I take on the energies of my day and how they affect me.
If I can remember to bring the journal with me in my day-to-day tasks, I’ll do that, too.
How Can YOU Live Your Best Life?
After reading these tips, how do you think YOU can implement them into your life?
How can you learn to be well and live your best life?
Really think about that, because it’s not something that can be done overnight. It’s a lifetime commitment…a lifetime commitment to yourself.
But also, referencing that Ted Talk with Olivia Remes, how do you think becoming well will help you serve others?
I know I talked a lot about not depending on others for your happiness and all…
That’s still true. But sometimes, helping others helps us. It gives us a sense of fulfillment, knowing that our actions have a positive impact on other people.
But you can only do that if you’re working on yourself. You can’t pour from an empty cup.
So keep your Wellness Cup full.
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