Hello dear friends. It is wonderful to join you all once again. Today, I am going to get back to my blogging roots so to speak and talk about holistic health and wellness. This important topic is what sparked my passion for blogging and the editorial field. I’ve been blessed to work with so many talented folks on this topic and have learned a lot from personal experience and study. Today, I want to share these insights with you on keeping your body, mind, and spirit well.
Self-care is a term thrown around a lot right now. It has been a hot topic for health and wellness enthusiasts for years, but the pandemic has highlighted its importance for us all. Self-care is no longer an abstract term or an offbeat lifestyle. It is crucial for our families, our careers, and ourselves.
I was placed in a position where I had to practice self-care from a young age, though I’ve often failed miserably. I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder at the age of 11 and with Schizoaffective Disorder at the age of 18. My life has had many dark times because of these chronic mental illnesses.
I started therapy when I was 16 years old. My counselor was perhaps the wisest person I’ve ever known. Early on in treatment, he asked me about my daily habits and how I took care of myself overall. The question puzzled me. I remember thinking, “Do I take good care of myself? “Is that important? and “Why am I worth it? Have you faced those same questions?
The answers took time to find. I realized I was not taking good care of myself, it is imperative, and yes, I am worth it. That last one took me years to answer. I don’t want it to take that long for you.
My therapist went over the body-mind-spirit model of the human person. According to this model, those are our three dimensions. They are each distinct but interconnected and affect one another, whether we realize it or not. This model is what I live by, and I hope it helps you.
In my case, I follow a balanced diet, get my seven hours of sleep in, and exercise daily. I do strength training four days a week and cardio on the days in between. This routine keeps my stress levels in check and regulates my mood, both of which are essential for controlling my conditions and offsetting medication side effects. To clarify, when I talk about a balanced diet, I eat lean meats, fruit, veggies, and a limited amount of whole grains. It works for me. There are many diets and exercise regimes out there all claiming to be “the one,” but talk with your doctor and just find one that works for you. Do not starve yourself, compare yourself to others, or exercise to the point of injury. Those actions are the exact opposite of self-care.
Next, there is the mind. Mental illness ravaged my mind. Severe mood swings, depression, paranoia, and racing thoughts have plagued me for years. It takes its toll. Finding the right psychiatric professional who listened to my challenges was vital. My care provider is a fantastic person. She fought through the horrible trial and error process of medication combinations with me until we found the right fit and she adjusts it accordingly. I hold myself accountable for taking the medication as prescribed. In addition to that, I was in therapy, as I mentioned. I read and have quiet time for myself daily. Drawing, coloring, meditating, playing with your dog, or walking in the park might get you to relax and refresh your mind. Don’t be afraid to try new things, and of course, coordinate with your mental health team and spiritual advisors if applicable. The goal is to ensure you take intentional time to nourish and rest your mind just like you would (or should) for your body.
Lastly, there is the spirit. Many would argue this is the most critical dimension. Many schools of thought believe that at our very core is this immaterial life force that sustains us. We can feel it, can’t you? When tragedy strikes, is there not a deep pain that just hits you beyond what you can describe? Or when you experience triumph, do you not just burst inside with unspeakable joy?
That is your spirit talking. You have to listen to it. It can be the dimension that upholds the others when they are weak or can bring the others down. Regardless of your values and belief system, adopt a routine that nurtures your innermost self. Recognize your doubts, fear, and worries. Recall what charges you with passion and purpose. For me, writing is a passion. When I write, my spirit comes ablaze. When my body has been weak and mind broken down, writing renewed my spirit and kept me moving.
The late Jack Welch, the Former Chairman and CEO of General Electric, had this to say about the human spirit:
You, my friend, count. You are a person. You share the same human spirit as the people you call role models. Tap into it. It is a limitless well of strength, creativity, and love. No one can touch it or take it away from you.
My intention is not to sound like another self-help guru. Instead, it is to encourage and challenge you. I was a sick, depressed mess. If I do not practice self-care, I still can get that way. It is even easier to get that way now with so much fear and uncertainty around us. But COVID-19 can not take away our inner resolve or ability to take care of ourselves. If we practice proper self-care, we can have the resilience to overcome these trying times. I refuse to give in to this pandemic or anything else. I have too much I want to do. There is too much that God wants me to do. I’m worth it to him. You are worth it to him.
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Image by Theodor Moise from Pixabay