The term wellness refers to the active pursuit of a healthy life. That can be a big, lofty and ambiguous endeavor if you don’t know exactly what a healthy life is to you and why you want to go on a path towards wellness in the first place. Getting beyond all of that can be the first and hardest step in your journey. It can also be the best thing you ever do for yourself.
Interest in wellness typically stems from not liking where you are physically, emotionally and well, to be honest, digestively. That general sense of not feeling well, malaise, that you can’t quite put your finger on drains the life out of your days. Trouble sleeping, difficulty losing weight (especially around the midsection), chronic digestive issues, low energy levels and poor mood are all too common. When you reach a point where enough is enough, you start seeking out healthy options.
But where to start?
Keep it simple. All of the above mentioned issues are connected to one another. When you start to work on improving one capacity of your life, you start seeing improvements in other areas. For example, you might start taking yoga classes because you’ve heard it’s a great way to lose weight. You start regularly attending classes and you notice that not only are you seeing improvements in your figure, but you’re sleeping better, you feel better and even digesting your food better. Yoga does a lot of things, including many yoga poses and consistent practice can greatly decrease gas, bloating and constipation.
Yoga can be a wellness gateway activity. Practicing yoga is truly a practice of mind, body and soul. Regular practice can start to change the way you perceive the world around you and the choices you make. There are also similarities between yoga and Pilates. A few weeks practicing yoga may give you the courage you need to try out Pilates classes.
Eating well is another wellness launch point. It starts with eating foods you’ve heard are healthy and seeing a few changes in your appearance, digestion and energy levels. Next thing you know you’re trying out new recipes and replacing unhealthy food choices with nourishing foods you love.
The thing with healthy behaviors is one begets the next one. If you get a good night’s rest and wake up feeling better than you have in years, you’re not going to want to ruin that by eating foods that upset your stomach, hanging around emotionally toxic people, lazing around all day and staying up late.
The journey towards wellness is meant to be enjoyed — never punitive, exhausting or miserable. To get started keep in mind you are doing this because you truly want to feel better. Set aside a quiet moment and write out how you feel throughout the day begin from the time you wake and all the way through to your sleep.
Are you waking up feeling refreshed, energized and ready for all the amazing opportunities the day has for you or are you pressing the snooze button on your alarm until the absolute last minute? Are you dragging yourself out of bed or jumping out of bed?
Once you’re out of bed, how are your energy levels throughout the day? Are you mornings a blur of going through the motions and slamming down coffee to get you through the day? Do you have dips in your energy midmorning and late afternoon? Do you look forward to getting home every day to go for an evening walk or to get into your comfy clothes and curl up on the couch?
How is your digestion? Is it something that you even think about? Do you struggle with gas, bloating and irregularity on a daily basis? Does it seem that everything that you eat or drink upsets your stomach? Are you making food choices you feel good about? How often do you feel guilty for what you ate or drank?
When you get a text, email or phone call do you think of all the exciting, positive things someone on the other end could have to tell you or do you instantly get grumpy or worried at any time your phone makes a noise or lights up?
Speaking of your phone… how’s that relationship treating you? Are you constantly locked into your cellphone, forgetting where you left it for days at a time or someone where in the middle? Do consistently go to sleep later than you wanted to because you’re up staring at something on the phone? Are you reading this past your bed time right now? Are you sleeping with your phone? It’s time to get honest with yourself — in a kind, uplifting way.
Once you’ve taken some time to see where you’re at mentally, physically and emotionally you’ll truly understand your motivation for seeking out wellness and what healthy choices may be best for you to begin your path. It’s like getting directions. You’ve got to know your starting location to map out how to get to your final destination. Everything else in between is the awesome journey of wellness.
Wellness means taking care of yourself by continually learning new things, moving your body in ways that feel good and discovering how delicious eating healthy can be. Start by doing what you can with what you have and go outside your comfort zone at least twice a week. You’ll be pleasantly surprised how life opens up for you.
Sheila Amir is the owner and author of NutritionSheila.com, where she gives people information in order to help them live happier, healthier and well-nourished lives.
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Originally published at www.wellwoodhealth.com.