What improves our health ?
Even if you drink green smoothies for breakfast and do yoga every day, it does not make you “healthy” by default. I know a lot of people who eat a “perfect diet” and go to the gym every day, but they are deeply unhappy and their emotional state is far from perfect. I too, went through such a stage in my life, and I had no choice but to try and look at health related issues from the holistic point of view. Holistic Health takes into account not just the physical, but also the emotional and social needs of a person. This made me look closely at various areas of my life to understand where I lack balance. The results surprised me a lot!
Everything that is written here should not make you panic – it is just a roadmap for creating a checklist of things worth paying attention to and that should be checked from time to time.
Paying attention to each of these 12 areas of your life can help you find true balance and make a lasting contribution to your health.
This is your physical health and medical history. How do you feel on a scale from 0 to 10, where 10 is optimal state and 0 is not feeling well? Do you get sick often? Do you have any chronic illnesses or pain? Are you overweight and it makes you uncomfortable or interferes with your well-being? Try to mentally scan your body from head to toe and listen to what it has to say, perhaps some part of the body needs more love and attention? How can you improve your health?
For starters, do not forget to check with yourself periodically. Imagine how amazing your body is – while you are reading this text, a million different reactions occurs in it every second: new cells are being created, old ones dying, the heart is beating and pumping blood throughout the body, the lungs inhaling, you are blinking, 200 million neurons send impulses to yours brain – and this happens without you thinking about it! In order to take care of your body, you need to drink enough water and get enough sleep (about 7-8 hours). You can read my previous articles on other important things for your health, such as physical activity, stress and nutrition.
2. HOME-COOKED FOOD
This section deals with our food and things like where and how we eat it.
During my studies at university, I had a part-time restaurant job, which enabled me to see the stressful environment in which the chefs work and what energy goes into the food before it is served to you.
Now imagine that you are cooking for your family or friends – you can name all the ingredients, you chat with someone or listen to music while you are cooking it. And you cook with LOVE, because this is food for your loved ones. And yet, all famous chefs know that “there is no such thing as too much butter“, so they generously use it to fry the food in it. Personally, I noticed that I get super-thirsty after attending a restaurant, because the meals in restaurants are usually very salty. This does not mean that you need to completely avoid restaurants. Just remember that homemade food has a lot of benefits (not to mention the money you will save!).
Try experimenting with a new vegetable every week, or finding a recipe and changing ingredients until – voila! You have your own signature dish! If you do not know how to cook, do not be too hard on yourself, the goal is to be creative and learn from this.
3. PHYSICAL ACTIVITY
It is no secret that physical activity improves well-being. Your goal here is to find a form of activity that will make you move every day so that you gain strengh and stamina!
Physical activity improves mood, increases blood flow to the brain, and promotes the release of dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin. You will be able to get in touch with your body and will learn to admire what it can do. There was a time when I forced myself to go to the gym and hated any kind of exercise. When you work out like this, the exercise can do you more harm than good, because it is a source of stress. Try to find a fitness instructor or type of activity that will suit you best, and after which you will feel happy and energetic! You can attend group workouts, yoga, tango classes, running, tennis or swimming. My personal favourite is long walks around the city center and its parks on weekends, for example.
Remember – you and your body are unique, so you you don’t have to like running, which your friend loves so much. Keep trying out new activities until you find something that brings you joy. And don’t forget to take more walks!
4. PERSONAL FINANCES
This section is not about how much cash you have in the bank right now, but about your general attitude towards money. For example, if you are constantly lacking money it could be a source of chronic stress, therefore, it can make your other decisions impulsive and irrational. The first thing you must do for financial stability is to always pay your bills on time. You must also settle all your debts. Even if after doing so you are left with just enough cash to buy yourself a cup of coffee, you will drink it, being in a completely different mental state than if you had a fat minus on your credit card! The mindset you live with is crucial. And your self-esteem!
MINDSET – mood, state of consciousness in which you currently find yourself.
For example, do you sometimes tell yourself that:
- Thinking about money is shameful;
- Its impossible to save money;
- I can never afford that;
- I will never pay off my debts;
- It’s hard to make more money in my profession;
- Money can corrupt;
Perhaps you grew up in a family where there was never enough money, and your parents argued about it? Perhaps you were one of those children with second-hand clothes from the elders peers, whose parents could not afford to buy you new shoes or send you on a school trip with other childrens? Most likely, those moments determined your attitude to money and the fact that there are people in the world who just do not have it. If you recognized yourself here, you must definitely start working with your consciousness, and tell yourself something like:
- I have all the qualities required to make a lot of money;
- money easily comes to me;
- I will always have enough money;
- I can afford anything if I really want it;
Try saying these to yourself every day until you believe in them. And you will see how miracles will gradually begin to happen to your consciousness and life! The relationship with money is a half of your life story. But financial literacy is an important component of our psychological health, because for most people, dealing with finances is a source of chronic stress, which negatively affects physical health. No matter where you start today, the most important thing is that today is the day when you take control of your finances!
This area is not just about school or higher education, but about never stopping your education, life lessons and the growth of new skills! As a child, I did not like to study, and after graduating from University I promised myself that I would never open another textbook ever again.
Many years later, I started studying at the Institute of Integrated Nutrition, learning languages, attending business school and every day I continue to invest in my most valuable asset – MYSELF. The big bonus here is that when you learn something that interests you, it does not feel like learning at all. So what about your education? Do you feel like you’re stuck in one place? Is there something that you dreamed of learning as a child, even if it goes against your current profession (this was the case in my case)? We live in an amazing time when absolutely everything can be learned using the Internet, in most cases, even for free.
Any knowledge is true wealth. Try starting small, like downloading Duolingo and learning one word a day in a foreign language, or making a list of the best books to read (I really love biographies) or black and white movies to watch. Which skills do you lack to get the job of your dreams? Make a list, sign up for online courses, and go for it! When you are happy and are developing in different areas, it has a positive effect on your overall health.
The average person works between the ages of 20 and 65 years old, which is 45 years – more than half of their life! If this work does not bring you satisfaction or joy, you deprive yourself of happiness and health for 45 years of your life! Everyone is different, and each of us different things to be happy – some like to work with people and help them, others – to teach, someone else would love to live at the other end of the world and observe birds! What is important to you while building your career? Is it to lead people, to be part of a friendly team or to run your own business? If your job does not bring you satisfaction, try to think about how you can make it more exciting
or more interesting?
Maybe it’s time for you to change jobs? What is stopping you from doing so? Is it the fear of being broke? Do you have dependent children or parents, have you bought a car with a loan from a bank? Is it fear of being laughed at? But what if you succeed? When we find our passion and satisfaction in our work, we don’t need to look elsewhere. Imagine getting up without alarm clock and running happily to the job of your dreams. Or to your office, where you help clients change their lives for the better. What if you work online, live on an island and watch sunsets in the ocean?
Life is too short and health is too precious to waste it on a job you hate.
7. HOME ENVIRONMENT
Do you like your house or your apartment? Take a look around – how does it make you feel? Do you feel good and comfortable, is this your fortress? Or are you cramped, and find it difficult to think? Is your apartment a reflection of you and your values?
Imagine that you return home after a long day at work, tired, you open the door of your apartment – and what you see there is a lot of dust, clothes scattered on the floor, a pile of unwashed dishes in the sink, and the laundry drying in the middle of the room. You just want to go to bed as soon as possible, wake up, jump out and run away as soon as possible. Now imagine your apartment, which smells clean, everything is in perfect order, the floor is washed, the dust is wiped off, the laundry is neatly arranged on the shelves.
There are widely shared views that your home is a reflection of your state of mind: in some there is not one thing out of place, it is clean and easier to breathe; in others, everything is cluttered, it is impossible to find anything and you constantly sneeze from the dust. Mess = stress. This does not mean that your apartment should always be perfectly clean, it is not always technically possible.
Try to look around and imagine that in a month you will need to move to another place – what items would you take with you? What could you get rid of? Which things can you sell and set aside this money for your one true dream (a trip, for example)? My personal hero is Marie Kondo, the host of a TV series about cleaning apartments. She suggests you look at any particular item and think: “Does it give me joy?”.
You deserve that your home, your fortress, gives you joy and is a place of rest and relaxation for you! Your health will thank you too, you will see.
Did you know that religious people live longer and happier than those who have no faith? The choice of religion does not matter here. When you feel like a part of something bigger, practice your faith regularly, have a support group, your existence acquires a whole new meaning. You have the right to believe in anything, if it fills you with energy, helps you move towards a goal or just keeps you alive.
Any spiritual practice is like food for the soul. I believe that daily meditation (at least about 1 minute a day) is one of the most important things for our health. It will help you get out of the chaos outside world for a few minutes and look into yourself. During meditation, time slows down, breathing evens out, and your mind can focus on what really matters. If you don’t know how to meditate, start by simply sitting with your eyes closed and breathing slowly. As a result, your brain can take a break from constant visual stimulation.
9. SOCIAL LIFE
It seems to me that the recent epidemic has been amazing at showing everyone the improtance of society and communication. Collective analysis of over 140 studies has proven that live communication helps people to cope with their problems and to maintain optimal health throughout the year. The famous study of the “blue zones” (habitats of the long-livers of our planet) revealed that one of the decisive factors in these zones was close personal contact of people within the community. People that have plenty of social connections live longer because they have close-knit support groups, help each other, express their feelings more openly, and share their joy and grief.
Find for yourself a community in which you will feel easy and at ease, where you can discuss issues that interest you, grow and improve. This could be your peers, family, coworkers, members of an art club, or a tango club.
Human nature is such that we will always instinctively strive to “create” something. Creativity is key to a balanced life, so you definitely need to take care of this area and find some way out for your creative expression.
Even if you have never been able to draw, this does not mean that you are not creative. Creativity is not only about drawing or sculpting – it can be a creative approach to solving a problem, or the use of new technologies to improve a process, it can even be choosing a new route instead of the one that takes you home for 10 years! Try to surprise your brain every day. Go to an interesting group workout at the gym, choose new routes for walking every week, try new restaurants, learn how to use Tik-Tok, or cook one new dish several times a week! At the same time, do not forget to observe yourself – what if you suddenly find your new passion and want to study further in order to turn it into a main profession?
When you think about a healthy lifestyle, you hardly ever think about relationships and how they affect your health. However, the quality of the relationship you are in, or the lack of it, can greatly influence the harmony in your life. Think about how many times after an argument with your loved one you wanted to eat something sweet or go on a spree with your friends after breaking up a long relationship? What do we do when we feel lonely, abandoned, or used? Sadness, disappointment and anger take a lot of energy, as a result, there is almost no energy left for other areas of life.
Now imagine that you are in a relationship with a partner who endlessly loves and supports you and with whom you laugh a lot, go on walks together and make plans for the future. Thus, you have a lot of energy for development in other areas – creativity, career or education.
How can you grow within a relationship? Well, each relationship is different, so it is hard to give specific advice here. I only know that it is important to be honest with yourself and your partner, and talk about everything. Moreover, it is important to accept people as they are and show them that you love them.
And most importantly, you should love YOURSELF. A person who can not love herself will be difficult for someone else to love, including your partner. Therefore, if you are now unable to find a partner for a relationship, try to look inside yourself and see if you love yourself enough, or is it just flaws you see?
Take care of the relationships that exist in your life. Invest time and energy in them, and your spirit, mind and body will thank you.
What is joy? Joy is all about living in the moment and enjoying it! This is particularly relevant today, as we live in a time of pandemic and continuous uncertainty. Often, in our thoughts, we keep going back to the past (if only it was possible to correct mistakes we have made) or worry about the future (as soon as this is
over, I can finally go on vacation). In moments of anxiety, it is very difficult to go back to the present and enjoy the moment. As a result, you are living in chronic stress, which negatively affects all areas of your life, especially your health.
Imagine a child. Children are joyful and carefree, they are not thinking about what happened yesterday or what will happen next month. They play, laugh, cry and are surprised at everything they see. When you play with a child, you become infected with child’s laughter and spontaneity, you feel joy inside yourself. The same can be said about dogs that rush to meet his master every day as if he had not seen him for several years. Dogs don’t think about what will happen in a few years, they just know that you are here and they are happy to see you.
How often do you feel joy? Do you wake up happy every day? Are you able to stop in the moment and enjoy joyful emotions, or, on the contrary, do you not allow yourself to feel happy, because it is “too early” or “someone can jinx it”?
Joy, or lack of it, greatly impacts your health, because it literally has healing powers. Whenever you are experiencing joy, the body releases the “happiness hormone” endorphin, which neutralizes the effects of the stress hormone adrenaline, and has a positive effect on strengthening of the immune system in general.
How can I help you with all of this? When I first start working with clients, I ask them to fill in the “circle of life” – a chart that lists all of the above areas. You get to put a mark on each of the lines on a scale from 1 to 10 (where 1 is “not happy” and is located closer to the center of the wheel). Thus, you will be able to visually identify the imbalance (a wheel may resemble a star, for example, not a well-rounded wheel). Once you do this, we can set your goals for the next half of a year. Six months later, when we finish our programme, you will fill out this chart again and see the result yourself.
If you have questions about health or imbalances, or want to make your lifestyle healthier but don’t know how, I can help! Write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or sign up for a consultation, and we will discuss where to start.
If you are looking to make positive changes to your lifestyle and do not know where to start, I can help! Drop me a line on email@example.com, and we will arrange a free consultation to see if you we can make your life truly amazing x.