Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Health Balancing!

Hi everyone. Welcome to my very first blog post!! I'm starting this blog because I absolutely love talking about health and nutrition and wellness.... and my friends can only take so much. Ha :) I do really love talking about health though, and find myself wanting to share new things that I learn. And clearly, in our technologically advanced society, there is no better way to do so than a blog. So welcome, and I hope you enjoy it! Let's all together strive to be happier and healthier in 2010 so that we can live the life we have secretly (or not so secretly) dreamed of living. Here's to loving and experiencing life!!

A Picture of Health:

To become healthier and be able to live a more full and joyful life, it is helpful to get a clear picture of where you are currently. Just like when we read store maps in malls, we need a "You are here!" point before attempting to forge ahead. I encourage you to do this simple exercise to give yourself a broad overview of your health as you perceive it. Then, once we have a general picture, we can slowly make improvements on one area at a time. Achieving a higher state of health is meant to be fun and invigorating, not overwhelming, so be gentle with yourself! Acknowledge yourself even for simply having the mindset to read this post and being willing to take a look at where you are at.

1) Draw a circle on a sheet of paper, approximately 4-5 inches wide.

2) Separate into 8 different sections, like a pie (a healthy, all natural one!) by drawing a horizontal and vertical line through the center, and then an X through that point.

3) Label wedges with the following categories: Diet and Hydration, Physical Activity, Weight Management/Body Image, Self Love and Care, Stress Management, Unhealthy Habits, Fun and Recreation, and Meditation/Prayer/Quiet Reflection (whichever one applies best for you)

4) Now, on a scale from 1-10, with 1 being "I don't feel like this is a strength of mine" to 10 being "I am SO great at this!!" give each category a number that describes how you are feeling right now. (For the Unhealthy Habits category, 1 means you have a lot of unhealthy habits that get in the way of living healthfully- such as smoking, eating junk food, not sleeping.... and 10 means that you don't feel that you have any unhealthy habits.)

5) Be honest with yourself! No one is judging you, and if you find that you are judging yourself, forgive yourself. The purpose of this isn't to beat yourself up, but rather to be truthful and take notice of what is.

6) Now, with each category, draw a mark in the respective wedge representing the number you have chosen. For example, if I chose 5 for Stress management, I would place a little mark directly in the middle of the wedge. If I chose 6 for Fun and recreation, I would put a mark a little further out than the mark I made for the "5" in the other category.

7) The point of this is to now draw a new circle within the initial circle to have a representation of our current balance (or unbalance!). The ultimate goal is to have you personally feel that you are balanced and at 9's or 10's with all of the categories, resulting in a full, even circle of health. If this is not the case, don't worry!! The whole point is that we see where we are in order to support improvements.

8) Pick a category you might like to improve, one that is calling to you in this moment. Think about or write down the reasons you gave yourself the number you did. If you gave yourself a 3 in Self Love and care, maybe you realize that you talk negatively towards yourself often. Or maybe you chose a 2 for Physical Activity bc you rarely get involved in anything active. Write down anything that comes to your mind.

9) Now pick one SMALL thing, one that you know you can absolutely do in the coming week, to support yourself in improving your health in your chosen area. For example, if Physical Activity is your category, and you find yourself rarely exercising, instead of making a goal to all of a sudden go running everyday, maybe make it a point to take the stairs at work or walk instead of driving someplace. Make this action extremely attainable and easy for you to do. I mean EASY!!!

10) Incorporate this easy action into your life in the coming week (and weeks thereafter). If you find yourself keeping your goal, acknowledge yourself! If not, that's ok too-maybe you want to make an even easier step the next week to ensure that you keep your commitment to yourself. The point isn't to be hard on yourself and focus negatively on thing you are doing "wrong," (bc actually there is no "wrong"!!) it is to support you in achieving your goals and in becoming a healthier, more vibrant person.

11) Do this exercise weekly, bi weekly, monthly... whatever feels right to you. Keep taking new small steps toward a healthier you, and really allow yourself to prize and congratulate yourself for even the smallest of changes. Notice how your circle of health keeps getting larger and larger :)