Healthy—what exactly does that short, simple word mean? Many people associate the word ‘healthy’ or ‘good health’ with looking fit, not being obese, being able to run a mile, eating an apple, and/or being free of sickness. But what exactly does being ‘healthy’ truly entail? I can remember sitting in my undergrad class learning about the topic of health. At this time my caloric intake was about 1000 on a good day accompanied by intense strength training workouts, so my mind was usually falling asleep or not entirely grasping any concepts by this 11am class.
“How would you classify someone as being healthy?” asked my professor. I started to wake up and think about it. I knew I wasn’t healthy, but I really wasn’t sure what a “healthy person” entirely consisted of.
“To be healthy” she continued, “five areas need to be fulfilled: you need to be satisfied socially, intellectually, physically, emotionally, and spiritually”
Socially: being able to connect with others and build positive relationships that make us feel good about ourselves
Intellectually: having the ability to open our minds to new thoughts, ideas, and experiences; having the drive to try new things and take on new tasks
Physically: being able to maintain a healthy lifestyle that doesn’t keep us fatigued/worn out by daily life stressors
Emotionally: Understanding that life can bring about stressful situations and understanding how to cope with such events. This also includes the ability to share joy and love with others but also grief and pain
Spiritually: The ability to establish peace and wellness within ourselves and others–having values and acting upon them.
I looked at her and kind of sunk in my seat.
– I never felt I had time to make friends or partake in social activities (and my social anxiety is about 7/10, so that didn’t help haha) so my social health suffered
– Being overworked in school, at work, and in the gym, my desire to try new things and take on more tasks suffered
– I overworked myself in the gym, so I wasn’t physically healthy
– I understood that life had it’s ups and downs, but handling them correctly (and not just isolating myself/skipping class for a month) was very weak
– there was no such thing as peace and wellness in my mental dictionary
I realized that most of those five components weren’t being satisfied! No wonder I never could classify myself as happy, even with all the success I’ve had.
I decided to reflect on my undergraduate lifestyle and am putting a new outlook on life: HEALTH.
Here are some ways that I plan to be healthy this year, and ways you can be too:
- Exercise! Whether you’re interested in hardcore strength training, running a 10k, a cool dance class, or just a light walk on the treadmill, all of these options are great! (physical)
- Exercising…..with a friend. If anyone knows me, they know I dislike working out with a person. I like to go in, do my things, and finish up feeling accomplished. After sitting down with Katie over some coffee the other day, we both realized how isolated we can be when the school year starts up. So we made a pact to have our Monday Morning Cardio Sessions together. By including a friend, you have set plans and cancelling is NOT okay! If either one cancels, make an agreement that he/she has to buy lunch for both of you (physical, social)
- Talking with Shawn: Although I am a HUGE fan of communication in relationships, I tend to keep mine inside in hopes to prevent an argument or fight…aka not good! After talking with Shawn about my goals to be healthy this year, he really coaxed me into always telling him how I feel, what’s on my mind, what I fear, and if I’m uncomfortable/don’t agree with things. Sometimes I just try to keep them inside because I don’t want to come across as this rude, obnoxious girlfriend but in his words: “you can tell me these things without being rude” and that’s when it kind of hit me–of course I can! This may be easier said than done, but in the long run it’ll be the most beneficial task I take on (emotionally, intellectually)
- Keeping a journal: I always have a lot to say, but sometimes I just don’t have anyone to say it too, or I’m too nervous to speak. Journaling is a great way to get your thoughts out, get your ideas on paper, and sort of vent. Buy a cute notebook, cute pen, and set aside just 15 minutes a day! (intellectually, emotionally, spiritually)
- Joining a club: Freetime for me will be fairly limited with the amount of work I’ll have piled up, but whether it’s taking on an exercise science club or maybe the Health&Human Services Student Advistory Council, doing so will allow me to stimulate my mind, talk with others about ideas I am passionate about, network, and enjoy the company of others (intellectual, socially)
- Eating healthy—this one is a no brainer for me! Eating healthy always makes me feel better; both physically and mentally. Fueling my body right always makes my performance in school, work, and the gym THAT much better (physically)
- Reading for growth: Again…little free time but I’ve become very interested in self help/self awareness books regarding leadership lately. Reading to better yourself is a great tool, and a great way to satisfy the (spiritual) component. Currently working on reading The Alchemist
This is a great visual representation of the five components of optimal health.
Ask yourself: Are you healthy?