I am a person that enjoys all of the good things in life, yet I have been focused on my health for most of my adult life. When I was 18, I was in a car wreck that almost killed me. I broke my back and was put back together at Mayo Clinic. I had some of the finest doctors in the country and they were nervous about how things would turn out. My final prognosis after two years and two surgeries was that I would probably have pain throughout my life, not walk right, and should only engage in moderate exercise.
That made me mad. That made me fight for the life I wanted.
For about three years after the accident it was hard to enjoy being active but I tried to eat well and walked a lot. At the end of my college career, I was going to the gym and studying martial arts. I adopted a Dalmatian that needed a three hour walk every day just to be civil and hiked all around Minneapolis and in surrounding parks. I started to feel like me again.
There have been seasons in life when I was more focused on health than others but rather than strict diets and particular workouts these are some habits that help me.
1. Shop the outside of the grocery store first. Fruits, veggies, eggs dairy, meat. Limit intake of processed foods. An egg or oatmeal for breakfast, peanut butter and an apple for lunch, and a yummy dinner was a habit for a long time. I try to have my default, don’t have to think about it, foods that are good for me on hand. I have my treats but if I am filling up on the good stuff first it is easier to resist the bad stuff.
2. Make exercise a hobby and make it fun. I keep learning new things about fitness. I have studied many dance formats. I have even taught a class. We need exercise that provides stretching, practicing balance, strength training, and cardio. For me dancing, hiking, lifting weights, and yoga have been my go- to’s. There are options on how you get all of these exercises but neglecting any one of them can lead to a faster decline of mobility and health. Exercising with friends and family, incorporating nature, and exercising with music have helped me make exercise a fun part of my day rather than a chore.
3. Find good friends. Spend the most time with people that help you be better. I have been making new friends in Indiana since I have moved back. I stay in touch with my friends in Minnesota as well. My close friends love good food, music, the arts, care deeply about their friends and family, and want to live a purpose driven life. I get encouragement and good energy just being in the presence of my closest friends. My relationships with quality people have added so much to my life. We kind of become like the people we hang with, so we have to take inventory of that from time to time. It is fun to look back at all of the great experiences I have had with art, music, dance, and nature with my best friends and family. Those experiences make life beautiful.
4. Have times to become spiritually grounded. I don’t go to church but I have to have some time every day to just wind down and focus on how I am doing at life. Am I living my values? Am I making time to do the important things? Am I honoring my body and my life? Am I connected to things that matter. Some people do this at church. I do it in alone time by a fire outside, a walk in the woods, or during blustery winter days, just in my cosy room. Quiet time has been an essential part of my sense of well-being. Without it, I feel out of balance pretty quickly.
I hope that by sharing how I go about living a healthy life you have thought about how you might work on taking care of yourself better. If you want to have assistance on creating a plan for yourself that is uniquely yours, I am a life coach and would enjoy coming along on your journey and helping you get clear on you values and goals, and provide accountability. Reach out if you have questions about that.