First in a series of articles on holistic health.
2022 is off and running, and we're determined to make it as different from 2021 as possible. In many ways, we were waiting through 2021 to see what was going to happen with the pandemic-- the brief period we experienced after vaccination seemed promising, as if things might really return to normal. But then the variants arrived, and everything shifted back into crisis management.
So, it seems we may live like this for a while: masks, caution, and always being on the lookout for possible infection. Accepting this means we can move on with our goals and kick-start our commitment to better living, including taking care of ourselves.
Let's start with the five components of holistic health:
PHYSICAL, EMOTIONAL, SOCIAL, SPIRITUAL, AND MENTAL
Being healthy, and staying healthy, requires looking beyond the body and addressing the whole person. Our lives are multi-faceted and complex.
The only way to truly live a happy, joyful, fulfilling life is to work on all areas of your mental and physical health, including your energy, your connection to others, and your belief in yourself.
In the coming weeks, we'll talk about each of these five aspects, beginning with the one we usually address first when it comes to "getting in shape:" our physical well-being.
Every January begins with a barrage of ads and promotions for stationery bicycles, fit-tracking watches, and slimming diets. These are just marketing rifs to convince you to make snap decisions about "getting serious" and "taking control." Real change requires real work: organized and consistent work. So, if you know us at all, you know it begins with a list. Make a plan.
The New York Times published several reports of studies last year that indicate that even a small amount of consistent exercise has significant health benefits.
A study from January showed that just five minutes of intense calisthenics substantially improved college students’ aerobic fitness and leg strength. Another study from the University of Texas found that four seconds — yes, seconds — of ferocious bicycle pedaling, repeated several times, was enough to raise adults’ strength and endurance, whatever their age or health when they started.
In other words, there's no need to go gangbusters -- improving your physical health doesn't require intensive hours in the weight room. Start small, start with one thing a week or two things a day. Just start.
We've been walking the dog around the neighborhood several times a day, instead of just letting her out in the backyard. A friend, who is working from home, does squats while reading her emails. Find something you can do that's sustainable, big or small, and insert it into your week.
The simple act of paying attention to your physical being is already a positive step toward being a healthier, happier person. And it's the first step in doing something positive for yourself this year. Next time, we'll talk about emotional health. Until then, you can do it!