"Live healthily!" That seems to be the advice of our generation. Teenage girls obsessively counting calories, guys lifting weights in the gym for hours, and diets consisting of green smoothies and avocados. While physical fitness and a healthy diet are important in living a healthy lifestyle, it is not the end all be all.
To be honest, I am not the best eater, and running is not how I choose to spend my free time. I do, however, consider myself to be healthy. "Wait. WHAT?! No exercise or diet? How do you do it?" Here's my secret.
Healthy is not a weight, size, shape, etc. Healthy is a state of mind. Happiness is health. Hope is health. And most of all, self-respect and ambition are health. This isn't to say that how we take care of ourselves in other ways are insignificant, but there is more to living a healthy lifestyle than how you treat your body physically.
It has taken me a long time to realize that mind should take priority over the body. Society has built us up to believe that we will be unhappy and undesired if we do not look or weigh the same as everyone else. This is far from true!
Meditate, do yoga, go for an early morning walk (or jog if you're feeling ambitious), and take time during your day to focus on yourself. These are the things that we forget to do throughout our day that allow for a positive state of mind, all of which allow for us to keep our bodies physically healthy as well.
My whole life, I have lived as a people pleaser who never took the time to take care of herself. I tried to keep up with the latest dieting trends, and I was miserably trying to go to the gym and lose weight when time allowed; I thought that this was the key to being happy and healthy. I couldn't have been more wrong.
As soon as I made time for myself during the day, I realized how much I had been missing. I wasn't getting enough sleep, I acted upon what would most benefit others, and I had nothing to call my own. I was trying to find satisfaction in things that always seemed to make me feel worse: if I cheated on my diet I felt like I had failed, and the scale would not always give me the answer I wanted about my weight. So I decided it was time to make a change.
I started eating right! By that I mean the typical fruits, vegetables, protein, etc. along with any sweets or snacks I desired. Everything in moderation. I was done feeling stuck to eating leafy greens and smoothies. I also stopped going to the gym... OOPS! I still get out of the house to go exploring and partake in other types of exercise, but... Well, I'm just not a fan of the gym; I was done spending my time in a place where I left feeling miserable.
This was just the first step. I took time to myself. My advice is to have time alone. It is impossible to make yourself happy if you don't truly get to know who you are, first. Explore your biggest dreams and fears. Make a bucket list, reestablish your priorities and relationships. Weed out all of the things in your life that are holding you back, and place an emphasis on what will allow you to succeed and move closer towards your goals.
Life is too short to be going through the motions. Allow your mind and spirit to grow! Don't dismiss your physical health, because it is important in the long run. Just don't let it take over your life. You are so much more than your physical capabilities, and it means nothing to your health if you don't find time to improve your own self-worth.
So find time to explore yourself as a person. It's a wonder what it will do to your health! It's been several years since I embarked on this journey and realized for myself what it meant to be healthy, and I still wake up every day feeling like I'm on top of the world. I hope that you, too, will be able to establish a healthy lifestyle of your own, whatever it may take.