I’ve spent the past few days feeling slightly “under the weather.” More sleep, more soup, more tea, more water. More saying “no” to things if it is going to exhaust me more than I already am. The moment I cheat on something in this list, I pay for it the next morning. I’m reminded that my body has not healed yet and that my impatience to get back to my “normal self” has cost me another day of recovery.
In my college days, I frequently heard the phrase, “I’ll sleep when I die!” This phrase was usually announced in triumph by someone embarking on an all-night study before exams. Sometimes this was proclaimed by those of us that spontaneously decided to drive all hours of the night to the beach the weekend before finals.
I am all for spontaneity, but I’m also for taking care of my body. There is a difference between the occasional late night-er and making a lifestyle out of never sleeping.
When I feel symptoms of a cold coming on, my actions immediately begin revolving around what is healthiest for me. I pack my car up with a water bottle, tea bags, honey, tissues. I make a decent bedtime for myself. I take a nap. I take a short walk to get some fresh air. When I feel that I am mostly over my sickness, I begin to care less and less about what will help my body recover.
Come on, guys and gals! This is common sense: we always need to be thinking about what is best for our bodies.
What is it that makes us so quickly forget that our bodies will always be trying to fight something out there?
This world is filled with factories, unhealthy foods (which are typically more inexpensive in comparison to the healthier stuff…at least short term!) and deceiving get-thin- quick diets (schemes, I call them) plastered all over the television/computer we are spending far too many hours sitting in front of.
I know it’s been said before and you may be rolling your eyes at me by this point, but we have GOT to start learning how to make healthy a lifestyle, not just something we think about when we are feeling sick or trying to get a great bikini body in less than a month. I promise that your body will love you so much more if you begin practicing healthy habits on a regular basis. And you, in turn, will feel better in your body.
Where do we start?
Start small. Grab an apple and some oatmeal instead of a fast food breakfast sandwich. Research the ingredients found in that snack bar you’re holding. What are the long-term affects? What is a healthier brand? Take a break from your computer and go for a short walk. Take a few minutes every day to close your eyes and just breathe deeply.
We are all busy, but everyone has time if they will only make it. Think about that for a while. Does this require you to set an earlier bed time? An earlier wake up time? Find someone to walk through this with you. There is strength in numbers; strength in companionship, especially if you are working towards the same goal.
Want to think bigger?
Plan a weekend backpacking trip. Sign up for classes at a gym. Begin researching what it will take to grow a great vegetable garden this summer. Talk to the growers at local farms and markets. Get your family and/or your friends involved!
If you are thinking that this is too large an endeavor, think again. If you are really committed to making a healthier lifestyle for yourself, you can practically start in the small stuff. If you find yourself with a bag of Oreos after a hard day at work, don’t beat yourself up. The healthy lifestyle is a lifelong practice, which means you aren’t going to do everything perfectly.
The goal is to just keep learning.
By Erin Dalton