First published in the inaugural Carbondale Farmer's Market brochure, June 2019
First there’s the crunch, then the aroma that wafts up and and enlivens my brain, the juiciness that wakes up my taste buds and the sweet satisfaction that I’m doing something so simple, yet so good, for me. The seemingly small act of eating a fresh, ripe apple from a healthy, sustainable source.
That’s exactly what I think of when I think of the concept of wellness. Every. time.
When I am asked to define or describe what wellness is, experiences that heighten my senses and feed my soul come immediately to mind. A clinical definition seems much too small to encompass all that the concept of wellness is and offers to all of us. For me, wellness is living a full life, with resources, tenacity, flexibility and joy in a way that is feeding my mind, spirit and body, so that I can do it all again! Or more succinctly, empowerment.
Wellness does not necessarily mean free from illness or health concerns. We can incorporate wellness into our healing or into whatever challenges we might be facing. By developing resources such as relationships, finances, time freedom, physical strength, tenacity and flexibility, we enable ourselves to rise to any occasion with more flow and less turbulence. Imagine, you find yourself needing to quickly change direction, in a crisis situation, or with a large bag of dog food you need to unload from the trunk of your car. Are you equipped to handle it with grace? By developing our personal and relational resources, we can move through these things in a much smoother flow.
Here are some practical steps to creating a life of wellness:
Assess your mindset: Are you a glass half-empty or half-full person? If you find that you’d like to improve your outlook a little, look into things like meditation, yoga, self-development, gratitude journaling and social groups that are uplifting.
Assess your physical health: Are you as strong and healthy as you’d like to be? Connect with physical movement that you enjoy such as gardening, fitness, hiking, golf or cycling. Check in with how you feel and work with your choice of health practitioner to keep your health in line with the life you want to live.
Assess your relationships: Do you have a circle of others that fill in the gaps where you might need and that lift you up and make you feel valued in a real, authentic way? Pay attention to the people you spend time with and make sure you are valuing yourself in the company that you choose to keep.
Assess your financial resources: Are you comfortable with the resources you have available should life change on a dime? Create a plan that ensures you are comfortable with what your choices might be in unexpected life circumstances. You might be perfectly thrilled to be suddenly penniless and have to figure that out or you may want to ensure you can make your house payment and put food on the table. Wherever you land, be confident in the choices you make around this and take one of the biggest life stressors off the edge of your mind.
In my experience, self-empowerment and community are so very vital in living a life of wellness. Life throws out many curveballs (or is it just me?) As I’ve learned to respond to those rather than react, my journey, like that fresh bite of apple, has been much sweeter along the way. My health magically improves as my mindset does. Gratitude does indeed amplify the gifts and joys that come my way. Could it be that the cliches have basis in reality? Be well.