Article by: Brianna Reineke, LPC, LCDC
This August, we celebrate National Wellness Month!
National Wellness Month is an opportunity for all of us to establish healthy habits, such as stress management and remaining present – both for ourselves and others. Establishing practices for self-care and wellbeing is essential to enhancing our quality of life, both as individuals and members of our community. Focusing on topics such as nutrition, sleep patterns, and exercise could all enhance your well-being. The benefits of self-care patterns and wellness often result from a range of simpler changes, as it takes 21 days to create a habit. It is important for you to feel comfortable with the change you create for yourself as well!
Events related to the COVID-19 pandemic of the last two years may make establishing self-care habits overwhelming or even make them feel like daunting tasks. Reframing these habits to fit your needs can help them to feel less challenging. For example, If you want to set a goal to “drink more water,” but struggle to drink water or do not like the taste, you might consider changing the goal to, “stay well hydrated.” This also might allow you more room to drink fruit juices, or some sports drinks if those appeal more to your tastebuds.
Here are a few safe habits to create to establish a more wellness-centered lifestyle:
Exercise– In this Texas heat, sometimes this, too, may seem like a challenging goal, but if you increase your movement a little each day your body will thank you for it. Exercise is known to decrease cortisol (the stress hormone) levels in your body and improve your sleep pattern as well as lift your mood. We can head to the gym, or try a quick online workout at home (considering limitations) as a safe and effective way to engage in some safe movement that can improve your mental and physical health.
Unplugging/Remaining Present– In a world where technology is an ever-increasing part of our lives, sometimes it can be easy to feel consistently attached to a screen. Scheduling time away from your phone, computer, or television can be a great way to help yourself reset and find some peace. Unplugging from technology also allows us to connect more authentically with our friends and family and take time for creative endeavors (i.e. arts, writing, cooking, etc.).
Eating Healthy/Cooking– What we eat holds a direct relationship to moods and energy levels. It can be easy to fall into a specific meal pattern or indulge in comfort foods. Remembering to eat healthy and trying to maintain good nutritional meals is important to our wellness and can enhance our connections with the people we love by cooking or sharing a healthy meal with them. Eating healthy can mean cutting back on a particularly indulgent snack or changing your diet entirely. The most important thing is that you feel it is a manageable change to make for yourself and will make you feel better physically, mentally, and emotionally. Setting new nutrition or cooking goals based on well-being, and instead of being driven by body image concerns, can be a great way to build a relationship with food!
Develop a Hobby/Try Something New– Finding a new way to fill our time and feel fulfilled can be essential to our thoughts, feelings, and how we are connecting with the world. Trying a new hobby or an activity you’ve never done before that you enjoy can be a great way to establish and enhance social connections and decrease stress levels as well.
Have a Health Wellness Screening– Whether with your general practitioner or therapist, checking in on your physical and mental health is an important way to find support from professionals regarding finding balanced well-being within your life.
It is easy to see how sometimes working on your own wellness might also feel overwhelming. While even the best of change can feel uncomfortable, it is important to seek changes that feel attainable and are consistent with your values and needs. For example, If you want to begin to exercise and choose to start running, a six-mile start every morning might not be the best place to begin if you are not accustomed to it. Instead, consider starting at your own pace and distance that feels comfortable to you.
Wellness habits are a great way to enhance your current relationships with family and friends and may provide opportunities to connect and bond over a shared experience! Some activities provide unique opportunities to connect with communities centered around them.
Choosing to engage in wellness-related activities can improve our relationships with others, introduce us to new interests and improve our mental, physical and emotional health. It is our hope at Deep Eddy that you maintain the wellness that you deserve and foster the positive changes you need to thrive!