Updated: Jan 28
Did you know that wellness means more than taking care of your physical health? In fact, if you don’t care for your mental and spiritual health, your physical health could suffer. Just what does it mean to combine these three forces and why is it better than focusing on just one area?
Let’s dive in!
It Comes Down to Self-Care
If we had to put all three aspects of your health into one word, it would be self-care. This all-encompassing word means taking care of your mind, body, and soul.
Think about this. You are on an airplane. What’s the first thing they tell you to do? They suggest that you put the oxygen on yourself first before helping others. What does that mean to you? No, it’s not a sign of selfishness; it’s proof that you have to fill your own cup before you can help others. In other words, you can’t pour from an empty cup.
That’s what self-care is all about. You have to take care of yourself so that you can take care of others. Taking care of yourself means nurturing the physical, mental, and spiritual sides of yourself.
How Stress Affects your Health
Just why is self-care so important? It comes down to your overall wellbeing. We live in a culture where stress is ‘normal,’ or you think you should have stress. You shouldn’t. Stress actually damages all areas of your health. It could be the reason behind so many illnesses and ailments, such as:
- Back pain
- Digestive issues
- Poor immunity
- Heart conditions
That’s why your mental, spiritual, and physical health are so interconnected. If you take care of all of your priorities or all areas of your life, your physical health benefits in ways that are beyond comprehension.
Think of it as not putting a Band-Aid over the issues, but rather finding the REAL reason for the ailments or illnesses. Yes, some diseases or illnesses are hereditary, but many are side effects of something else going on in your life.
Check in with Yourself
Now is a great time to check in with yourself. When’s the last time you thought about your mental or spiritual health? When’s the last time you had true self-care, where you took even 5 or 10 minutes to be kind to yourself and give your body what it needed?
Your body talks to you in ways that if you listen to it, you’ll know what it needs. For example, migraines, body aches, or a painful back are signs that your body is craving rest. Your body may have shown signs all along – asking you to slow down and be good to it. If you didn’t listen, though, it will tell you in bigger ways – the knock you over the head type of ways. Guess what? Then you have no choice but to listen because your body isn’t going to cooperate.
Ways to Care for your Mental and Spiritual Health
So how can you care for your mental and spiritual health among the busyness of life? Honestly, all it takes is giving yourself a few minutes several times a day. When it’s all said and done, you’re talking 30 – 60 minutes of time a day. Sure, you may think you’d never have that kind of time – you are too busy, right? If you ignore it, your body is going to make the time by knocking you off your feet and making you stay there.
So what can you do? Here are a few fun and simple ideas:
· Move your body – Take a walk, do a quick workout, run on the treadmill, lift weights, or do whatever exercise brings you joy and moves your body. Do It!
· Take in nature – Your body and mind need the fresh air, not to mention the vitamin D. If you can’t spend hours outside, just take a few minutes every few hours to step out and feel the air. If you can take a walk or a hike, great. If not, at least give yourself the beauty and exhilaration of fresh air.
· Eat healthy – Have fun with your foods. Eat the colors of the rainbow, try new recipes, have fun cooking. These are all great ways to fuel your body, mind, and spirit. Creating is always a wonderful way to nurture yourself in ways that nothing else can.
· Nurture your spirit – This doesn’t mean you have to go to church (of course you can), but it can also mean just valuing what’s around you, taking in the beauty, asking yourself about the meaning of life and finding the answers that ring true for you.
It All Comes Together
In the end, it all comes together. When you take care of your body from the inside out by eating the proper nutrition to stabilize your emotions and giving yourself enough physical exercise that you feel mentally fit, you can heal within. Doing all of this for yourself gives your body a fighting chance to stay healthy, away from disease, and to feel an overall happiness.
This doesn’t mean life is all sunshine and roses – life will still happen around you. When you take care of yourself, nurture your physical, emotional, and spiritual health, you’ll be better equipped to handle what comes your way. Think of it like a flower. If a strong wind comes, a weak flower with little nutrients and barely holding onto its stem will likely die. A strong flower, the one with the right nutrients and its roots firmly planted may weather the storm. You want to be the strong flower.
It’s time to take care of all areas of your health. Don’t put a Band-Aid on the cut – instead, dig deep and find the true meaning of it. Find a way to create your foundation – the way that will help you take care of your mind, body, and soul. You’ll be stronger, happier, and healthier if you do.