There is knowing what you need to do to be healthy and then there is doing it. And that’s just the rub for most of us, isn’t it? We know what we need to do. We rationalize not doing it for a moment, and that landslides into every moment. Or, at least, that is how it can go down for me when my life gets hectic, and I am trying to figure out how to make it all work. Need time, I tell myself? And then I trade a workout here, some sleep there for more work time and, before I know it, I don’t even know how my life got to look like such a hot mess and my body got to feeling like one.
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By the end of last year, I was ragged. An intense teaching schedule (well, the teaching itself was fine. It was really the grading that got to me) led me to make all sorts of personal sacrifices that left me exhausted and cloudy for the holidays. After catching up on some much needed sleep, I turned the calendar over to 2012 with a renewed focus, energy, and commitment to doing what I need to do to be my healthiest, happiest, and most whole self.
Step one in my plan was attending to my annual rituals that set the tone for who and how I want to be in the world in that given year. I choose a word for the year that will guide me in making the best choices for how to use my time. I created a vision board that captures my hopes for the year. And then I sat down to write my wellness prescription, a detailed action plan for how I would take care of me in order to be my healthiest, best self in 2012.
Now, the word has been chosen, the vision board has been posted in my office, and the prescription has been written, so everything’s set, right? Everything that is except for the fact that knowing what one needs to do is not the same as doing what one needs to do.
For me, succeeding at living my wellness means I have to succeed at creating a system to live it. And so I’ve set February up as my month of intentional wellness, not because I only intend to be intentionally healthy in February, but because I intend to set my practices in place so I can live—and benefit from—my prescription all year long.
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PRIORITIZE YOUR HEALTH
While my wellness prescription has twenty-five points to it, for my February focus on intentional wellness, I am organizing the points by three different themes—movement, self-care, and nutrition—each of which will get a heightened focus for a week in February. Weekly, I’ll consider what I need in each category to live my wellness and then deliberately plan a course of action that prioritizes that focus in my lifestyle. When one week comes to a close and I plan for the next week, I’ll keep the best elements of the previous week’s plan and then incorporate new steps that allow me to really embrace and live the new focus area. My goal, by the end of the month, is to have a working system in my current life that allows me to have a balanced and more complete approach to living my wellness while having reestablished my habit of living healthy after a fall of letting my total care fall by the wayside.
There have been times in my life where I feel like having a system confines me, as if it keeps me from living in the moment and being spontaneous, but I’ve learned over the years that discipline actually means freedom. By knowing when I am going to do things, how I am going to do them, what I plan to cook for dinner or when I am going to treat my body to a much needed massage, I give myself room, actually, to live and enjoy my life. This spring, I am embracing both the freedom and the salud that I can experience from planning and living my wellness.
How do you prioritize and live your wellness? Do you use weekly planning as a way to make sure that you work in what you need to be your best, healthiest self? What practices do you most need to be your healthiest, best self? What support are you still looking for to help you in your journey?