Living on the fast lane takes a toll on all of us and too many women settle for less than an optimal health. The demands we put on ourselves to reach our goals on high achievements, productivity and prosperity, make us place health and wellness outside our priority list. There is always a moment of truth when we realise that if we want to continue moving forward with our goals, our focus must be on a healthier mind and body. For so long, we’ve all been thinking about our health in the wrong way.
Years ago, I was there too. Living a busy corporate life, running from one task to another the whole day, every day, trying to keep all the plates spinning. Never having enough time to stop and just breathe. Back then, at one point, my body decided not to play this game anymore and rebelled. I got diagnosed with an autoimmune condition and had no choice but to stop.
That dramatic turn of events made me reflect on my life, on what I was doing to my health, I had to make a decision whether I wanted to continue hurting my life this way. After I did reflect, I made a decision to rebuild my health. A year later, I was not only back to being healthy, but feeling better than ever before. So, how do you get there, to this state of brilliant health, without having to turn your life completely upside down? Is it even possible, given the busy lives we all live?
Are you happy with just not being ill or do you want more from your health?
When friends ask you – are you healthy, you’ll almost probably say yes, as long as you don’t have any serious medical conditions, right? As long as you don’t need to take any prescribed medications. And as long as you’re not in pain right there and then. Even if you’re feeling tired a lot of the time and have a tough time getting out of bed every morning. Even if you’re struggling with mood swings, or difficult periods, with losing weight, bloating, if your hair and skin are constantly dry or if you’re often having headaches. Even if you simply feel completely depleted. You’ll probably still say, to them and to yourself – yes, I’m healthy.
But is the absence of disease really all that health is? Not having to take medication? Not having to see your doctor on a regular basis? Should you not strive for more?
What does being healthy mean to you ?
The older I get, and the more women I work with, the more I realise that deep down, us women are all looking for more than just not being ill. We are seeking a state of optimal health. For a place where you’re so full of energy and inner strength that you can achieve everything you want in a day, and then some: feeling confident, comfortable in your body, balanced, and simply alive. We are all searching for a state where it’s not just about the absence of disease, but where you feel at your absolute best, inside and out.
Every single woman I know (myself included) wants to feel like this – whether we say it out loud or not. So why do we so often settle for less?
If that sounds like you too, it might be because you’ve been feeling this way for so long that you haven’t realised how far from optimal health you actually are and how simply surviving rather than thriving has become your new normal. Maybe you think that you’re too busy to do something about it, or that achieving this goal would be too difficult. Or maybe, deep down, you see this as a luxury. You see self-care and any time you dedicate to feeling good – beyond just treating any illness you may have – as an indulgence.
And if you eventually do take time for proper self-care, you feel guilty about it, because somehow, somewhere, you believe that it takes time and attention from other things that you consider a priority in your life – your job, your kids, your partner, your friends. All the things that, more often than not, we as women prioritise ahead of ourselves. But is looking after yourself and making sure that you’re in optimal health and feeling at your best really a luxury? Or is it a necessity and even your responsibility?
Someone very smart once told me that your wellbeing is like a box of chocolates. When it’s full, you can give a lot to others. A lot of attention to your loved ones, a lot of energy to your job, a lot of passion to your hobbies. But when it’s empty – well, then there’s nothing to give.
So in that sense, looking after yourself and your wellbeing the best you can, and making sure that you’re not just doing okay, but that you’re in optimal health and truly thriving, is a necessity and a priority – not a luxury.
And as far as being too busy goes – well, you should be looking after yourself precisely because you’re so busy. Having a super packed schedule every day, feeling like your to do list never ends, experiencing stress day in and day out – all these things increase the demands on your body for the crucial nutrients that it needs to function well, for restorative sleep, for the right kind of movement that supports your hormone balance and so many other aspects of your health. Without them, you’re taking steps further and further away from your optimal health every single day, and sooner or later your box of chocolates will be empty.
Well, the funny thing is – getting there might actually be easier and require less time than you think. And the trick to get there lies in personalisation.
In personalising your nutrition, personalising your movement routine, personalising your approach to stress management. Personalising them to match exactly what your body needs, to what your wellbeing goals are, to your preferences and crucially – to your lifestyle and your daily routine. Because if this healthy lifestyle that’s going to help you feel brilliant again doesn’t fit into your daily schedule, well, then you’re not going to be able to maintain it for very long.
So, if you do want your health journey to be successful and if you want to feel great for not just a week, but for the foreseeable future, then all these things have to fit into your daily routine like a hand in the glove.
And once you do that, the kind of optimal health that you’re striving for will not only be achievable, but will also be sustainable and easy to maintain for years to come – and your box of chocolates will never get empty again.