Physical wellness, is it just exercise? No, there’s more to it. It’s an overall package of keeping active, making sure to get sufficient sleep and maintaining healthy eating habits.
A weak(er) physical wellness can affect all areas of our overall well-being. But keeping this physical wellness balanced isn’t always easy and it takes effort; too often we get off track, especially during moving times.
I can only speak for myself but my physical wellness always takes a dip when I am sleep deprived by stress. This lack of sleep, it does affect all areas in my life. Not only do I feel bone tired, but then I start to eat unhealthily, a lot of snacking, prefer to stay on my own at home and drop my exercises. All this, leading to an emotional instability that allows smaller issues to become huge – adding on to the stress that I already feel around me. And leaving me with a “blah-“feeling.
Sounds familiar to you!? Yeah, always good to not be alone out there, isn’t it?
But how can we keep the physical wellness balanced in times of stress without putting additional pressure onto us? In moments for example when we have to deal with a move, relocation or when we feel overwhelmed and misunderstood? In moments when it all feels too much already?
Unfortunately, there’s no one-person-fits-all solution. What works for one might not be working for the other. Some, for example, strive by exercise, the more they push the better they feel. It de-stresses them. Or it helps them to “run away” from what really gets to them. Others feel overwhelmed by the pure thought of exercising and see it as an additional stress factor. They hibernate, get inactive.
And while I certainly agree that we all have to be and stay active with exercise, it’s as well important to listen to our body and mind. There is only so much we can do.
Take a step back
At times, taking a step back will make us stronger and allow us to get our ease back. I am saying “taking a step back” though, not dropping it all! You know you need to take care of your physical wellness especially in moments of stress and hectic. But it’s ok to take a gentler approach. See how you can adjust, tweak and make some changes by considering the situation you find yourself in. Here a few suggestions:
• If exercise feels too hard, if it adds stress, look for a way to stay active. Try to get outside every day, go for a walk, a bike ride, practise gentle Yoga or Pilates at home, check for some exercise program on the internet that speaks to you at that moment. And keep in mind – as we get older we should always include (gentle) strengthening and stretching!
Going for walks is often a good way to discover your neighbourhood after a move, too. As long as it’s safe though. If you find yourself in a location with restricted access for outside activities, find a way to use your indoors. Not ideal but we have to learn to adjust ourselves to our surrounding. Being non-active should not be an option.
• Healthy eating habits can be adjusted too. They’re not my biggest strength though I admit that openly. I love chocolate and a glass of wine, often skipping lunch. But I still aim for regular fruit and veg intake. At times I play around with healthy muffins like these Banana Oats and Chocolate muffins I found recently! It’s a quick, super easy to bake and healthy treat.
Some locations make us struggle with healthy, fresh ingredients, then it’s time to get creative and look for alternatives. The internet is always a good resource to find ways to use what we have available around us or local cooking classes.
And looking for healthy snacks and recipes helps me to stay curious. And yes, I kind of fool myself with that approach as I get excited to try something new. So it’s a win-win, it takes my mind away from stress, and provides me with a new recipe for a healthy snack or meal!
• Sleep deprivation is a big issue for me and I assume for a lot of you out there. My kids are not the best sleepers and stress does affect my sleep immediately. I can’t recall when I had several goodnight-sleeps in a row. But what helps me is to use mindful meditation techniques, especially the “body-scan” before bedtime. I do have a more peaceful and deeper sleep. Here is a link to a guided body scan meditation. It’s a short one of about 15 min and great for beginners, too!
At the same time meditation does help to calm the mind and can support you in many other ways to handle stress in a better way. One of my older posts were about meditation. Feel free to have a look into it here.
And if you did run yourself to the ground and you’re close to crashing pull the plug! Do make sure to get some quiet time, go to bed really early if needed, take a short nap during the day if you can. Ask for help! Sadly, lack of sleep will catch up and drag you down in many areas if you don’t watch out. Make sure to take action!
Body and Mind can’t be seen separate – one affects the other!
What I noticed over the years was that I felt even more stressed when I thought I have “to do it all”. By that I mean, keeping my exercise up, eating healthy, making sure to be rested, socialising, etc. All that, on top of having to deal with the other stressors around me.
This pressure I put myself under caused me to drop all the good habits. It all became too much, all these “have-to” and “must-do”. Even though I knew they were important for my well-being I could not keep up. Which again let me feeling really “blah” and frustrated. Now not only because of the stress around me but as well because I allowed myself to drop everything that did me good along the way. And coming back from that low to a good balance was so much harder.
So now, when I notice that I reach my breaking point and it all get’s too much I do take a step back, I slow down as mentioned above. That step back helps me to release some of the stressors while I still feel ok about myself and regain my overall strength.
And by allowing that breather, but not dropping the ball completely, I come back to my exercises, healthier diet (keeping my chocolate though), and a better sleep routine naturally, without added stress.
There is no denying it, when the physical wellness is balanced it does have a huge impact on our overall well-being. We simply feel stronger from inside out and are be able to handle any stressors around us in a better way.
Make sure you take care of yourself!
With a Body and Mind approach Physical- and Emotional Wellness go hand in hand, too. So stay tuned, I will share my thoughts on Emotional Wellness next week!