My definition of wellness involves physical, mental, social and spiritual health. I place the most importance on spiritual health, but I try to tend to all 4 facets on a daily basis. Some days, one area needs a little more attention than the others, and that area gets prioritized. This encompassing definition of wellness means it’s perfectly healthy to skip a morning at the gym for a brunch with your girlfriends if you’re lacking in social health that week. However, you have to be careful to prioritize in a way that maintains the quadrants equally, instead of focusing on your favorite each day.
What do I mean by that? When I was competing in the pageant system, physical health fought to become my single definition of wellness. I was surrounded by girls with phenomenal bodies, and I was going to stand on a stage next to them. I didn’t skip workouts. It didn’t matter if I hadn’t had a real conversation with my roommate in a week or given myself some time to rewind all month. I focused all of my energy on that one aspect of health, and it resulted in neglect of the other areas.
When I graduated in December of 2016, I had a lot to think about. One evaluation I made involved looking at my beliefs and how they were driving me. This 4-dimensional model of wellness is something I’ve always stated was part of my belief system, but my actions hadn’t been adding up. I realized I still believed it was the best model of wellness for my life, but I was letting the picture-perfect models of Instagram alter my reality. I was prioritizing based on the mindset I ended up with after scrolling past perfect picture after perfect picture on social media. I knew I had to make a change.
I took a serious look at my mental health and recognized how harshly I was evaluating my body. My physical health was no longer about true health. It had become more about being as toned as the (often edited) photos than about BMI and clean eating. This twisted perception of physical health was certainly impacting my mental health. It was also hurting my social health, as I couldn’t skip a day at the gym.
In my last post, I admitted my physique isn’t what it once was. Despite a few new curves, my body is still strong and healthy, and now, I have a mindset of strength to match. My social calendar is always open to new bookings, and I can truly say I am happier than ever. All that despite facing a new challenge in my life.
Working part time while staying on top of my MBA coursework has simply been exhausting. If I didn’t have amazing people in my life building me up, it probably wouldn’t be going as well as it is. As disciplined as I try to be, I don’t have time to do everything I want to do. I am slowly becoming proficient at prioritizing, but it’s a skill I’ll be working to improve for the rest of my life.
There are moments when I see a fat girl in the dressing room trying on clothes that are no longer the size 0 I once wore. There are moments I want back the abs that generated buzz. They are fleeting and becoming more infrequent with each passing week. My investments in social activities have resulted in waves of love and support, and my mental health is doing much better focusing on my daily successes instead of my physical appearance.
It’s difficult to talk about appearances when everyone’s perception has been effected by numerous positive and negative events. Your body is the vessel through which you can impact the world, and physically taking care of it is important. But I encourage you to recognize how much more there is to health than weight.
Tonight is going to be a candlelit bathtub and wine kind of night for me. What do you need to do tonight to be well?