I’ve been thinking lately about how much we take our health for granted. I would describe myself as a fairly health-aware, if not health-focused person, but I’m as guilty of it as anyone. I potter along in life, throwing healthy habits by the wayside as it suits me, and then find myself surprised when crisis hits.
And it does. Maybe not for you, but over the course of your life you are likely to weather a number of health-storms with people you love.
My crisis isn’t too serious. Insomnia can be uncomfortable but it won’t kill you. It does serve as a healthy reminder (geddit?) of the significance of healthy habits.
Because I’m a lover of lists, here are some things I’ve been thinking about on those long nights as I lay awake in bed:
1. Food: Michael (otherwise known as the hot husband) and I have been making a big effort to overhaul our eating habits. I feel funny talking about this one because we caved and got takeaway tonight, but this past week we have had a ton of fresh food: stirfrys and soups and hearty stews. This one also comes down to:
2. Healthy attitudes: I’d make a really crappy housewife. Unlike some other women I know and admire, I can’t stand the wifely things like cooking and cleaning. They absolutely bore me. But lately I’ve been making efforts to overhaul my attitudes. Instead of bumming about having to waste time in the kitchen instead of at my laptop or with a book, I’ve found ways to look forward to cooking. I borrowed a whole bunch of healthy recipe books from my mum, and I’ve been making weekly recipe lists full of yummy food I’m excited to eat, and therefore cook. Another healthy attitude I’ve adopted is to do with:
3. Healthy environment: I admit it, I’m pretty much a natural slob. Cleaning is not a love or talent of mine. I’ve spent the last 3 years of marriage trying to figure out how to spend as little time as possible on cleaning, while still managing to have a house open to guests. Lately I’ve been working to change my attitude to viewing cleaning as a way of controlling my environment. As a student and writer, my home environment is also my workplace environment. A clean house makes me happy. A kitchen full of clean dishes makes me happy to cook. A clean study clears my mind for study/writing. A clean bedroom is important for healthy sleeping habits. I’m still scheming to keep cleaning time to a minimum (ask me later about Beth’s One Hour Cleaning Blitz) but I make sure my attitude is good before I begin because attitude is key to health.
4. Exercise: I’ve been super-keen to exercise lately, because it is a big step forward I can make for my health. Something I’ve learned, however, is that more important than being health-focused is learning balance. Because the energy I decide to use through exercise is energy I can’t use for other things, like cooking and cleaning and doing all those things I love like reading, spending time with friends, writing and work. Plus, I’ve learned that if I overdo it exercise becomes painful, and I need it to be something I enjoy, something just for me, an expression of hope and joy.
For me at the moment health means surviving. Sleep-deprivation is hard on your body and hard on your mind (and hard on your poor husband). I need all of the above to keep me going at the moment. But when I get through this (and I’m sure I will) I’m excited about this becoming our new lifestyle. I’m excited about creating a healthy, happy future for my family.
So, to sum up: exercise, good food, a healthy attitude and a healthy environment makes a happy Beth.