One of the most difficult things when making the decision to aspire for a healthier lifestyle is to define what you are aiming for. Not only is everybody different physically, we all lead very different lifestyles so what works for some people just won’t work for others. In order to make a choice about how you are going to improve your health, you need to know what you want from the choice. Do you want to feel better in yourself, do you want to lose weight and become more toned, do you want to develop your strength or train for a race… Whatever the reason, there is a healthy path to follow in order to get there.
However, sometimes it isn’t as simple as just considering your goal when it comes to defining your health aims. Because the thing with the word ‘healthy’ is that its meaning varies completely from person to person.
So what can ‘healthy’ mean?
Well it means a lot more than just being illness free. In fact, a huge part of the concept has nothing to do with illness or disease; many people with chronic illnesses are able to feel healthy despite their conditions.
It can be about a balanced diet and an active lifestyle. It can be a little stricter and be about clean eating and high intensity workouts. It can be any sort of dietary and exercise choice. But healthiness is also about so much more: physical health isn’t worth much without good mental and emotional health!
Whilst it is important to make sure that you do try to eat well and stay active, part of being healthy should always be about how you feel. When you’re spending time cooking and eating healthy food, avoiding too much junk food and making sure you’re working out regularly, it can all become a bit stressful. So take time out for yourself. Your emotional wellbeing is so important when it comes to achieving success in your life.
Just as with the difference between people’s aims, we all have different ways of dealing with stress and of looking after ourselves. But whether you like to take long bubble baths on a weekly basis, you like to do yoga or meditation, you get lost in a good book, you like to go for country walks, you watch trashy TV, you indulge in a bit of retail therapy, or you simply meet friends at the pub on the weekend, make sure you do it well and often. We all deserve rest days from our workouts and we all deserve treats here and there.
We all need to look after our health, whatever it may mean to us. And we need to take care of ourselves as a whole person, the physical and the mental. This is where I personally believe you can apply the famous 80/20 split – stick to your healthy choices and your workouts 80% of the time, but take it easy and even occasionally indulge 20% of the time.
Don’t let your ‘healthy-living’ plan get in the way of your personal wellbeing, balance everything in your life. It’s as they say, work hard but play harder!