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Wellness: Physical Fitness, Alone, Isn’t Enough

Image By Intergrated Wellness 

When I was a kid, I marveled at stories of my grandmother, of being her town’s midwife and nurse. The babies she delivered, the semi-sprouted beans she pulled out of noses (yes).

They inspired me to want to become a doctor, and I stated with strong intent at the age of 6 or 7, “I’m going to find a cure for AIDS.”

Somewhere along the way, around the age of 16, my interests changed.  I envisioned myself, instead, an investigator. I loved to research the motivational make-up of the human mind, most especially the criminal mind and the seemingly realized soul. I wanted to become an investigative officer (or, preferably, a secret agent).

By the age of 21, I had switched again.  After working with the most wonderful kids in the capacity of camp counselor, mentor, and tutor, I realized the power of the awakened, self-sufficient, and educated mind.  I switched from wanting to hunt down criminals to wanting to become a teacher and create an environment where kids could become change agents in the world. My own army of people changing the world – that sounded pretty great.

Yet my path diverged, again, and I chose, instead, to come to DC to study International Affairs where I had an awakening, of sorts, and realized what I was truly after, what tied all those passions together.

Development of the individual. I believe to develop a person is to develop an entire world around them.

I now accept the healer in me, as well as the investigator, and the teacher.   They complement one another.

Those three parts of me have taught me that wellness isn’t just about being active or “eating right.”  It’s about self-fulfillment, self-care, self-fruition, relationship-building, trust-development (first, and foremost, in one’s self), and so much more.

The healer in me seeks to nourish and soothe, while the investigator asks the ever-persistent questions: “why?” and “how can we make this better?”

My self-care routine, for example: I’ve gone from waiting until I’m so sick, I’m forced into bed for days on end, to catching early signs of stress and dealing with it then.  I’ve gone from getting sick once a month (as a kid), to getting sick a few times a year.  It’s getting better as I learn to read my body’s signals better and learn to handle stress in healthier and healthier ways.

The teacher in me wants to share the great news, too: hey, young professionals, you don’t have to be at the mercy of your health.  You don’t have to wait until you get so sick, you have no choice but to take care of yourself.  You don’t have to live your life on autopilot, cold-turkeying your way through the world.

There are better ways, and they start with listening to your body’s needs.  This takes time.  We’ve been so conditioned, as a whole, to ignore our body’s needs that we can’t tell when enough is enough. We “suck it up” and wait.

I’ve seen “suck it up” become serious illnesses way too many times.

There are better ways.

As I look to the absolutely AMAZING opportunity this site provides, I gratefully review the experiences that have led to this outlook on wellness.  It’s the whole picture – it’s how you view your body, it’s the quality of the relationships in your life, it’s your trust in yourself, it’s your goals in life, it’s your beliefs about money, it’s your self-replenishment tools, it’s your body’s fun and easy movement.  It’s so much more than just, “did you run today?”

Let’s get this wellness party started. Take a look at your life – the big picture – and give yourself time and space to be really honest with yourself about where you stand (or, at least, as honest as feels comfortable until you’re ready for the big guns!).  Below are a few areas for your reflective consideration.  Starting a journal might be a really great investment right about now.

  • Relationships: there are two types of relationships in your life – your relationship with yourself and everyone else. Have your own back, first. How would you characterize your relationship with yourself?  Are you an awful friend to yourself? Do you ignore your body’s needs or desires?  Do you take time to replenish yourself?  Do you talk poorly about yourself? Do you give yourself the benefit of the doubt? What kind of friend would you want someone to be to you?  Be that to yourself,
  • Goals/Aspirations: Where does your belief system stand with regards to your goals? Do your beliefs support your goals?  Do you give yourself permission to be creative and dwell in a space of possibility? Or do you kill your dreams with, “I wish… but I can’t”.
  • Boundaries: The best way to set boundaries? Trim the “clutter”. Where can you benefit in setting stronger boundaries?  Where you feel the most drained.  This may mean setting limits with certain friends (whether you’re a closeted introvert, or you have a few overly negative friends), or saying “no” a few more times at work. The great thing about setting boundaries is that it frees up time and mental space for things that rejuvenate you, like that belly dancing class you’re really excited about. Redirect that energy!

That’s all for now.  Wellness secret agent, over and out.

Author: Amparo Vazquez

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