It’s ironic that we both sort of feel this confusion around wellness, as we like to consider this blog a ‘health + wellness’ site. But, as you’ll read below, 2018 was a pivotal year for both of us in understanding what wellness truly means, and we hope we can bring more of that to all of you in the new year.
“Honestly, as I sat down to write this part of our reflections, I was thinking what even is wellness!? I mean, I know what wellness is, and I know I made big moves toward achieving new/better wellness in 2018, but technically, WHAT IS wellness?!
Here’s a few definitions:
“Wellness is an active process of becoming aware of and making choices toward a healthy and fulfilling life. Wellness is more than being free from illness, it is a dynamic process of change and growth.”– The Regents of The University of California, Davis campus
“…a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”– The World Health Organization
“…a conscious, self-directed and evolving process of achieving full potential.”– The National Wellness Institute
I like how these definitions relate to each other, but all say slightly different things. They certainly all resonate with me.
Thinking back on 2018, my biggest health + wellness takeaway was the fact that when I was on-point with food AND exercise, specifically when I was working with a coach and being very mindful, I felt my best ever. Yes, I was seeing those initial desired results, physically, but being in that routine of taking the best care of myself produced that state of “complete physical, mental, and social well-being” described above, that I almost didn’t know existed.
I always knew exercising and eating right made me “feel good”, but I would go so far as to say the level of wellness I was achieving was life-changing. I felt better about myself in my career, personal life, everything! I was constantly in a better mood and happier, just by doing the simple things of eating right and moving my body.
It’s funny to me to think about the idea of “routine”. I’m a teacher, and it’s always so important to have routine for the kids—they’re the most successful when they have the same schedule each day and know what to expect, etc. Yet, here I am, finding that as I get older, routine seems to be just as important for me. I’m really valuing it more than ever before, and when my routine is disturbed, so is my mental state! I’m sure these things happened before, but it was really in 2018 where I started realizing how I could manipulate these things to be my best self.
As we head into 2019, I have one main goal regarding wellness. Obviously, there’s always more learning I can do, especially in the areas I’m interested in: food + fitness. But, for the most part, I know enough of what to do to be and feel my best. Yet for some reason, I don’t always do it. Motivation is such an interesting concept to ponder, and a word I notice some associating negative connotation with recently. As I embark on 2019, my goal is to hold myself more accountable to always taking care of myself the way that I know will produce the highest state of wellness.”
“This is the area that I struggle to reflect on the most. Probably because food and fitness goals and successes are relatively easy to define and measure, whereas health and wellness, to me, is an ever-evolving, heavily influenced, and sometimes contradicting/confusing space.
The first thing I thought of when I started writing this was a quote I’ve seen floating around Instagram, that of course I can’t find right now… but it went something like, ‘You can exercise every day and drink all the green juice in the world, but if you still talk down to yourself, you’re not healthy.’ Every time I see this quote, or some variation of it, it stops me in my tracks. Generally speaking, I’m a pretty positive person (sometimes to a fault), and I always look for the bright side of any given situation. But I’d be lying if I said I’m not hard on myself. I’m really good at pointing out my friends’ accomplishments when they’re feeling down on themselves, but not so good at it when it comes to myself. But every time I see this quote, I’m reminded that no matter how hard I work to ‘achieve’ optimal wellness, I have to consider the mental aspect of wellness as well.
Being on Instagram a lot (like, a LOT) and following primarily health + wellness influencers, I’m completely engrossed in the health + wellness space there. I’m constantly reading about the latest wellness trends. And while there’s a lot of truth to these trends, it’s important to remember that that’s what they are. Trends. And trends do not define wellness.
I’ve definitely fallen into the trap of thinking that if I’m not participating in the latest wellness trend, that I’m somehow falling behind. This mindset is something I’ve been working on in 2018 and will continue to work on in the new year.
A few other wellness-related things I’ve focused on in 2018 are, believe it or not, water and sleep. Sure, these are two of the most basic human necessities. But damn, is it hard to get enough of both of them. Like Hope, I realized this year that I genuinely feel my best on the days when I’m moving my body, fueling my body with healthy foods, getting 7+ hours of sleep a night and drinking enough water throughout the day. Also, my skin looks better, I have more energy, my mood is improved—the list goes on. Such a simple realization, but a pretty monumental one at the same time.
Throughout the holidays, my routine definitely slipped, and sure enough, I’m not feeling 100. The key difference this year is that I’m not beating myself up for it. And I’m really looking forward to taking what I learned in 2018 and truly applying it 2019. I used to always consider myself either ‘on track’ or ‘off the rails’—one extreme or the other—but what I’ve learned in 2018 and will continue to practice in 2019 is that I’m not on a train. There is no track. And there’s more to my journey than those two extremes. Stay tuned…”