Thursday, August 18, 2011

Guest Post: Mental & Physical Wellness

I stumbled across Errign's blog a few months ago, and have really enjoyed getting to know part of her life through her posts. After reading this post, please go over and check her blog out. Thanks Errign for guest posting! 

Hi Everyone!  I’m Errign & I blog over at Errign’s Adventures, where I try to focus on living the best life for me, whatever that may mean at the time.  When Karolina asked me to write a guest post about what wellness means to me, I was both excited and intrigued with the topic, since I know the definition of wellness can vary so much.

Personally, my total body wellness comes from both mental and physical wellness.  I don’t dwell as much on the spiritual aspect of wellness, because I find personally that if I’m both physically and mentally well, I feel at peace.  Being at peace for me is enough, though for others, spiritually may be more important, but I guess that’s the beauty of being individuals, right?  So, I figured I’d focus on my definitions of physical and mental wellness and how I go about achieving them.

Physical Wellness:  For me, physical wellness begins in the most obvious place – taking enough proper care of my body so I don’t get sick.  Luckily, I am a pretty healthy person – I got the flu for the first time a few years ago and I seriously thought I was dying.  To keep myself from getting sick, I get the right amount of sleep for me (I think this really does vary person to person, regardless of what doctors & studies tell us), I eat healthy, wholesome foods that make me feel good, and I exercise.  Exercise is my biggest part of physical wellness, because it balances me out & keeps me centered so well.  I have favorite forms of exercise – running, mountain biking, yoga, and skiing.  I enjoy the rush of endorphins and the accomplishment in reaching a new goal, but I mostly use exercise as a way to appreciate my body and respect my health.  A day or two without exercise certainly won’t kill me, but exercise is how I keep myself together and is where physical wellness really begins to tie into mental wellness, for me.

Mental Wellness:  Mental wellness is obviously, the feelings and appreciation I have for myself.  I like to think of maintaining my mental wellness as a massage or a nap for my brain.  Maintaining my mental wellness is sometimes something I can struggle with, because personally, I usually have to take time to recharge, relax and withdraw from the world to maintain mental wellness.  Unfortunately, “taking it easy” is not something my type-a control freak personality does lightly and I spend a lot of time reminding myself to take a break, to take a night off go-go-go, and to take rest days from exercise.  My favorite ways to boost my mental wellness are to plan days where I have no responsibilities to anyone but myself, to watch movies or TV shows I love, to take long hot showers, and by taking the time to be in nature by myself, whether I’m skiing, mountain biking, running, or just taking a walk with my dog.  I love to schedule fun girl’s dates with my friends for pedicures or drinks out, or just an evening in on one of our couches with some Ben & Jerry’s and Circle of Friends.  I do think that mental wellness is even more important than physical wellness, even though they’re so intertwined and it’s a constant learning experience for me to remember to respect my mental wellness.

I truly do believe that proper levels of mental and physical wellness must go hand in hand for me to function properly, and on the days that I just feel “off”, I can usually pinpoint why & how I am going to adjust.  I know wellness means different things to different people, so thank Karolina for letting me share my viewpoint!  To anyone reading, come on over to my blog & say hi!

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