by Dr. Marita Schauch, ND, Tall Tree Integrated Health Centre –
What does it mean to be healthy? In my experience, a lot of people are under the misconception that health means you feel amazing all the time. There is a lot of consumerism in health and wellness that has led us to believe that there is some sort of magical treatment, supplement or lifestyle change that will “fix” us and make us healthy forevermore.
As we come into the new year, I wanted to start to redefine health in a way that relies less on unattainable perfectionism and encompasses more of the human experience.
Healthy people have bad days. You don’t need to feel amazing all the time to be healthy. Our bodies go through cycles and seasons; sometimes we just feel lousy and that’s OK. It doesn’t necessarily point to something that needs to be “fixed.” If you’re experiencing a problem for longer than a few days, it’s definitely a good idea to check in with your healthcare provider but remember that sometimes we just don’t feel good, but we are still in excellent health.
Getting sick is a part of being healthy. Being healthy also doesn’t mean you never get sick. Healthy people can get sick too, and it is part of developing natural immunity and actually making yourself stronger in the long run. Getting sick is an opportunity to evaluate your choices and give your body the reset it needs.
Healthy people sometimes make “unhealthy” choices. Being healthy doesn’t mean you’re never going to eat another cookie, or you’re never going to skip a day at the gym. We may think that to be healthy we need to eat perfectly, exercise every day, always get enough sleep and never miss a meditation.
We often keep ourselves from truly enjoying our lives and our good health by setting unrealistic expectations for ourselves and guilting ourselves when we can’t meet them. But there are times for discipline, and there are times for uninhibited joy and indulgence; finding that balance is the key.
Health is a continuous journey. We are never “done” being healthy. It is an ongoing journey, and what we need to be in our best health changes often. Good health is about being in tune with our body and its needs. Some days you might need more sleep than others; some days you may need to eat more; others you may need to fast.
We need to stop approaching health like it’s some kind of formula; we are a lot more complex than that. Every moment you have the opportunity to make a choice that leads to better health and wellness.
Health is a gift. If we get caught in a spiral of perfectionism, we can forget to actually enjoy the gift of the health we have. Often, it’s not until something happens to disrupt our inner balance that we realize how precious it is.
There isn’t always something to improve; sometimes we just need to stop and be grateful for what is.