I know how difficult it can be to prioritize yourself! We’re all busy and have so many overwhelming demands on our time and schedules. Often what falls by the wayside is taking care of ourselves in the best way we can. We neglect our health and wellness until something goes wrong and then we’re at a loss for how to fix it, feeling like we’re SO far behind! Rather than wait for a health crisis, why not prioritize your health now! Your health and wellness are more important than these 10 things you’re probably allowing to get in the way!
Health and wellness aren’t about looking good in your insta pics or a bikini this summer! Weight often has little to do with health. We all have different body types and often significant changes in our bodies as we age, and hormones fluctuate. Many are willing to trade their health and wellness for thinness through food restriction, over exercise, medications and supplements, fad diets and even drug use.
The cycle of fat shaming ourselves and others MUST stop! You will not hate your body healthy. It’s far more important to feel good about yourself and live a long and healthy life than it is to be a size 2 and look like a super model (by the way… most aren’t healthy). Learn to love your body just the way it is so you can listen to it and care for it in the best way possible!
2. Instant gratification
I like a cocktail and chips too, y’all! BUT I know I don’t feel my best when I’m fueling my body with these things regularly. Now, don’t get it twisted… I don’t believe there’s any such thing as “bad food” or that I’m “bad” for consuming certain things, not exercising etc. The word bad has nothing to do with it. I prefer to think of it as intention.
Choose your food, drinks and activity with intention! It isn’t about feeling great right now or just doing whatever you like. It’s about making deliberate choices about your health and wellness. If you choose to enjoy a couple cocktails or desert, there’s nothing wrong with that. Just be sure that you have balance in your life. Make a choice rather than getting swept up and doing what felt good in the moment. This will keep you out of the shame and regret cycle. Neither of which support health and wellness.
This might seem like an odd one to see on this list but lately I find myself having this conversation quite often, especially with my niece and daughter (who asked me to write this post). I know I have many young readers and I want you to shift your focus RIGHT NOW!!!
I understand you may have lofty goals for yourselves and you’re very disciplined about achieving them. And I applaud you!!! I know you’ll get out into the world and work diligently to make it a better place and leave your mark. To be honest, we need more people like you! But here’s the thing… we need them to be healthy and well enough to do the work! We need them to be around for a long time! Damaging your health by pulling all nighters, burning yourself out with stress and neglecting the needs of your body is a recipe for disaster. You need BALANCE! You can’t perform at your best if you aren’t well nourished, well rested and getting an activity outlet. Those are the facts! Put it in your schedule and stick to it! Remember, your brain needs fuel, it needs TLC, give it what it needs!
And here’s something it’s hard to see right now… you are more than your grades. More than your accomplishments! Your value is innate. So, do yourself a favor and make weekly self-care a part of your routine as well!
I’m going to spill the beans on the truth about work! Ready?!?! That whole thing about “do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life” is a complete and total lie! So is “find your dream job”. So, if you aren’t 100% satisfied with your work life 100% of the time, join the crowd. No one is! I mean, seriously, I work for myself in my passion profession doing a job I literally invented and honestly, sometimes I don’t like it! That’s real!
And guess what… my job is so great that it also supports the life I want to live AND contributes to my health and wellness. But still some days are stressful and hard, and it feels like work. If you feel that way about your job, that’s ok! Working harder likely isn’t the answer. Stressing out about work, also not the answer. And taking up a side hustle so you can transition into the work you enjoy, well, that might not be the answer either.
The most important thing you can do for your work life is care for your health and wellness. Having a sense of serenity and clarity and the energy to do your job will create tremendous change. Working long hours and burning the candle at both ends to create a side hustle can be detrimental. Think long and hard before pursuing this. Managing stress is so important to long term health and wellness that it just might not be worth it. Your health has to be more important than your work in order for you to be productive, clear thinking and an asset in your field.
Oftentimes when we get hung up with work and it interferes with our health the real issue is money. For many work isn’t about accomplishment or job satisfaction (even if we do like our jobs). It’s really about paying the bills. I understand that money is a huge factor both in over working and in access to health and wellness. And I know it sounds cliché, but health really is wealth (as Emerson said).
Investing both time and money into your health pays off with BOTH time and money in the long run! Making money and even saving money end up costing you a lot more in the long run! Think about this… the average person with diabetes has an increased expenditure of over $16,000 per year and 2.3 times higher medical costs than a person without. And diabetes isn’t the only risk. The costs of depression, anxiety, high blood pressure and all other health and wellness related disease is just as high! Preventing these through attention to and investment in health and wellness pays off tremendously in the long run.
And let’s be honest here… you only think health and wellness is expensive. If you minimize or eliminate some of your bad habits you can redirect those funds to a gym membership or even save money by joining a CSA to get fresh local produce!
I know a clean house is important to health. Clearly you want to be able to prep food in sanitary conditions and you don’t want to be tripping over toys on the stairs. But for a lot of us, housekeeping has gone overboard, and it can actually be detrimental to your health. Consider giving the disinfecting a little break and share some of those household responsibilities.
Maintaining your home is one of many adulting obligations we all have. Juggling that along with work, relationships and health and wellness can be tough. But the job isn’t yours alone (unless of course you live alone) and neither is the mental load and stress. Tidy up nightly and get the whole family engaged in household responsibilities using the household responsibility tracker (found here). Saving time usually spent on routine tasks can be the difference between maintaining your healthy habits and self-care and neglecting them. And remember, cleaning, especially deep cleaning projects and gardening can absolutely count as your movement for the day!
Don’t neglect your health and wellness so you can spend your time cleaning to set the perfect backdrop for cultivated perfection.
7. Vacations, Holidays and Events
For many of us vacations, holidays and events are the perfect excuse to neglect our health. You don’t have to bring your own food or hit the gym every day during these activities but that doesn’t mean you should throw caution to the wind. Be sure to maintain some balance when you’re traveling and celebrating by being mindful about your choices.
When heading into a special event be sure to plan ahead. Consider choosing activities that help you move your body and foods that nourish you throughout your event. And also make some plans to splurge.
You don’t need a complete vacation from health and wellness in order to have a great time! And remember, your access to vacations, holidays and events is very limited by your health and life span.
8. Passions & Dreams
So many of us are prioritizing chasing down our passions and dreams. Now more than ever there’s support for women, in particular, to hustle harder and reach for the stars. And, hey, I’m all for that… I’m doing it myself.
The problem comes in when we become so busy with our hustle that we forget to take care of ourselves. Nothing can take the place of time spent on health and wellness and nothing will have a more profound effect on your productivity. When you’re prioritizing health and wellness over all else, you’ll have WAY more energy to pursue your goals. So, don’t flip it! Don’t let your hustle overtake your life and soar to the top of your to-do list!
I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “you can’t fill from an empty cup”. And you know this is SO true! In order to have and maintain healthy relationships you must be healthy yourself. Only then can you show up as your true and authentic self.
If you want deep and meaningful connections with others you need to have one with yourself first! Listen to your body. Pay attention to your needs. And take care of yourself! Putting your health and wellness at the forefront of your life might feel selfish. It might feel like you’re taking something from your relationships, like time, for example. And that’s true but in the long run you’ll be able to give way more back!
I know this one is tough. We all want to give our children all we have and the very best we can. But how can you do that if you’re exhausted, sick or moody? Can you honestly say that you show up better for your kids when you’re not nourishing your body, exercising and journaling? In addition, taking care of your own health and wellness drastically improves your chances of being around for their big life events.
As many of you know from reading other posts on my blog, my dad passed away when he was only 43 years old. He died of natural causes and there’s nothing natural about that. Struck down in his prime by a massive heart attack. And he had high blood pressure and other risk factors before he was even 30. So, take it from the child of someone who never prioritized their health and wellness. I wish he had spent a little less time taking me fishing and hanging out with me and a little more time taking care of himself. He’s missed so much. He never saw my youngest sister graduate high school, didn’t get to walk any of his 3 daughters down the aisle and never got to hold any of his grandchildren (and now great- grandchildren).
His presence is missed more everyday now than the moments or hours he’d have spent on his health and wellness when I was growing up. I’ve learned from this and I hope you do to. Taking the time for your health and wellness isn’t selfish. It’s the kindest gift you can give your children and the best example you can set!
Your Health and Wellness is More Important… MUCH More!
It’s difficult to prioritize your health and wellness. Believe me I get it! Our lives are busy and filled with responsibilities and demands. Taking the time to practice self-care, get in a workout, meal prep, get to your doctors’ appointments and take care of all the other miscellaneous things related to your health and wellness seems impossible. But when you consider the incredible benefits how can you not make it your number one task? Plus, the time you spend here will result in increased productivity, money saved and more time with your loved ones in the long run. And it’ll enable you to show up in your life, pursuits and relationships as your best, most authentic self. So, it’s worth every second and every dime!