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Four practical ways to tend to your holistic health

In the spirit of Blood Clot Awareness Month we are still focusing on health. Specifically, I want to explore our holistic health given the whirlwind 2022 has shown itself to be. Too often we, women in particular, show up caring for everyone and everything but ourselves. We are attentive to our jobs, families, and friends’ needs, but it takes intention and practice to give ourselves the same level of care and consideration.

I’ll start. Two weeks ago after a day of community work, I placed my hand on my heart to assess how I was feeling and realized I was a little sad. From stalled house renovations to changes in relational dynamics, I’ve been in a very transitional space all year, but because I immersed myself in work, I hadn’t realized how much I neglected assessing my own feelings. What’s funny is since I’ve become a plant mom, the numerous plants and cutlings in my living room usually reflect the neglect I give myself every now and then. Whenever I observe my plant water low or the soil being dry, it’s always been at a time my own internal cup is running on “E.” Thankfully I have boundaries and practices in place so periods of personal oversight don’t extend past two weeks, yet my goal is to make showing up from a place of overflow a daily practice.

What boundaries and practices do you have in place to keep yourself in-tune, refueled and showing up from a place of overflow? In addition to your existing routines, review and apply the list below to nurture and check in with your mind, body, and spirit. We are aiming for health, wholeness and fulfillment all 2022.

Physical Health (Body)

1. Schedule an appointment. While there’s a lot we can assess on our own, we must also consider the things we don’t know. When is the last time you saw your primary doctor, dentist, or ladies, your GYN? If it’s been over a year for any of these, stop reading right now and go schedule an appointment. This will be here when you get back.

I would have never discovered the blood clots in my lungs if I didn’t go to the doctor about a weird pain in my shoulder. While I was healthy and feeling fine, there were things happening under the surface only a professional would have been able to assess quickly. Go see a trusted professional, get your blood work and all the other tests, and make sure there are no under the surface issues.

2. Get moving. Outside of seeing a professional for our physical health, we have a responsibility too. How often do you move your body throughout the week? This can be dance class, workout, yoga, walking, etc. We don’t have to be doctors or trainers to understand the physical and mental benefits of regular movement.

I’ve noticed the pandemic has drastically decreased my movement and strength to the point where if I stretch, I feel tightness the next day as if I did a full workout. (That’s not okay.) We don’t want our bodies slowly losing strength and circulation because we’re sitting inside all day. Moreover, since I’ve started taking walks around my neighborhood, I can attest to how refreshing it is to get outside. Figure out what your movement activities will be and make a commitment to do them a few times a week.

Tip: I always find it helpful to start small by committing to ten minute movement sessions two to three times a week. You can find a quick YouTube video or take a walk or jog outside.

Spiritual Health (Spirit)

3. Set aside daily time for spiritual development. What do you do to nurture your spirit daily? Is your spiritual practice obligatory or fulfilling? Do you have a menu of practices you can pull from to fuel your spirit? Your answers to these questions will tell you where you are in your spiritual development.

Our spirit self is the core of our being. When we nurture our spiritual health, we gain perspective and strength that impacts how we show up in every area of our lives. Based on the kind of person you are (morning-person, night owl, etc), carve space for sacred practices at a time of day that works for you. My sacred time is in the morning. I won’t do anything for anyone else until I do something for myself. Based on how I’m feeling each day, my spiritual time may consist of prayer, meditation, Bible reading, a sacred bath, journaling, a devotional, or a combination of these and other practices. Having that time every day is essential to me showing up as my best (developing) self. Determine what is necessary for you each day, and sharpen any practices that have become more routine than effective.

Mental/Emotional Health (Mind)

4. Check in with yourself regularly. When is the last time you assessed how you are feeling about all that’s happening in your life? Have you had significant changes, frustrations, or busyness this year? Have you been able to determine how much it’s impacting you and have you gotten to communicate that with anyone? Life is always happening, and whether we do so daily, weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly, it’s imperative we have check points to sit with ourselves. If it’s been too long since your last introspective check-in, go back to read and apply my last post “Do these three things right now to check in with yourself.”

We often know things are happening and we may even know what to do about it, but knowledge does not equal implementation, and it’s so easy to put off the intangible tasks on our to-do list like “check in with self.” Not this time. Mark time on your calendar to have a personal check-in. That may even consist of taking a day off to step away from work in order to assess and nurture your holistic self (I did this last week and it was so needed). However you need to do it, make time for it in the next two weeks, and commit to it. Trust me, I’m doing the same.

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