Today, in my quest to dig deep into the phrase TREAT YOURSELF WELL, I am looking at the meaning of wellness.
According to the dictionary, WELL means a good and satisfactory way, a thorough manner, sensible or advisable, and to be in good health.
Treating yourself well and aiming for wellness is a lifelong mission. It goes deep. It’s holistic and far-reaching. It’s about making the most of life, about nurturing and enabling ourselves and others, education, un-learning bad habits and learning those that aid us and keep us well, in mind, body and spirit. It is about understanding, life satisfaction, and it’s about balance. I also think it’s so important to add that it is personal. It is relative. Life is full of compromises, there are things we cannot change. We may be caring for a loved-one, our finances may be difficult, we may have health problems that won’t go away. It is our perspective, our priorities, our drive and positivity that we must nurture. Our Self.
The wellness I am striving for is the best I can be, the best health, the most balance, the most growth, and also the most acceptance. This is so important. There are a lot of things I must accept, I cannot take away my chronic health conditions, the restrictions and struggle. I have to cope. The Whole Food Rainbow is my story of coping, the beautiful food that lights up my life and makes me as well physically as I can be, reducing my symptoms, and that also nurtures me in so many other ways too. The locally grown organic fruit and vegetables I eat make me more mindful about food, more connected, they make me appreciate what I am receiving and sharing, and make me feel so good. I love photographing this food, it is just so beautiful to me. With my hand disability I cannot manage a big camera, but I adore my tiny camera so much. At this moment, in the photo below, when I was in fact having a hypo and struggling physically, this (tiny!) organic apple was just so incredibly uplifting, such a miracle. It nurtures me physically with its nutrients, and it nurtures my heart and spirit with its beauty, and then that also nurtures me physically, as finding satisfaction in the small things is the greatest gift in this life, and feeling less stressed is the greatest gift you can give your health ♥
Wellness is a term much used and also much critiqued of late, as it is a super-heading, all-encompassing, and also used glibly sometimes, and it irritates some people, most likely people who are quite irritable in general I don’t know. At first I was influenced by this. I felt it to be a smug term maybe, or something, and, hands up I was one of those irritable people! I like a balance in this life, positivity and realism. Let’s say it how it is, everything does not need to be sugar-coated. But when looking into wellness I soon embraced the word and concept as the best of words and meanings. The World Health Organisation (who do NOT own this word by any means) defines it as
“…a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being…”
I would replace complete with optimal, because complete is both unrealistic and unachievable and so it is a term that excludes many of those that need it most. I will never achieve complete health but I need to strive for it to improve my quality of life, which is what I am doing by following the anti-inflammatory plant-based diet I do. My health restricts me socially and causes me a lot of stress, it is all inter-related, I need to strive to improve every aspect of my life, and if the other people in my life and my society had real awareness, that would help so much. We can enable each other by being aware of their needs even on a basic level, by being educated about the common health conditions that so many live with for example, such as type 1 or 2 diabetes, or fybromyalgia or coeliac disease. Otherwise how can we be a good manager, or colleague, sibling or friend? I may have these conditions, and they have a big impact on my life, in ways few understand, but I am still a valid person who is deserving of respect. So often this is not the reality presented, and that is just another thing to fight against in my life.
Wellness is so important, what more should we strive for, individually and collectively? What is more important in this life than to be well, and for your loved ones and neighbours to be well, for your community, your society, your fellow humans of the world to be well? To be empowered, to be nurtured, to find balance and satisfaction in their life, to be as healthy as they can be. Well that is what a truly civilised world would be, and anyone striving for that, and trying to enable others to do so is doing a wonderful thing in my eyes. Anyone who is trying to stand in the way is merely blinded by their ignorance and just needs it explaining, as we all so often do take our time to understand things.
And so to treat yourself well is to really carefully consider how best to achieve the best life-health you can. Physical, social and mental health. To be considerate to yourself and your real needs, and to be considerate to your future self too. In this process you will grow; well, strong, balanced, able to cope with life’s challenges as best you can. This is our purpose, to grow in the right way, towards the right things, to use our remarkable powers, to harness them in order to nurture, to love ourselves and others.
song of the week… Dream Warriors ‘My Definition of a Boombastic Jazz Style’