Wellness Works if YOU Work It!
Welcome to installment #23 of the A to Z for a Rocking Retirement. W = WELLNESS I’m just back from my annual trek to the 42nd annual National Wellness Conference which I have attended at least 35 times – and still benefit from it and love being there after all these years. Amazing that it still draws over 800 participants year after year, but because it was ahead of its time when it started, it took awhile for the world to catch up with the concept.
And where would we be without WELLNESS? It used to be just a buzz word, but now it is a life and death thing. If we are not well, we can’t survive and thrive. And yet we continue to get sicker, fatter, in more pain, and more miserable despite the abundance of fitness centers, yoga studios, massage locations, vitamin stores, advances in healthcare, bigger better hospitals, and on and on. What’s wrong with this picture?
I entered the wellness field over 40 years ago when I realized there had to be more I could do to prevent all the disease and ailments I was caring for every day as a nurse. By shifting from bedside to school nursing I discovered the fun of being with healthy people all day and being able to teach them how to get healthier and stay that way. That was my epiphany and I never looked back. And I have worked hard for a long time to help people take charge of their own health, take fewer medications and basically stay out of the healthcare system. So what happened? Why did I fail in my quest to help people reach higher levels of wellness? Here are some of the factors that stood in my way.
50 years ago the SUGAR INDUSTRY funded research that downplayed the risks of sugar and highlighted the hazards of fat.
The great FAT SCARE from the 60’s that made fat evil and so we needed to reduce it in our diet as much as possible based on recommendations from prestigious organizations like the healthcare system, the US government, the American Heart Association, etc.
The UPSIDEDOWN FOOD PYRAMID that focused on eating more carbs than anything else because they have the lowest calorie load and we should power up with 6-11 servings per day. (This is absolutely the worst way to eat for health and we all got on board in full force and now look at what has happened.)
The JUNKFOOD INDUSTRY that focused on giving us all forms of low-fat, no-fat processed foods to follow the government guidelines. And now many of us are afraid to eat fat and these products are still on the market despite the new science that says good fat is good.
The TOXIC LIFESTYLE due to an overabundance of processed, refined, high glycemic, genetically modified, sugar infused, colored, artificially flavored and preservative filled foods plus an overabundance of toxic chemical exposure from our homes, workplaces and the environment and medications.
The OVER-POWERING of the MEDICAL MODEL on our decision-making ability to determine our own health outcomes by encouraging medications and surgeries over prevention and wellness. And many of us still rely on our doctors for advice on how to get healthy when many of them don’t have expertise on wellness to guide us in that direction.
Despite all these forces working against us living a healthy lifestyle, once again we need to take charge. So here’s what I do if you need some ideas of how wellness can work for you:
W - Wellness concepts are my guide – I use a holistic approach and nurture all 6 dimensions
E – Eat low glycemic food to maintain blood sugar control which releases fat as a side effect.
L – Live fully by manifesting a life that fulfills my dreams
L – Laugh a lot to keep those endorphins flowing
N - Network with others to build relationships for ongoing support and good times
E – Exercise daily for energy, weight management, and fitness
S – Stress management practices that are varied and enjoyable - exercise, nature, Chi Machine, Tapping (EFT)
S - Sleep 7-8 hours regularly – and take a short nap daily too!
So how do you resist all the forces sabotaging our quest for optimal health and what wellness practices have you adopted to survive and thrive in your busy life?