By Michelle Wilson, wellness program manager
Leaning into our strengths to stay healthy
We all want to feel healthy and have energy to do the things we love. Most of us know what we need to do to take care of our bodies and we know when we aren’t taking good care of ourselves. It’s common to get caught in a cycle of thinking about what we aren’t doing well and feeling badly about it. This makes it even harder to make healthy changes.
One way to break this cycle and start making positive changes is to focus on what you are doing well. When we focus on what we appreciate about ourselves, we can make changes from a place of feeling strong, rather than feeling like we have failed.
Start by asking yourself these questions:
- What do I like and appreciate about my body? What works well?
- Have I overcome challenges to my physical health, such as healing from an illness or injury? Have I started even one healthy habit?
- What am I doing well to take care of my body? Do I make good choices about food? Do I get enough sleep? Do I have a type of exercise or movement that I enjoy?
- Do I take care of my health by seeing a healthcare provider when I have a health issue? Do I take care of my body when I am sick by getting rest, drinking healthy fluids, and taking any medicine as it is prescribed?
Next, take a few minutes and appreciate your body. Appreciate the ways you take care of it. Let yourself feel the strength you have to make good choices for your health.
Now think about one thing you want to do to take care of your physical health in the next week. It may be to make a change in your eating, get more sleep, exercise more often, or make an appointment to see a medical provider. What support do you need to do this? Do you need to help from a friend? Do you need to buy healthier food? Do you need to make changes to your physical environment to make it easier for you to sleep well? Take steps to get the support you need.
Remember what you appreciate about your body and your ability to make healthy choices. Then, commit to making one healthy change. Take one step this week toward your goal. When you complete it, set another small goal. Each time you take a step, celebrate it! When you don’t reach your goal, take a breath, remember what you appreciate about yourself, and try again. Adjust the goal if needed.
One step at a time, we can all make good choices and create healthy habits. Start by appreciating yourself, then set a small goal, complete it, and start again. Remember to be kind to yourself and get support if you need it. (And remember that we all need support!)
Tip: Get a journal or use a calendar and write down one thing each day you appreciate about yourself, your body, and your ability to make good choices. Write down one thing you will do to take care of your physical health each day. At the end of each week, take time to truly appreciate your strengths and ability to create wellness for yourself.