If we do not look at ourselves in the metaphoric and literal mirror - and recognize the path in life and choices we are making, we can not really be fully connected to who we are and how we are doing.
Let me introduce you to the Illness-Wellness Continuum, if you are not yet familiar. Essentially the below graph displays what can happen to our health if we are not connected to ourselves.
Notice the right side from the center starts with Awareness. I have discussed awareness in past newsletters because of it's importance. And here it is coming up again! For us to move toward our highest level of wellness, it begins with self-awareness. If we can recognize what's going well and what's not, we can then look for ways to become more educated and grow our capabilities and health habits.
The left side from the center starts with Signs. If signs are ignored they lead to symptoms and if symptoms are ignored they can lead to disabilities and potentially pre-mature death. Death is not something easily discussed, so let's talk about how we are aging. No matter your current age - having a focus on how you want to age can help you determine your path and avoid potential pitfalls. We certainly can't control everything - but when we take hold of what we can control, we can make a meaningful positive difference.
Let's connect the concepts of Awareness and Signs.
If we pay attention to what our body is telling us, we can catch signs before they lead to Symptoms and eventually disabilities (or worse).
Take a moment now and pause. Do a quick scan of your body.
Do you feel any light aches or pains? Is there "something(s)" you have been avoiding? A nagging Foot ache, Knee ache, Hip ache can all eventually lead to a sprain, tear or worse - laying you up for weeks. Using crutches can then lead to Shoulder pain and limping around can lead to Back pain, and so on.
If you are not already taking action to address your aches and pains, consider that a daily does of gentle stretching can go a long way to help ease the pains. Below are few resources that can provide guidance on daily stretches to stay connected to your body.
Another way to connect to your body is how it reacts to the foods you eat. Here are some thoughts from a previous article that fits well for this connection topic. I hope you will take a re-visit of my "Pause for Love" article, where we discuss whether the food you love, loves you back. You may love lots of different foods, but if you don't feel so well after eating them, chances are that's a sign your body can use a change!
And, Rest! Yes - when your feeling tired. Rest. This is a difficult topic for me. I am a "do-er". I like to "go-go-go" and love crossing things off my to-do list! But over the last few years I have learned to embrace the need for rest and actually take rests thru the day.
"Rests" can include a quick step outside for a sit, a 2-3 minute mindfulness session and resting to watch a few minutes of a TV show or listen to a Podcast. Rest can also be a full-on Nap! It can be getting good sleep by taking steps to provide your mind space to fall and stay asleep. And it could mean skipping a workout. Connect to your body and listen to what it's telling you. If you do, you can end up stronger, with more energy and an increase in creativity - all because you took a Rest.
Connecting to yourself can be one of the best gifts you'll ever receive!
"Awake Your Awareness" meditation sessions.
Daily Stretch Routine Resources: