5 Reasons You Are Not Spending Enough On Your Wellness – Part 4

Hand turns dice and changes the expression "old habits" to "new habits". There is a green background.

I have a friend with whom I’ve become reacquainted after 30 years. We worked together from 1989-1992 until, like many in the campaign world, he moved on, and so did I. His wife and I met through our swimmer daughters, and she is one of my closest friends now. Who would have thought I’d reconnect with Randy 30 years later; how small this world is.

Anyway, he mentioned how I was so fit back when we worked together in 1989. Since my long journey has taught me to thank someone for their compliment, I thanked him. Yet, in my head, I knew the truth. I may have looked physically fit, but overall, I was actually a hot mess.

I’m pretty sure I was smoking, drinking a lot, and “running off” my food mistakes. I was living an  ‘always-striving-for-more’ lifestyle and had little awareness of how my stressful lifestyle was contributing to my lack of body confidence. While I may have appeared “fit” inside, I was not “fit,” nor well.

Now, as a 54-year-old woman in the best physical, emotional, and mental condition of my life, my methods for approaching my wellness are very different than what I practiced as a Hill staffer 30 years ago. As a woman in Menopause with a super-charged calendar making demands on my brain and body and still aiming for a limitless existence, I approach my fitness and my wellness very differently.

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 ➔   I do not aim for the body I had when I was 25; in fact, I treat this one with more TLC than I ever have before. I pay attention to what it needs and do not push myself to complete exhaustion.

➔   I link my physical wellness to my emotional health. In fact, I have discovered that there is no distinction between the two; they are intertwined. I practice foundational strategies like mindfulness, meditation, and prayer. I eat nourishing foods, I think about my exercise as my level of athleticism across an entire day. I maintain a schedule where I say no more than “yes.” And I continue to make sleep the foundation of my health and wellness.

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Most importantly: I recognize that wellness is a lifetime journey, and I know that maintenance and consistency are what help me be stronger physically and emotionally today than I was yesterday.

So, what does this have to do with you and your wellness?

I have worked with literally thousands of people over my 20+ year career in wellness, and I know that the vast majority of people are still relying upon diets and exercise ‘fixes’ to reach an aesthetic goal. Not only does this approach not work, particularly for women and men over 50, but even worse is the fact that we create a strained relationship with our bodies that makes them less able to respond. We work our bodies extra hard, provide less fuel, and typically maintain high levels of stress while getting less sleep. Simply put, this does not lead to wellness. How could it?

Something we talk about very little in the wellness industry is the importance of maintenance care through services like massage, physical therapy, and chiropractic care, all of which are core components of my personal wellness plan. It is common for people to turn to these practices only when there is injury or an acute situation. This is a mistake. Caring well for the body to ensure that it remains mobile, flexible, and aligned requires a multi-faceted approach.

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There are many circumstances when we at Alexandria Wellness ask that a community member seek the services of our preferred providers. This is because Lis and I can see what they cannot: they’re overusing one side; they feel tightness when they shouldn’t or even can’t get beyond a certain point in their training.

If you have been following this series, you know that my goal has been to introduce signs that you may not be investing enough in your wellness. Investing means many things, including time and money, but it has also been my aim to demonstrate that there are many aspects to wellness that most people overlook. Wellness is a journey, and it has to include a wide range of ways of caring for the mind, body, and spirit to be effective.

We are surrounded by some of the best resources in the country right here in Alexandria. My invitation to you is to invest the time and energy in building a wellness team that can support you in thriving through your 40’s, 50’s, 60’s and beyond.

Stay tuned for part 5, the final part of this series, when we will be talking about how under-investing in wellness can result in a higher rate of injury. For more information about our programs, click here or email me at contact@alexandriawellness.com if you’d like to discuss how I can help you or your team develop your very own wellness practice.

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