With the entire wellness world quite literally at our fingertips, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by every new superfood recommendation, fitness routine, and self-care practice. Trust us — We’ve been there! And here’s what we’ve learned: A health regimen that adds unnecessary stress to your life is not a health regimen at all. Why? Because our mental health directly affects our physical health!
Don’t believe us? In a 2019 study published by the American Psychological Association, researchers studied the health of 15,000 retirees. The participants in the study answered general questions about their mental and physical health and lifestyle choices. Based on the data collected, the researchers determined that those with a history of anxiety and depression had been more likely to suffer a stroke, develop high blood pressure, and have arthritis.
How Stress May be Impacting Your Physical Health
Not only do we have research-based evidence that poor mental health can negatively impact physical health, there’s a good chance that we have witnessed this first hand. Have you ever found it difficult to sleep because of a stressful situation in your life? Has stress ever resulted in unhealthy behaviors like drinking too much alcohol? Have you ever gotten sick right after a stressful period in your life?
All the previous scenarios are very obvious ways that everyday stress can take a toll on our bodies. But now let’s talk about an area that’s a little more grey… the connection between obsessing about physical health and its negative impact on our mental health. It’s possible to be SO focused on our physical health that we actually cause ourselves harm.
Here’s the deal: We fully support well-balanced wellness lifestyles, but it’s definitely possible to go overboard. It’s OKAY not to eat 100% healthy at every meal. It’s totally fine not to work out every single day. And it’s also a-okay not to know every last thing there is to know about health and wellness.
How to Embrace Your Personal Intuition
At OWL Venice, we believe in our natural intuition. When our body and mind are connected, we have the ability to assess what foods, habits, and regimens we need to thrive. There’s no one-size-fits-all way to wellness! This is why it’s so important to listen to your own instincts above everything else. Do your research, assess your options, and pick and choose what’s best for you! This will keep you from being overwhelmed by all the health suggestions we’re bombarded with on a daily basis.
Unsure of where to begin? Do this!
- Set aside all the wellness practices that you feel obligated to do so we can get to the bottom of which ones are actually serving you!
- Get a piece of paper and a writing utensil.
- Write down the following phrases, leaving a few lines between each: Physical Activity, Diet & Nutrition, Thoughts & Emotions, Sleep, Purpose, Relationships, Community, Environment, Security.
Use the following questions as a guide, then write down 1-3 practices that feel true to you in each category.
Important: It’s okay to just write one practice for each. Most importantly, do not write down more than three! Remember, we’re trying to reduce your stress here… not add to it.
PHYSICAL ACTIVITY: Write down preferred forms of movement.
- What movement practices do you truly enjoy?
- What physical activities do you look forward to doing?
- What fitness practices make you feel most connected to your mind and body?
DIET & NUTRITION: Write down preferred eating habits. *This one is basically a freebie. We’ll make it easier and say that intuitive eating is almost ALWAYS the best practice for your mental and physical health.
- Which foods give you the most energy?
- Which foods nourish your spirit?
- Which foods does your body crave?
THOUGHTS & EMOTIONS: Write down helpful self-care practices.
- What practices lower your stress level?
- What rituals boost your positivity?
- What do you do when you feel overwhelmed?
SLEEP: Write down healthy bedtime practices.
- What time do you prefer to go to sleep?
- What bedtime rituals do you most enjoy?
- How do you prefer to wake up in the morning?
PURPOSE: Write down your passions.
- What brings you the most happiness?
- What/who do you care most about?
- What part of your day do you most look forward to?
RELATIONSHIPS: Write down positive relationship practices.
- How often to catch up with your closest friends?
- How do you nourish your romantic relationships?
- How good are you at listening?
COMMUNITY: Write down practices for connection.
- Do you share interests with your local friends?
- What do you respect about the people you spend time with?
- What social activities do you most look forward to?
ENVIRONMENT: Write down practices that improve your surroundings.
- How important is tidiness to you?
- How often do you enjoy nature?
- How often do you declutter?
SECURITY: Write down practices that relieve stress.
- What activities make you feel the most at peace?
- In what ways do you practice mindfulness?
- How do you like to decompress after a long day?
Once you’ve completed this activity, look over your responses to each category. Moving forward, allow these practices to be your primary focus! Be thoughtful about which practices to add to your regimen and always check in with yourself to make sure you're not allowing your wellness routine to create stress in your life.
If you need a little more guidance, we recommend taking a moment to assess your overall wellbeing here. This will give you guidelines on which areas of your life may require more attention! But remember: The key is to create a well-rounded lifestyle, not to add additional stress. You may need to focus a little less attention on one aspect of your wellbeing in order to pay more attention to another.
As always, thank you for sharing your wellness journey with us. It’s our joy to serve you!
In health and healing,
The OWL Fam