Being “healthy” can mean so many different things to different people. Believe it or not, it’s not just tied to physical appearance, although many people are quick to assume that it is. “Skinny” doesn’t necessarily mean you’re healthy and in the same breath, a high BMI doesn’t necessarily correlate to an unhealthy individual. There are a lot of factors that go into the determination of whether you are truly living a healthy life.
Whether it’s the food you consume, the amount of physical activity in your routine or the social activities you engage in, it all ties together. According to The World Health Organization (WHO) the word health is, “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being,” and this includes the use of personal and social resources to ensure an individual can function throughout their everyday lives. In other words, if your body can effectively manage threats to your system (physically, mentally or emotionally), you are considered to be healthy. Keep in mind, health care providers are trained individuals that are equipped to evaluate every aspect of your health, but there are some general signs that indicate if you are in good health from a physical and mental perspective:
- You are eating a diet that is well-rounded and includes lots of whole foods. No one is perfect, but the key is trying your best to include whole foods and optimal nutrition to your daily diet as consistently as possible. That means including whole, unprocessed foods into your meals. Occasionally splurging is okay, but it is definitely not recommended frequently! It’s all about balance.
- You can effectively manage a full range of emotions.Too often, people think you have to be happy all the time. That is far from the truth. Happiness feels significantly more wholesome when you feel a range of emotions in-between those happy moments. The key is effectively implementing strategies to manage those not-so-great feelings and moments. If you find that, more often than not, you are struggling to manage your stress, anger or anxiety about things, there may be a with that. A true sign of good emotional well-being is the ability to embrace and manage a range of emotions, recognizing they are not permanent.
- You have enough energy to get through your day and complete your daily to-do list. Whether we are talking about physical energy or mental energy, having the ability to focus and complete the things you want to do each day is a sign of good health. If you are struggling to get through things you typically do in a day, this could be a sign of concern related to your health. It could be as simple as logging more quality hours of sleep at night or eating enough of the right foods.
- You feel rested when you get up. If you’re hitting the pillow at night and you wake up feeling like you barely slept, there’s a concern there. The right amount of sleep is not only essential for your body but for your mind as well. Getting eight hours is best, but not always attainable for everyone which is why quality sleep is just as important. The CDC reports that more than a third of adults in the country report they are not getting enough sleep.
- You include moderate exercise and movement into your daily routine. The recommended amount of exercise for good health is 150 weekly minutes of moderate activity, like brisk walking. You can easily meet this expectation without having to purchase a membership to a local gym. Especially with the beautiful weather we’re currently experiencing, getting on a bike, heading to the pool for a swim or taking a walk around the block would be the perfect way to soak in some Vitamin D while getting in some exercise! Depending on your level of physical fitness, it is always important to connect with a professional that can guide you on the right activities to engage in.
When thinking about your overall health, it is important to remember that it is all about having a healthy balance between your mental and physical wellness. Even if you believe you “don’t need help” in certain areas, there are always proactive ways to maintain your current level of health and prepare yourself for unexpected difficulties in the future. At Heyl Family Practice, for example, there are physicians to help manage your physical health needs, like an annual physical, and counselors to manage your mental health needs. Together, these professionals can help to create an optimal and comprehensive health plan for our patients.
Regardless, being healthy looks different from person to person. If you make an effort to engage in proactive health and wellness activities and routines, including maintenance of ongoing conditions and preventative care, you are taking the right steps. The key is consistency, listening to your body, and taking action when you see or feel something concerning. If you haven’t yet, this is the perfect time to do it! We’d love to see you and assess the status of your health and wellness.