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What is Health?

What is health? What does health look like? What does it feel like?

Well, that last question is where I feel health is best represented, in our feelings, but we'll get back to that!

Over the years I've probably been through several different perspectives of what healthy actually means, from being a particular waist size, to looking a certain way, to being strong or hitting a higher running distance. The thing about each of these perspectives is that in my experience, none of them were actually that healthy!

Now why is that? There's nothing really wrong with any of those above aspirations, it's great to be lift heavy or run far, and everybody wants to look good. But from my experience, every time I pushed myself to achieve these goals, I didn't like myself. I didn't feel like I was doing good enough, I felt guilty if I didn't hit a target or if I ate unhealthy. Now that can't be healthy can it?!

It can become more restrictive than it can be rewarding or satisfying. We use vanity metrics to tell ourselves we are doing the right thing and it's only when objectivity is brought into the equation where we can see the harm that's actually being done.

Around 2013-2014 I was in one of the best shapes of my life (not to boast but I looked good), but I had absolutely no social wellbeing. I couldn't justify to myself going out with my friends for drinks because it would ruin my diet, nutrition and sleep. So yes, I looked good, but I certainly didn't feel good to be so far from the people around me. It took another couple years for me to really see that. There's more to it than that, but I can't use this whole article to for my personal experiences.

There's a little about my journey in health anyway, trying lots of things to be healthy and still struggling. So, where are we now and what does being healthy mean?

I now look at being healthy in two ways, balance and feeling good.

Everything has to be in balance right, if you go too far to either side something will definitely not fit right (and I don't mean your dress or trousers!). You could eat too much (without exercise) and develop health problems such as obesity which makes your days harder than they need to be. Or you could eat too little and develop other health problems where your body can't even function how it should!

We all want to feel good too. Imagine waking up in the morning and actually feeling energetic for the day ahead. Imagine being able to get through the day without several cups of coffee and the caffeine crashes (not attacking any coffee lovers I promise!). Imagine being able to engage and be sociable with those around you. The point for me here, is that all of this is about you and how you feel! Sometimes health feels like conforming to what others think is healthy. But, if you focus on feeling good, it doesn't matter about what others think because you feel too good to care! It's a bit of a positive spiral.

Combine the two above points, having balance and feeling good, that's what I see health as these days. I feel that's the right way to be with health. The most interesting thing is that you might be in good physical shape naturally, or talented at sport, but that doesn't mean you are actually healthy! So, I ask anyone who sees this to have a think about how they feel and if their life is balanced? Are you healthy? Both mentally and physically?

Now, to be healthy like that sounds like a lot doesn't it? I'll give you that.... I think there's a way around it though. I think it really is about the little things, all adding up to make a big difference.

What are the little things? I have 5 personally (there's probably more) that I focus on. These are sleep, nutrition, water, exercise and mobility. They're all pretty straightforward, get enough sleep, drink some water, eat min 5 fruit/veg a day, have a bit of exercise (each day), and do some stretching.

If you find it hard to do these things yourself, here's a few things that helped me over the years!

Sleep - I have trouble switching off, so I read before bed. Even if it's just a chapter or two to zone out into something else. I also find if I wake up in the night a lot it's due to stress and so I need to manage that stress (whole other topic haha)

Water - I always keep a glass or bottle out in the morning so I see it straight away. You can also get apps that send you reminders which is pretty handy!

Fruit/Veg - I put my fruit bowl right where I can see it (another visual aid) and always put the veg at the front of the fridge.

Exercise - I know I won't be popular with this one. But I do my exercise in the morning. That way, if nothing else I still got to the gym and did my exercise for the day. We all know after work it's tough. The best part is that I feel energetic through the morning after so it helps in more ways than one!

Stretching - I tag this onto the end of my morning gym session, so it's pretty easy for me. I found this best when I had someone else to do it with though. Pick someone to hold you to account and call each other to make sure you do it. Your back won't regret it!

When I have all those things in check, I feel pretty damn good. I do find it do easy though to fall of the healthy track. I definitely stress eat, and it takes me ages to see I'm doing it. I did it all the way through Oct-Dec 2021, and I'm just starting to get back to a good relationship with food for my health now. Which I'm happy about I won't lie.

I'm a bit of a hypocrite though, I'm writing this at the end of a 12 hour day, and I know that ain't healthy! I just want to help though, and don't mind pushing myself if Plexus and I can make a big positive difference!

Thanks, Community Love,

Jordan - Founder

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