Over the past few weeks, I’ve made many decisions to change the way I live, or had been living. It’s not that I was extremely unhealthy, but I was making unhealthy decisions that were wreaking havoc on the state of my brain, body, and heart. I have a stressful career (as many careers are), but in many fields of nursing, from the time you walk in to the time you leave you are moving. You’re moving both body and mind and have to be on your A-game at all times. Human lives aren’t something to mess around with. As a result, I have to be very conscious and careful of the decisions I make both inside and outside of work to stay healthy.
One of the biggest changes I’ve made in the last month is going gluten-free. I’ve had many physicians suggest at least trying it, but I was insistent corn was enough and that I was fine with gluten. I even thought that there was no way I would have all the symptoms they say happen when you take gluten out. Well, about 24 hours in to being gluten-free, it was clear I was wrong – others were right. I was severely fatigued, extremely pale, itching everywhere, and just felt miserable. This lasted for about a week, and then all the sudden I felt the better. A month into it I feel the best I’ve felt in years. I feel like myself again. Even if I am one of the people who can’t tolerate gluten, I still don’t think that gluten-free is for everyone, but it is for me, at least for now.
Beyond going gluten-free, here is my list of things I’m focusing on to round out the end of 2015 the healthiest me I can be:
1. Taking a day of rest
As a Christian, the Sabbath is taught, but many years into my faith I am just beginning to understand how truly a day of rest is important. This doesn’t mean sitting on the couch all day, but it means doing things that give life to me and making sure I do rest properly on this day.
I’m great about walking and good about exercising, I’m awful at stretching. In the last few weeks since making a point to stretch. I can’t explain the difference it has made, but it is wonderful.
3. Saying “No”
It took me a long time to learn there is such a thing as saying no to good things. Letting go of people pleasing and truly asking the questions… Is this going to stress me out to an unhealthy level? Will this fill me up? Is this an absolute must? Choosing to make my yeses full good yeses and saying no even when it’s hard. It is okay to say no because you need a night at home. It is okay to say no because you have errands to do. It is okay to not do everything.
4. Going technology-free
It isn’t an always thing, but I want at least an hour out of my day to be technology free. Whether this is reading, walking without my phone, cooking… whatever it is, take time away from technology and social media. I’m hoping to continue to increase this time, especially on weekends. We don’t know the long term effects of technology, but we are starting to see some short term effects and some aren’t pretty.
5. 10,000 steps
I got my fitbit in April and it has been a great tool. I notice such a change in my energy when I keep up my fitness level. A minimum of 10,000 steps 6/7 days a week is my goal. An attainable, challenging goal that helps to keep me healthy.
6. Daring to Dream
This is the most important to me. Somewhere along the way after bad relationships and failed dreams, I left dreaming behind. But the truth is, the heart needs to dream. The heart needs to acknowledge what it is it desires to do most. So I’m taking the chance to dream again, and not just dream, but dream big.
Some of these steps are harder than others, but they are all beneficial. As I sit here after truly putting these into practice for the last few weeks I feel great. I feel rested, I feel healthy, and I feel like myself. You can’t always control you health issues or diseases, but you can make the decisions to live the healthiest you can at that moment. It isn’t fun at every restaurant having to list of allergies and intolerance, but being up all night itching from hives and being extremely fatigued the next day is far worse. Choose to be healthy. Choose to chase out the end of 2015 as the healthiest you there can be right now.