Our Sundays, our weekends, our night’s off, our holy days are lost. Our bosses, co-workers, parents, kids, neighbors can find us at any time — day or night. More and more we feel like we’re permanently on call. With the increased speed of our life, we pull into marked off lanes, pick up paper bags and begin to ingest fat, calories, sodium, starch. We call it food, but it has little to no nutrition. Because we have no space in our lives, we express our emotions poorly, with no real understanding about what we feel. Surrounded by this fast pace world, we often confuse wellness with an absence of pain. Wellness is something far greater, far more exhilarating. Wellness is a constant dance of pushing past previous limits and breaking new ground. Wellness begins with paying attention to the little stuff — how we eat, how we listen to and take care of our body, how we process our feelings and contribute to the larger society.
Wellness isn’t about deprivation or, on the other end, perfection — it is about pointing ourselves in the direction of growth and taking small steps to support that shift. Whether you want to start drinking more water, release pent up emotion, or spend more time sitting quietly, consider using these four steps to move in that direction.
1) Digest information
2) Decide on a destination
3) Design a plan
4) Do something
For about a decade, I drank at least sixty-four ounces of Dr Pepper a day. I knew it was not fueling my mind, body or spirit. I was a full on addict and it was socially acceptable. I began to seek information — just listening and learning. What was in soda? How did that much sugar impact my organs? What would the long term result of that be? As I ingested the information about Dr Pepper undermining my health, I kept sucking down that refreshing taste of Dr Pepper. The education, the facts, the understanding was settling into my mind — somewhere. I decided I needed to successfully stop drinking DP. My intention, my goal, my target, my destination was improved health. I’d tried many times before to stop the Dr Pepper habit, which meant I knew what wasn’t going to work — recruiting my best friends as accountability partners. They just started showing up with iced down Dr Peppers for me when I’d asked them to help me stop. Declaring out loud every morning that I was no longer going to drink the stuff, only to find it in my hand by 10:30 AM. Not buying it at the grocery store. There’s a drive through every mile where friendly people are happy to pour me a DP. Obviously, it was time to try something different.
I partnered with an alternative medicine professional who could tell me about my own body and help me design a plan. I purposely did not tell her that I was a Dr Pepper addict. At my first visit, she explained that my liver, bladder, hormones, adrenal glands, thyroid were all in trouble, not to mention my alkaline balance. All of this before I turned 50. I started on a new vitamin regiment and introduced more lemon, yogurt, cinnamon, leafy greens and broccoli to my diet. Baby steps. I was taking baby steps toward health while still enjoying refreshing Dr Pepper every day. At some point, I started on a lemon juice concoction for a couple of weeks as a detox. While I was drinking that lemon juice recipe, Dr Pepper stopped tasting good. Having been off it for two weeks, I never picked it up again. Something about my wellness was shifting in my body and that impacted my mind (where at least part of the addiction exists). That was over two and a half years ago. After a decade of addiction, I’m still Dr. Pepper-free.
The more we adjust or shift — even in tiny ways — the more we can look forward to sweeping changes showing up in our lives. Cut one thing out of our diet, add 5 minutes of silence to our day, turn our attention for a moment toward kindness and before we know it we are creating a new world for ourselves.