By Hannah Raiche
I think that everyone, whether they’d like to admit it or not, has gone through a time in their lives where the choices that they were making hindered their ability to be “well.” It is true that wellness can be defined in many different ways and can look different in practice from one person to the next, but it is that fluidity which allows each person to discover and create their own individualized wellness strategies and plans. I strongly believe that my own wellness journey is uniquely suited to promote “wellness” in the way that I define it, meaning that what works for me in maintaining wellness and a healthy lifestyle may not work for others. But, I have found that embarking on the adventure of defining what “wellness” means to you and incorporating wellness strategies that help you to meet your wellness goals is probably the most important (and fun) part of the your entire wellness journey! With that being said, I do want to share a bit about my own personal wellness journey in hopes that it will #InspireWellness in others.
Admittedly, I am still quite new to grasping the concept of individual/personal wellness. Growing up, I always understood wellness in terms of not eating a bunch of cookies or cake all the time and playing at least one sport per season for purpose of planned physical activity a few times a week. It is only in the last two years that I have begun to truly understand and appreciate the various dimensions of wellness and the intricacies that such an open-ended term, like “wellness,” can encompass. While I still find a great deal of value in being physically active and making healthy food choices that nourish and energize my mind and body, I now have a very different take on what personal wellness means to me both theory and in practice.
My most recent wellness journey was kick started about three years ago at a family holiday party when I presented a four year old with a box of jelly beans that I was simply regifting because I didn’t want to eat them but also didn’t want to be wasteful by throwing them away. When she opened the box to find that it was filled with jelly beans you would’ve thought that I had just given her a multi-million dollar winning lottery ticket. Honestly, to this day I still have never seen a happier glow in someone’s eyes or the type of genuine excitement and gratitude that this little girl showed over a relatively thoughtless gesture on my part. It was then and there that I realized that I had lost that spark of genuine happiness, excitement, and gratitude in my own life. I began wondering why I no longer felt that kind of spark about anything in my life and when that had happened. Although I never did find satisfactory answers to the ‘why’ and ‘when’ questions that filled my head, I realized that for years I had been going through the motions of life without truly feeling alive. From that silly jelly bean epiphany on, I promised myself that I was going to spend my life rediscovering and pursuing the things that make me feel passionately and genuinely happy, excited, and grateful.
That little four year old jelly bean lover is now an amazingly thoughtful, intelligent, witty (and devious) second grader and I can’t wait until she’s a old enough to fully comprehend the extent of the impact that she has had (and continues to have) on my personal wellness journey. Her authentic enthusiasm and energy inspired me to completely rethink the way that I was choosing to live my life. I could go on for pages and pages about the multitude of wellness benefits that come from staying active, well-hydrated, well-nourished, and well-rested, and all of those things do have an enormous influence on my day to day wellness, but, for me, rediscovering wellness was about shifting my frame of mind and adopting an attitude of gratitude. It’s not always easy to be grateful for everything that life throws at you (because it’s usually not a big box of jelly beans) and I certainly still have days when I struggle to see things as challenges and life experiences instead of barriers and obstacles; but actively choosing to prioritize my own wellness every day by pursuing the things that make me feel alive has made me feel more happiness and fulfillment then I could have ever imagined possible.
Thank you for taking the time out of your day to read about my wellness journey and I hope that is has helped to #InspireWellness in all of you the way that your energy and enthusiasm continues to inspire me!
And a little more about today’s bloggers favorite…
Place: White Mountains of Northern New Hampshire
Book: The Giver
Movie: Harry Potter and the Socerer’s Stone (on a cool Sunday in October with hot cider)
Vacation Place: Cocoa Beach, Florida