Healthcare is not sickcare. Healthcare is what we do every day, to feed and nourish our body, mind, and soul. What we do every moment adds up. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. But living healthy does not have to be draconian or drastic. Try the 80/20 Rule.
Being healthy is way better than being sick but true health is not the absence of sickness and well-being and health are not synonymous.
Not to bash sickness (though who likes it, right?) – sickness provides great opportunities for growth, for connection, and for many reasons not always obvious.
Well-being is the foundation of living a life full of vitality, joy, adventure, abundance…The best time to foster and build our health is when we are well.
Why do some people resist getting on the wellness track? Here are three of the most common myths about being healthy.
① It is Expensive
Gym membership. Organic food. Juice fasts. Yoga. Therapy.
All health-promoting and yes, it can get costly but you don’t need to go full tilt on everything, all in one go, to BE healthy. The health and wellness industry is booming, filled with quick-fixes. You don’t have to buy anything and everything they are selling.
Simple and free can get you a long way. Price options do exist. The most important thing is doing what you can, every day. Focus on the easy and do-able that has the greatest impact. It’s not all-or-nothing.
We do not need fancy gyms or Lululemon gear. We can certainly choose it but it is not essential. Keeping up with the Joneses is definitely NOT a wellness principle. Instead of cardio machines, try walking – great for overall health and free. The Sun Salutation is easy to learn and this simple sequence can be done at home, the park or away on business trips. Gentle stretches keep the body limber. Squat more, instead of sit. All quite affordable!
In many cities, community centres offer great and wallet-friendly classes – yoga, Tai Chi, Meditation, etc. Try pay-what-you-can or by donation classes. Find them even in the #1 Most Expensive City of Singapore.
Does going 100% organic eat too big a hole in your budget? Focus on what you eat the most, and buy good quality. Even if you cannot afford to eat all organic, having more greens is a great start and a boon to your health. Wild edibles are great! What about daisy flowers and dandelion in your backyard?
Dedicated detox can be helpful. We can do even more with eating the “right” foods and keeping our systems light, unburdened by chemicals, plastic exposure, and other toxins. Our body does a pretty good job on its own. Try these tips.
And if you really need a retreat, what about a staycation? Or just clearing your calendar and doing absolutely nothing but what you love for a day or two at home? Yes, that would include a digital detox.
It is about perspective and choices. Just because something is “expensive” does not mean it is automatically better. Just because something is “cheap” or free does not mean it is crap. On the flip side, expecting only free things is not appreciating the value others offer or supporting them in continuing to bring what they bring to the table.
People have no qualms dropping thousands of dollars on Prada or Hermes bags and then balk at buying organic groceries. Or they splurge on chemical-laden perfumes and makeup because it is Chanel but won’t shell out similar dollars for organic makeup created by people trying to make products safer and the environment healthier.
Is living and being healthy expensive? What is the alternative? Sickcare and medical treatments cost much more. The price is not always in dollars but time loss, stress, grief, worry, pain…Being well, enjoying life, has no price tag. It is priceless.
② It Takes Time
Meditate. Exercise. Get thee to farmers’ markets. Prepare you own meals. Grow your own plants.
Are you already finding your day is chock-full? To the point where slipping in another event, even for 5 minutes, is Mission Impossible? Sit down and eat?? Slow cook real food? No fast food? Argh.
Is everyone pulling on you with this or that? Deadlines at work and chores at home? Screaming kids? The dog peeing on the carpet? And cupcakes to bake for the kids’ fundraiser? Or it’s exam time aka must-sit-and-supervise-kids time?
Ever wonder how people like the 4-hour-Man Tim Ferris do it? Is it because they focus on what is important to them? What is “urgent but not important” should not be our priority. What is “urgent and not important” is important to someone else, not you.
If your health is important then you would find the time. No matter what…or at least 80/20.
Some people start their day with a yoga class, a run, a green smoothie, a meditation session, or hanging out with family (because time spent with people you love and who love you is time well spent). They often schedule these activities first thing, not because they are worried time will slip away. They simply enjoy it. They understand starting the day right helps keep their day on track. By putting themselves first, they nourish their soul, fuel their body, and energize for what’s to come.
These activities contribute, rather than detract. They help focus the day in a more conscious and present way. Having a practice or ritual of wellness frees you to do what is important, instead of chasing your tail and pulling your hair out. Being caught in a time trap leaves you stressed, deflated, and bone-tired.
Unpacking your schedule opens up your day for health-boosting and meaningful life activities – sitting down and eating a proper meal. Taking the time to chew your food. Going to that yoga/art/meditation/dancing class. Remembering consciously to choose choice over conditioning. Not rushing helps place you in the present moment.
Time is a fluid, not linear, concept. Too often we are slaves to our schedule, rather than making it work. Health-promoting activities take time but they also have a built-in bonus of “expanding” time, including promoting longevity.
③ It is Boring + No Fun
Don’t smoke. Don’t eat red meat. Don’t drink milk. Don’t cook with sunflower oils. Don’t drink.
Anyone reading articles full of “don’ts” or getting advice that are restrictive would be turned off. It is 100% understandable why so many people think ignorance is bliss and they would rather (over)indulge. Plus the link between poor habits and poor health is not always so direct and obvious.
Why are there so many “don’ts”? Fear-based tactics have always worked. Survival is primal. Most people are easily threatened, or triggered. “Don’t” just seems to have that ring of urgency “do’s” do not. We have also been conditioned to trust the experts. We didn’t go to medical school, after all.
However, it is pretty important to understand the meaning behind the “don’ts” but live from the place of “do’s.” The motivations lie mostly in the desire to re-balance the world or at least re-balance the way we have lived and the way we have used science and technology. Pesticides, hormones, chemicals (and their unproven interactions), over processing, environmental impact, animal cruelty…
The best advice is use moderation. Take the middle way. Listen to your body. Enjoy life but heed its warnings. Nothing is static, including how we feed our body, nourish our minds, and nurture our emotions.
Restrictive dieting, for example, is not a lifestyle and cannot be sustained for any meaningful time, except for those with the strongest of wills. Sometimes fasting is helpful. Science seems to support immunity benefits from fasting. There is no one rule.
It is about making choices, choosing the best as we know it and doing the best as we know it.
Love wine? Go for organic/natural/biodynamic wines.
So sometimes what we need to do to bring our body back in balance may seem bland (drink more water; skip the coffee) and boring (go to bed by 10pm). Some are just good habits. Probably what’s even more boring and no fun is being laid out comatose or reeling from pain, because we’ve put our body out of commission by over-doing it. Whatever “it” is.
So are you ready to get/be/stay healthy? This state of being is built upon the choices we make. There are no rules. We can make it as cheap/expensive, as short/long, or as boring/fun as we want it to be. Bust through the myths, the social conditioning, and your mindset.