Wellness is a word that has been thrown around lately, especially in the last 20-plus years. Many are said to be practicing wellness and living a life of wellness.
We first need to define what the word “wellness” actually means. Wellness is defined as “the quality or state of being in a good health, especially as an active-sought goal.” Another definition of wellness is “the act of practicing healthy habits on a daily basis to attain better physical and mental health outcomes.”
Both of these definitions are great when it comes to speaking of wellness and how we should look at our lives. A very critical element, though, is missing from that definition. For me, that element is the spiritual aspect. Faith has been the most pivotal point of wellness in my life and will remain the focal point.
Overall, wellness involves leaning towards goals that you set for yourself – either written or ones you hold within your heart. As a personal trainer, coach, boxing coach, and life coach, wellness is something that I constantly encourage those around me to not just seek but become. Many ask me what that looks like and to some it can look like a list of do’s and don’ts, but at its core the disciplines and things I do are set to help me get to a desired outcome.
One of the first things I strive to do each day on my journey of wellness is to connect, and more specifically connect with the source of my faith, and that is God through Christ Jesus. I wish that I could say that I do this perfectly and correctly each day, but what fun would that be on this amazing journey of growth that God has each of us on? Each day I strive to read scripture and have quiet time to connect with God so that I may better understand Him and understand myself and where I need to surrender more to His will for my life. My time in God’s word allows me to open my heart, mind, and spirit to God’s point of view of life for myself first and for those around me.
The next wellness connection I try to make is with my wife. Some, but not all mornings, we are allotted time to do devotionals and have a cup of coffee together. By connecting with her, I get to see where God has transformed and is transforming her heart as well. I also get to see where He is telling me to be present in her life and better understand her needs. Establishing a foundation of Christ in our home is very important for us and generations to come. This time allows us to set that tone early in the day, along with navigating issues that we are both seeking to grow individually and together.
Exercise is another extremely important part of my day when it comes to living a life of wellness. Movement, when done correctly, aids in so many areas of life – from cardiovascular health, stronger muscles, denser bones, and better mental health. Daily exercise, for both men and women, helps aid hormone support, which is extremely important as we age. It is one of the best outlets we can have to help manage our mental health and emotions.
Another aspect of wellness is connecting with my community. This is something that looks different each and every day. As a coach, I have the pleasure of coaching many individuals. It is so beneficial when I get a chance to connect on more than just their physical journey but their journey in life. I think community connections are an underutilized part of our lives, especially for those who go to work simply for a check and not for purpose. Each day we should strive, in some way, to serve the community around us.
Nutrition is a huge part of daily wellness goals. We cannot always avoid illness, but by eating a healthy diet and putting the right levels of nutrition into our bodies, we can reduce our chances of developing certain diseases.
For example, I try not to eat massive amounts of sugar, which can be difficult since it is in so many of our foods.
Eighty-percent of the time, I try to stick to lean proteins like steak, chicken, and fish, and then I add lots of nutrient-dense vegetables and fruits. But life is all about balance, so when it comes to diet and nutrition, I absolutely enjoy all the things of indulgence; I just try not to over indulge.
With my clients, I help them understand consistency. If 80% of the time they are meeting their fitness and nutrition goals, they should feel good about eating that cookie or having that ice cream. They can embrace those moments with friends, kids, family, and community and connect around food and fellowship.
Lastly, rest is essential for living a healthy, wellness-focused lifestyle. It is important to note: sleep and rest are not the same thing. Sleeping should be restful, but in many instances of our lives it is not. Yet, rest is so essential.
Over the years, I have grown to understand that active rest works best for me. Active rest involves, for example, reading to decompress the mind; stretching to relax the body instead of super intense activities; and, light hiking and being outside to assist the body and mind recover. You are still doing things and moving but not with the full intention of exerting yourself.
Also, by actively resting in God, I am renewed, able to better serve those around me, and able to embrace who God says that I am.
True wellness is about connections made in several areas of life so that – as is written in Psalm 23 – your cup may “runneth over.”