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The Whole Health Wheel

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When we talk about our health, nutrition and exercise get all the glory. However, whole health encompasses much more than just what you eat and how you move. It includes hydration, sleep, connection, and purpose. When we aren’t nurturing these other parts of health, confusing symptoms can pop up.  They include:

  • Trouble staying on track or failure to follow-through
  • Exhaustion or apathy
  • Plateaus or not seeing results
  • Emotional eating or drinking

In some cases, our desire to focus on one can take away from another.  For instance, wanting to eat healthier so avoiding social eating with friends or wanting to exercise so sacrificing sleep.

If any of those sound familiar, it is worth taking a minute to consider if any of the other pieces of the whole might need some attention.

This is especially useful when we want to feel better but are feeling a little beat down after an exhausting year. If this applies to you, I would resist the urge to tackle all of this at once.  I would also try not to think of it as another task on your to-do list. Instead, I would ask yourself which piece needs the most love and what is one small thing you can add to support it.

Here are some examples:

Nutrition

With nutrition, focus on addition not subtraction. How can you add good nutrition rather than cutting things out?

  • Add vegetables at 2 meals per day
  • Add a healthy afternoon snack

Hydration

  • Add 16 oz. of water when you first wake up
  • Shoot for at least 2 L of water each day
  • Add an electrolyte drink

Sleep

  • Add a magnesium supplement prior to bed
  • Add 30 minutes of screen free time prior to bed

Movement

The main goal of movement is to build from where you are.

  • Add an additional 1000 steps per day
  • Add 20 minutes of stretching while watching tv

Connection

Connection can be reaching to others and community if you are lonely or feeling isolated. It can also be reconnecting with yourself if your day is revolved around meeting everyone else’s needs.

  • Make a list of friends you haven’t talked to and call one each week
  • Add 10 minutes of mindfulness or alone time.

Purpose

Purpose is especially important right now because so many things that show progress or accomplishment are absent. So, in this case, purpose can be big and relate to your purpose in life, or it can be tracking habits or wins to remind yourself that you are moving forward.

Again, the idea of this is not to tackle all of these at once – I can hear the wheels churning in the brains of my Type A’s!  The goal is not to run you into the ground even more, it is to help regain your energy and start to build momentum.  Instead, pick one piece of the whole and one small thing you can do to support it.

And if you are struggling with the connection piece, you can always connect with meNever hesitate to reach out if you are feeling alone and need a friend. It’s a hard and unusual holiday season for all of us and I truly believe that we are better together.  I promise that I won’t only talk about vegetables…I can’t make that promise about magnesium.

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