Holistic Health: Evaluate Your Habits & Their Affect on Overall Wellbeing
With May being Melanoma Awareness Month, the Tri Sirena team and I have been talking about how we protect our skin from the sun—and also about other habits we keep (and wish we kept!!) for our health. As athletes, we tend to focus on diet and exercise; but if you think about it, there’s so much more we do to enhance overall wellbeing!
I wanted to capture a more holistic picture of health, so I made up a little self-quiz you can try:
The invitation is to consider this number not as a quantification of who you are, but instead as a way to bring in a little self-awareness so you can decide if you want to do anything differently.
Is my number about what I expected? In what areas am I low—and in what areas am I high? Am I comfortable with the results, or are there things I’d like to focus on changing?
There are many ways to change our habits—but it is work, we wouldn’t call them “habits” if they were fluid and easy to change! A couple methods I’ve seen succeed:
- Pick one habit you want to take on, and focus on it for a full month. Earlier this year, I did a month where I focused only on not using my cell phone while doing other things. Until I started this little cell phone cleanse, I didn’t realize how much I was on my phone while I was eating a meal, at a stoplight, or even just brushing my teeth! I’ve slowly sloughed back on the poor habits since the cleanse, but just doing the full renunciation was incredibly helpful in making me self-aware. And I am better about it now than I was before! So maybe you pick “sunscreen” for one month, and then the next month you pick “mobility.” It’s only a month, you can try something new for just a month!
- Try a two or three week complete cleanse. This is kinda the opposite approach: you pick a whole menu of health habits and stick with them for a shorter period of time. In my yoga teacher training, we did a “quantum cleanse” where we cut out caffeine, gluten, animal products, sugar, and alcohol for three weeks. Sometimes a sudden boost to the system can improve how you feel so dramatically that it will motivate you to keep up at least some of what you’ve done for the long-term. If you do feel better, you can also try bringing back just one thing at a time to help isolate what it is that makes you feel worse. Many people, for example, have a sensitivity to gluten and/or to dairy: cutting both out, seeing if you feel better, and then bringing back in one at a time can help you isolate the connections between what you eat and how you feel.
In either case, it’s important to try something for long enough so you can experience the impact. Eating a big salad for lunch just one day might seem like a lot of work, and with no benefit; but if you can do that every day for a month, you may indeed discover a benefit. Or not. There’s no such thing as a good result or a bad result—just collect the data and move on.
As a friend once said to me, “Try something different to feel something different.” There’s a lot of wisdom in that simple statement.
How do you perceive your health? What’s been easy for you and what’s been a struggle? Any comments or questions you’d like to post below, I’ll be sure to answer!
Written by Kyra Wiens, Tri Sirena Professional Triathlete, Multi-Sport Coach & Yoga Instructor
Follow Kyra on Instagram! @kyrawiens