What's your current health story?
Arriving in mid and later life, we all have a set of conscious and unconscious beliefs about our health and what it means to “live the good life.” Whether you’re at the beginning of your journey into wellness and longevity or you’ve been at it for years now, it can be helpful to take time to check in and take inventory of where you are.
In the process of writing and sharing your ideas, you will find different habits, insights, bits of inspiration, and practical strategies that speak to your needs and personalities.
What practices do you have in place now to improve your health and your body? This includes activities such as movement, eating well, and having good sleep hygiene. How much time do you spend on these activities?
Name the ways you stay in tune with the condition of your body. Do you take your blood pressure, check your blood sugar, or journal about how you feel each day?
Sit with your eyes closed and ask yourself a simple question: What is giving me pain or discomfort? Give your body permission to tell you all the areas that are affected. Wait for each area to report in as you mentally scan your body, then write them down one by one. You will be shocked by what you may not have been fully conscious of before.
What kinds of foods make your body react negatively, and what is the specific reaction? For example, dairy might make you feel nauseated, or you may feel tired after you eat something full of added sugar like pancakes with syrup.
How much time do you spend eating each meal? Think about what might be the same or different for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
List the ways you get natural movement in your day, and estimate how many of these steps make up your daily step total. This includes household chores, walking around the grocery store or at work, or working in the garden.
How do you work on your balance, and how often do you do it? For example, do you practice yoga, tai chi, or standing on one foot while brushing your teeth?
Do you sleep well? Describe your nightly routine during the two hours before you go to bed. Rapid eye movement (REM) and deep sleep should be about 1.5 hours or more of your total night's sleep.
How is your bedroom conducive to a good night's sleep? Do you have bedding that is comfortable, is the temperature of the room cool at night, and is it quiet?
How many close relationships do you have? How do you nurture them? See if you can name three people other than your spouse.
How do you describe your life purpose? There is no wrong answer, but it should be something that would get you up every morning and let you know you are needed. Examples include playing with your grandkids three days a week, working on an environmental or political cause, or spreading the word about a subject you care about.
It’s easy to be focused and interested in future progress and goals than here in the now. That enthusiasm is great, but being able to archive your current state will be a massive help when it comes time to look at your overall progress down the line. By reflecting, we can grow. By knowing where we started and having tools to measure progress, we can feel confident about our future success.