Your Health And Well-Being (4 Benefits to Making Wellness Your Priority)
August 17, 2023
In my year-end review for 2022, I reflected on the challenges of the end of last year. On October 7, EMTs entered our home, responding to seizure activity from me. I spent several hours in the emergency room.
A few days later, I met with a neurologist and started navigating life with physical pain, a decrease in physical energy and mental clarity, and a medical driving restriction. Over time, my health progressed well; I was mostly back to my normal activities. On December 12, EMTs again entered our home, responding to another seizure event. Once again, I ended up in the emergency room, and within a couple of days, I again conversed with my neurologist. This time, she offered a diagnosis of epilepsy and prescribed anti-seizure medication.
Both of these events changed me physically and mentally. I navigated severe back pain, my mental clarity diminished, and my energy level decreased.
My holiday season with my wife was changed as I tried to understand the ramifications of the changes in my health and what my diagnosis meant for me as I retired from the military. My career ended differently than I had envisioned it ending.
Throughout the beginning of 2023 and my March transition out of the military, I learned the importance of prioritizing my wellness. Over the last several months, I have enjoyed the benefits I write about below as I have “gone back to the basics” and prioritized my wellness.
In today's fast-paced world, getting caught up in the demands of work, family, and other obligations is easy. Prioritizing your health and well-being will lead to a fulfilling and happy life. It is a common misconception among leaders that self-care is an indulgence.
Instead, it is fundamentally necessary for a healthy lifestyle and essential to your leadership. In this blog post, I explore why self-care must be your top priority, four ways self-care benefits your life, and best practices to build on each benefit.
Improved Physical Health
Regular exercise, a balanced diet, and proper sleep are essential to keep your body healthy and fit.
Regular exercise of at least 30 minutes most days of the week, improves your mood and reduces stress levels, leading to a better overall sense of well-being.
Exercise releases endorphins, known as the "feel-good" hormones, reducing feelings of anxiety and depression. Regular exercise lowers your risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. It helps to control blood pressure and cholesterol levels, build stronger bones and muscles, and increase endurance and flexibility. Exercise provides a sense of accomplishment and boosts self-confidence, which can contribute to a positive outlook on life. A healthy body is a foundation for a healthy mind.
Exercise is just one piece of the puzzle regarding physical health. A balanced and nutritious diet is also critical for maintaining good health. A healthy diet should include a variety of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. These foods provide essential vitamins and minerals that support bodily functions and promote optimal health. A healthy diet can help to maintain a healthy weight and reduce the risk of chronic diseases.
Proper sleep is also essential for physical health and is necessary for the body to rest and rejuvenate. It is recommended that adults aim for seven to nine hours of sleep each night to promote optimal health. Quality sleep has been linked to a reduced risk of chronic diseases, improved cognitive function, and better overall well-being.
Taking care of your physical health is crucial for maintaining a high quality of life. Committing to prioritizing your physical health will lead to a healthier life.
Better Mental Health
Mental health is often overlooked. It is as important as physical health. Prioritizing your mental well-being will help you manage stress and anxiety, improve your mood, and increase your happiness. Various factors, including genetics, environmental factors, and life events, can cause mental health issues. It is essential to recognize the importance of mental health and take steps to maintain good mental health.
One of the most effective ways to improve your mental well-being is through mindfulness. Mindfulness techniques help you focus on the present moment, which can help you develop a sense of calmness and clarity. Mindfulness practices such as silence and quiet reflection can help you be more aware of your thoughts and feelings, helping you manage stress and anxiety.
Regularly practicing these techniques can improve mental health, including better mood, reduced pressure, and happiness.
Spending time in nature promotes good mental health. Nature is an excellent source of therapy, and spending time outdoors can create joy in your life. Nature provides a calm and peaceful environment and helps reduce stress, improve mood, and increase creativity and productivity. Exposure to nature improves mood, lessens anxiety, and overall mental health.
Self-care practices can help promote good mental health. It is also essential to seek professional help when needed.
Mental health professionals (professional counselors and medical doctors) can provide therapies and treatments tailored to your needs. Therapy can help you better understand your thoughts and feelings, manage stress and anxiety, and improve relationships. Seeking professional help is essential if you are experiencing symptoms of depression, anxiety, or any other mental health concern.
Prioritizing your mental health will help you enjoy a more fulfilling and enjoyable life.
Prioritizing your health and well-being is beneficial not only for your physical and mental health but also for your productivity and success. When you take care of yourself, you are better equipped to handle the challenges that come with daily life. One of the critical benefits of self-care is the improvement in focus and concentration, which can lead to increased productivity at work and in your personal life.
When you set aside time for self-care, you allow yourself to recharge your batteries and reduce stress. Self-care practices like exercise, meditation, and socializing are excellent ways to help you feel more present and focused, reducing distractions and increasing productivity. Exercise, for example, can help increase blood flow to the brain, improving cognitive function and your ability to focus.
I mentioned mindfulness practices above. In addition to their mental health benefits, they help improve focus and concentration. These practices help you to focus on the present moment, develop a sense of calmness, and achieve mental clarity. Regularly practicing mindfulness can train your brain to be more focused and present, which can help you be more productive and efficient in your work and personal life.
Socializing is another essential aspect of self-care that can help boost productivity. Spending time with loved ones can help reduce stress levels and promote a sense of belonging, improving mood and increasing happiness. Building solid relationships with those around you can improve communication skills and teamwork, enhancing your productivity and success in your personal and professional life.
Investing time in self-care helps you establish healthy habits and achieve your goals. By setting aside time for self-care, you are committing to yourself and your health, which enables you to prioritize your goals and progress toward them. This leads to a greater sense of accomplishment and satisfaction in your life.
By investing time in yourself, you can approach daily challenges with a clear and motivated mind, leading to increased productivity and a greater sense of accomplishment. Taking care of yourself is not selfish - it's necessary for achieving your goals and living your best life.
The above three benefits lead to a fourth benefit you may not have considered: Improved relationships.
When you prioritize your physical and mental health and practice effective self-care, you become better equipped to tackle the stress and demands of life, and you improve your focus and concentration, increasing productivity at work and in your personal life. The lowered amount of stress in your life and your improved productivity leave more time for building effective and meaningful relationships.
When you take care of yourself, you develop a sense of self-awareness and emotional intelligence. You become more aware of your needs and boundaries and communicate them better with others. You build stronger relationships, develop empathy, and positively impact social interactions.
Increased quality and quantity of time with loved ones can help reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness, improving mood and increasing happiness. Connecting with others helps improve communication skills and build stronger relationships, improving productivity and reducing stress levels.
The improvement in your relationships (personal and professional) make an effort toward prioritizing well-being worth the effort.
Prioritizing your health and well-being is crucial for living a happy and fulfilling life. By taking care of your physical and mental health, you are better equipped to handle the challenges of daily life, increase your productivity, and improve your relationships.
Setting aside time for self-care and investing in yourself always brings added value to your life. Don't neglect your wellness. It is the most important thing you can do for those in your world.
Call to Action
Commit to prioritizing your health and well-being by picking one self-care activity to add to your daily routine and communicating it to someone (I’m happy to have you share your commitment with me on LinkedIn).
Whether taking a walk in nature, trying a new healthy recipe, or slowing down to make more time for relationships, investing in your health and happiness must be a priority.
Remember, self-care is not a luxury; it is a necessity.