Lets begin by answering the question “What is Wellness???”
Wellness means taking a positive and holistic approach to our health. Realizing that body , mind and spirit are interconnected and everything that we do, feel, think and believe has an impact on our well-being.
There is no quick fix to finding wellness and the path to wellness is unique to each individual. I haven’t always lived the Wellness way. In fact, it wasn’t until two years ago that I gave my life a big shake up.
Both of my sisters moved abroad within a couple of years of each other. The three of us were very close growing up, so when my second sister made the move I felt a very big void in my life. I missed them terribly. I listened to the details of their new lives, where they lived and and the exciting new things that they were doing abroad and I felt that I was missing out on something. I had quit my job and was unsure about my next step but I knew that I needed a change. My second sister moving away was the trigger for me. I began to realize that I was not content in my life.
I convinced myself that I wasn’t happy because I lived in Ireland, and if I lived abroad I would be much happier. That summer I visited my other sister in Vancouver, Canada and I fell in love with the place. Anyone who has visited Vancouver will tell you that it is a wonderful city and is right on the beach. We went hiking, went to plays, art galleries, yoga, had dinner on the beach; it was fantastic – a fabulous lifestyle. My tunnel vision led me to believe that this was the place that I should live as I didn’t have anything like this at home. (In reality, I could do all of this at home!)I went so far as to research relocating there and what the visa process entailed.
You can imagine my husband’s shock when I suggested that we move there and that I wouldn’t be happy until we did. His unwillingness to move put the brakes on my dreams of life in Vancouver and I had to stop and reevaluate what exactly it was that I wanted. Was I really that unhappy in the life that I had created for myself?
I started to attend some Life Coaching sessions and I have to say that this was my saving grace. The sessions and the homework I was given forced me to look at myself, to focus on what I really wanted. The more I did this, the more I realized that I had not been true to myself for a long time. I looked back to teenage Amy and her hopes, beliefs and aspirations. Teenage Amy was a singer. She loved art, painting and poetry. Anything that gave her a creative outlet made her happy. She also meditated and and wanted to travel, to see the world and to help people.
It dawned on me that I somehow lost this person somewhere along the way, I had focused for so long on the material things in life – house, car, money, job – that I suppressed the creative, emotional and spiritual parts of myself. I started to re-introduce creativity into my life by painting, singing, taking up running and returning to meditation. These hobbies brought back my awareness of the connection of body, mind and spirit and how everything that I did, the thoughts that I put out, had an impact on my daily life and my overall well-being. Slowly, I began to notice a difference in myself: I was smiling more, I was more engaged in daily activities, I enjoyed work… Was I happy? Yes, and I was happy in Ireland!!
My happiness was not a product of my location on the planet it was not my husband’s fault for not moving to Vancouver with me. My happiness was mine alone to take charge of. Once I took the power back into my own hands, I found myself on the path to wellness and I have never been happier.
During my life coaching sessions one of the “homework” exercises that helped me the most was the “Postcard to my Future Self”. I had to write a postcard to myself either two, three or five years into the future to tell myself what I had achieved, and what I had been doing. I will admit that this was not very easy for me and it took me almost two months to complete this postcard. I spent a lot of time thinking of what would make me happy, trying to think of specific things. A few years ago I would have written: “You have a great job a nice car, tons of money”, etc.
As I came to understand that I was already finding happiness with the changes I had made, for me the answer was to continue with this and to not let material life determine my happiness.
I started with: “You only do things that make you happy”…
I encourage you to take a look within and to write your own Postcard to Your Future Self. Looking inside is not easy, but listening to yourself is liberating.
This journey has led me to truly see the value of taking a holistic approach to my health and well being. I must look after my body through nutrition and exercise, my mind through meditation and creativity, and my spirit by no longer denying who I am.
I can’t wait to hear about your Postcard to You Future Self, and what you learned while writing it.