“Does this spark joy?” – Marie Kondo
For the past 6 months of my life, I have been working hard to become “healthy”. That is such a broad statement so let me break it down. I have been working to identify unhealthy people, situations and emotions, and then rectify them by either saying goodbye or trying to change my position in them. This has come about through a lot of soul searching and hard looks at myself, but also through weekly therapy sessions.
How can one word mean so many things? You have your own health: Physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Then you have the health outside of yourself like with your relationships. And eventually you get down to the health of your environments like work and home. But if so many things can be healthy, that means that they can also become unhealthy.
I have been able to take the time to do this because I don’t have a demanding career, or rent, or a relationship to think about. Everything I’m doing in my life right now is for myself and my health. That’s not to say it’s easy. Being 22 and making “healthy” choices doesn’t always feel very fun; in reality it makes me feel alienated from my peers quite a bit.
I also understand that this kind of deep dive into the psyche is not exactly a luxury everyone can afford. But to me, it’s a necessary one. If you too have been feeling like you keep doing things and making decisions in a circle– going nowhere but feeling exhausted at the same time–it may be time to start doing some self-discovery. Bellow I’ve listed a few things I’ve learned that have helped me on my journey of health that maybe you can incorporate in your own life:
- Talk about it: I always highly encourage therapy, there are cheap but still amazing and effective therapists out there. Look at it this way, would you really let an hour a week or even every other week stand between you and the life you actually want to be living?
- Hobbies: We are a society of hard workers and overachievers. That normally leaves little room for things that bring us joy but not monetary value. Personally, I love to paint. I never want to be an artist, but spending a few hours a week painting makes me feel so refreshed. Finding something you love to do, that you don’t have to worry about making you any money is so important. Even if it’s just once a week
- Self-Evaluation: You know yourself better than anyone. Taking the time to really listen to how you’re feeling about a certain person, or environment, or situation is the first big step towards health. No one person, or thing should ever have enough power to be able to ruin your whole day. If someone is making you feel bad about yourself everytime you’re around them, it might be time to let go of that relationship. It’s never too late to get out; never forget that
- Write it Out: You don’t have to be a writer to harness the power of writing. Even if it’s just in list form, or in mind-mapping form; it doesn’t have to be pretty or make sense to anyone, but you. Getting the thoughts and emotions of the day out of your head and onto paper may help you start to see patterns that you want to change. And it will leave that much more room in your mind for good things to roll around.
- Be kind to yourself: The most important step in any journey is the first one. Learning to have mercy on yourself is the first step on a health journey. You may start to really see some of your thought processes and decisions in a harsh, new light. That’s ok, it’s all part of it. But don’t let the subsequent guilt and disappointment in yourself stop you from moving forward. Be grateful that those patterns have been revealed so that you can change them. Not everyone gets the chance to become a healthy person.
Everyone’s journey is different. Mine happened to start at 22, some people start at 30 or 40 or even 60. It’s never too late to change things in your life for the better. And if you ever feel lost or alone or maybe like you don’t even know who you are anymore without the crutches of unhealthy people and decisions, know that I’m right here with you; just figuring it out, one day at a time.