A letter about health and happiness
As we come to the end of January, it is a good time to reflect on how the month has gone for you. If you set intentions to build healthy new habits this year, how has the first month gone for you? What felt easy? What was harder than expected? What did you learn about yourself?
Health for me needs to be approached holistically. I try to look after myself physically, mentally, and spiritually. If I feel in balance with all these things, I know I am OK.
I used to measure myself on how much I weighed. My self-worth coming from the feedback I got on the scales in the morning. Just writing that fills me with a spiritual heaviness. When I have been at my lowest weight, I have also been at my lowest ebb mentally. I look back at old photos where I had hit that goal weight and I see no muscle tone and no light in my eyes. I remember when I came to the end of my drinking years, I used to stare into my eyes in the mirror searching for me, a person I could no longer see.
Now I focus on how I feel. What I have found is that no matter what I do, what I eat or do not eat, my body returns to a base point that it seems happy at, and my best approach is to treat this vessel that I am in with as much love and respect as I can, so that it continues to carry me through life. I am so grateful for it and what it does for me. The main thing being it keeps me here in this spiritual plane so I can love the people I love.
In this newsletter, I thought it might be helpful to share what I do to keep myself healthy.
I strength train. As I said, my weight stays around the same place, so I no longer focus on weight, I focus on how I feel in my body. If I feel strong in my body, I feel strong in mind and spirit. I look better in my clothes, I feel more comfortable, and I am happier. In this podcast, Andy Galpin talks about how the very best thing you can do as you age is strength training. I go to Rock Health and Fitness because Lisa and her team know this better than anyone else, I know, and I trust them 100% with my physical health.
I walk, as much as I can – aiming for a minimum of 12k steps per day on average. I try to do 84k plus a week—more in the lighter months. I prefer to learn as I walk. I think if I tried to listen to a podcast or an audiobook while sitting down, I would fall asleep. I also enjoy the chats with the people I meet along the way. Andrew Huberman says it is important to get morning sunlight in your eyes within an hour of waking to set your circadian rhythm.
Also, if you want to learn more about communing with nature I highly recommend watching Fantastic Fungi on Netflix.
I just picked up an old notebook to find some paper to write a shopping list on and I saw that my first note in it says: Benefits of walking for me – 1. Addresses the urge to run away. Looking through this notebook it is from 2021 – I am grateful for how far I have come in the last year or more. I no longer want to run away from my own life. I love my life.
Walking looks after my mental health as well as my physical health.
For my spiritual health, I have spoken before about following the twelve steps and you can find more about this in the blog section of my website.
I also meditate every day, twice a day. I have let go of whether I am ‘doing this right’. I don’t sit in the lotus position, and I don’t feel very ‘zen’. But I listen to a guided meditation on waking and as I go to sleep, and I add in more if I can. What I have realised is that it’s not about sitting in meditation for 10 minutes and more about being mindful and present. Sam Harris calls it ‘Waking Up’, and I am still getting there. I subscribe to Insight Timer as it has thousands of meditations on there, and it is an ongoing practice for me, a process that ebbs and flows.
I could go deeper into each subject, but that is top-line what I do daily, what my rituals look like and how I stay sane in this increasingly crazy world we live in.