Living beyond extremes: A holistic approach to health

By ANNA LAUDIERO

We live in a world of extremes that idolizes our culture of eating healthy and feeling attractive, but what for? The way I see it, we are the daughters of a king, and because of that we are called to be our best both inside and out. Our spiritual, mental and physical health are all involved in attaining this holistic lifestyle. Listed below are some of the ways I am approaching this, and I hope they help you do the same.

SPIRITUAL

Our relationship with the most important person in our life, God, should be our number one priority. The world offers us temporal pleasures, but those aren’t our goals; our goal is to spend eternity with God in heaven. Therefore, our lives should be focused on growing closer to him in everything we do.

Some ways for us to spiritually strive could be starting the day with a simple morning offering, making small sacrifices daily for special intentions, meditating on a few bible verses or reading a spiritual book, attending daily mass (20-30 minutes) or stopping by a chapel for a visit. These will help us be better apostles and grow closer to our heavenly Father, the source of our strength.

MENTAL

Whether it’s working overtime or just meeting our daily obligations, we are all busy and need to make ourselves say no more often. Once we say no, we open up time to fully rest, which is a necessary good. Sometimes, forcing ourselves to relax can be harder than it sounds, but overall this will benefit us spiritually, physically and mentally. Our time of leisure can even be offered up to God.

Ideas for downtime could be getting off social media and using the time to journal, taking a short nap, reading, catching up with a friend over the phone, going to a museum or on a hike, thrifting, cooking a delicious meal or getting a manicure. Whether our relaxing is something active or as simple as sitting on your porch, we should focus on being intentional with this time. If we are obsessed with being busy, we will eventually experience burnout. It’s better to develop habits of relaxation or over exhaustion will happen. Time is a gift from God and we are expected to use it wisely, so be intentional and make room for downtime in your life. You won’t regret it.

PHYSICAL

When I hear people say, “My body is a temple of the Holy Spirit,” I want to tell them “So, treat your body that way.” Our bodies are a gift and, therefore, should be respected and treated as such.

In a world full of workout classes, running groups, parks, at-home videos, sports leagues, etc., we have no excuse not to schedule at least one hour a week for some type of physical activity. It can be as simple as walking while praying the Rosary, running with a friend or joining a sports league. I work out in the mornings because I am exhausted after work and will not be motivated as much. Although our lives are busy, prioritizing exercise time will not only benefit us when we’re older, but it will also improve our mental and spiritual lives, leading to an overall healthier version of ourselves.

RECAP

Hopefully, you’ve gathered how this holistic lifestyle is worth investing in for your own benefit. But there is one more bonus: It will make you healthier for others. We are all in different stages of our lives, which means we can’t necessarily prioritize everything mentioned above. But if you make the effort to take care of your own health, you will be a better friend, sister, daughter, wife or mother to the people in your life who deserve it. We’ve all been given talents and will be expected to give an accounting of what we did with them, so as St. Catherine of Siena said, “Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.” Now get started; your life is worth living.