2021 is the year of focusing on my health. Which, when put like that, sounds kind of boring. But honestly, I’m excited.
I wouldn’t say I’ve ever neglected my wellbeing, unless you consider neglect to be convincing my mum that a dentist appointment doesn’t have to be every six months. But it hasn’t been much of a priority, either.
Last year I started seeing a doctor I like, which felt like the first big step into adulthood. A good eight months later and I’ve got a regular dentist too, who has seen more of me than either of us want because, well, sometimes there’s more work to be done than you expect. (Probably a metaphor in there somewhere.)
I don’t think I’ll ever be someone who loves going to the gym, but I do want a higher level of fitness than where I currently am. The older I get, the more I want to run. I want to run and not turn to jelly after five minutes. I like the thought of walking more, of being able to carry myself longer distances than I currently do. So what’s stopping me? What’s stopping me from being someone who runs and is good at it?
Interestingly, it was in a quiet time with God towards the end of last year that I first felt the nudge to focus more intentionally on my health. For, if my body is a dwelling place of the Holy Spirit, and if God has given me this body, why wouldn’t I treat it with respect?
Like most things, I haven’t quite grasped the balance. I want to be disciplined and run more, but I don’t want to do it out of guilt or with bad intentions (for instance, to get skinny – I don’t want to be thinking like that).
To help ‘combat’ this, I’ve decided that I’m not going to force myself to walk or run every day. I’ve dropped down my hours at work due to full-time uni starting back up again in a month, which gives me a clear schedule. I won’t exercise on the days I work, and I won’t feel bad about having those evenings to rest. But on the days I don’t work, I want to go out into the fresh air and walk, or run (no pressure), which will make a nice study break, anyway. I won’t want to be sitting at my laptop all day. (Though yes, I definitely do that sometimes and no, it’s not that difficult to achieve.)
But focusing on my health is more than just exercise. As I said before, I have a doctor and a dentist and while I don’t enjoy going to these appointments (or paying for these appointments), I always feel better after I’ve gone. And now I have people I can go to if I feel like something isn’t right.
It’s also about what I put into my body, what I consume. I love cooking (if I’m in the mood) and am looking forward to trying out new recipes filled with healthy goodness (but don’t question me on what that goodness is, because I’m not quite sure yet). But I’m also becoming more aware of the media I consume and how that affects me.
When I used to wake up, the first thing I did was check my phone. And I can justify that I wasn’t looking at anything ‘bad’, but recently I’ve let my first hour-or-so of the day be screen free, and it has made a noticeable difference to my mood. I didn’t realise at the time, but it was affecting my entire day.
I now enjoy waking up slowly, saying hello to the sunshine, and pouring myself a cup of tea without anything on my mind. I think that’s the thing – you don’t have be looking at anything ‘bad’ on your phone, but it is filling your mind with an overload of information to process. I like the peace that comes with a quiet morning, small moments. The other day my phone randomly stopped working, so I took it in to be fixed. I gave it over in the morning and couldn’t pick it up until five. It was one of the weirdest things, to not be able to check my phone. But once I got over the initial what-if-something-happens-and-I’m-not-contactable, I found myself able to concentrate on my day because I wasn’t looking at my phone every twenty minutes. Yes, it was an expensive lesson to learn. But it tied in neatly with my health-intentions, which is exciting! I’m excited! I’m excited to write lots of blog posts about my strange running adventures! I’m excited to feel better! I’m excited for 2021 even though it’s been 2021 for 23 days, which doesn’t feel real by the way. Where did the month go?
Anyway, I’m getting off-track. Point is, I want to be healthier. For myself, for Jesus, and for others, too.