Previously on my introductory post, I mentioned that this blog is going to be about my pursuit of a healthy lifestyle. When I said that, I am sure many of you have the impression that this blog is going to be filled with green juice recipes, workout routines, photos of me doing yoga poses in different parts of the world and other fitness-related posts. Yes, those things are very likely to be in my blog, but they are not all. Because to me, being healthy is not just about maintaining physical health.
The definition of “health” according to World Health Organization is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. I learned about this definition when I was taking a course in Health Psychology and it was quite an “AHA!” moment to me. I had always thought of health from only the physical aspect and I am sure many of you do too. I mean, it is not our fault since every healthy lifestyle poster or magazine cover consists of either people in workout gears or fruits and vegetables right? (Don’t believe me? Just google “healthy” or “healthy lifestyle” and click on the image tab, you’ll know what I mean!)
I think it is very important to understand that “being healthy” also means being mentally healthy and socially active. Think of the 3 aspects: physical, mental and social being a vicious cycle, that without one, the others will not be achieved easily. A true healthy lifestyle is one that has the perfect balance between all of them.
I started leading a lifestyle that focuses a lot on my physical well-being about two years ago. I am very privileged in a way that Vancouver is a place that emphasizes a lot on physical well-being. I have free access to gym in university and there are so many healthy-eating food places around the city. I was influenced by the community and man, that’s the best thing that happened to me!
The fitter body that I have enabled me to function better on a daily basis. I no longer get those terrible aches I would otherwise get after hiking with my friends, my PMS is not as bad as it used to be, picking up bags after grocery shopping is no longer too tiring, and my acne prone skin is getting so much better too! The improvement in my physical health really made me feel so much better about myself.
I am a huge advocate of mental health awareness, whether it’s general wellness or the awareness of mental illnesses. I am a huge advocate because I had been in a place where my mental health was putting my life at stake. I know how dangerous poor mental health can be and I really don’t want any of you to be put through it.
I know it is so hard to find the motivation to go to the gym, to hang out with your friends, or even to get out of the bed when your mood is not okay. Physical health and social life can be severely affected. It is my first time mentioning about my mental health experience in public and I honestly am not super comfortable about it, but I really want you to know that this blog is a “positive space” for a reason. I am not telling you to stay positive because I am genuinely happy all the time. I am telling you to stay positive because I know how destructive poor mental health can be.
Without the right support from people that you care for, it is so hard to find the motivation to be active or positive. Workouts can be dreadful without a workout buddy and thoughts can be grueling without a confidant. I am always grateful for the amount of kind people that I met in my life who are there to share my joy and sorrow. Sometimes I even wonder why I am so lucky to have met so many amazing human beings: Is it because I am equally awesome or is it because I am too bad and God wanted these people to change me? 😛
Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.
– World Health Organization
Alright, I hope that by now you understand that the healthy lifestyle that I am trying to achieve is one that has a balance between physical, mental and social well-being. I want you to know that this blog is not just about my obsession with green smoothies or quinoa. I want you to know that for me, being healthy is waking up at 6 in the morning to go to the gym, eating that tub of ice-cream if I needed a little boost to make myself happy, and going out with friends for karaoke when I get stressed.
It is not easy to achieve a balance between all three of them at the same time, especially when we get busy with work or school and have no time to handle them well, but I know that I can achieve it because I want to achieve it.
P/s: Can I get a round of applause for spending hours on Illustrator painting those cute illustrations for the health triangle? 😜