Plant The S.E.E.D.s of Wellness

When people speak of wellness, what exactly do they mean? The dictionary defines wellness this way:
The state of being in good health, especially as an actively pursued goal.
That definition sums up nicely two of the things that are most important to me: good health and the conscious pursuit of that goal. Good health, to me, is both mental and physical. It's just as important to have a strong inner life as it is to be in good physical condition. These things are complex but attainable on some level. They won't happen without effort though. There is no magic pill, only conscious action and work. 

I also see good health as being on a continuum. It isn't a one shot deal like completing a finite task. Wellness involves an ongoing effort for a person's lifetime. At least I have found this to be true in my own life. There are highs and lows, just as with anything else, but overall, a person can feel good much of the time. They can feel well, mentally, physically and spiritually. It just takes some conscious effort.

With the above in mind, I developed a personal acronym called S.E.E.D.s. It stands for what I think is most helpful in the pursuit of wellness and encompasses the most basic things that nearly everyone can work on. S.E.E.D.s is all about action, not just "vague" ideas that a person might try or get to some day. They are things that everyone can do right now to start feeling a little better. 

So, just what is it? S.E.E.D.s stands for the following: Sleep, exercise, eat, and drink. When you want to feel better, to feel like you are taking action, then having a place to start is important. I like things that are simple. If they are too complex, I tend to abandon them quickly! I think the activities above are pretty basic and understandable enough so that nearly everyone can begin to seek wellness right away. They are intuitive as well. Though there is much research on each item, I think a person can kind of figure out for themselves if, for example, they are sleeping enough. Or are they thirsty? Maybe a little hungry?  Here is what I mean.

Sleep: The importance of enough sleep, at the right time, is indisputable. And if a person is honest with themselves, they can absolutely tell right away if they have gotten enough quality sleep. This means uninterrupted sleep, sleeping for a long enough time, and good quality sleep not impacted by drugs, too much food before bedtime, too much light or noise, etc. As an example, being anxious can interrupt your sleep, making for a fitful night. Next time you don't feel so hot, ask yourself if you have really gotten some good sleep.

Exercise: It's no secret that for most people, exercise is beneficial and recommended. It becomes a chore for people though, something to cross off of a "to do" list because it's a requirement. It's something that you have to do. Wrong! You want to do it. That is the key. (I hate have-to activities, by the way!) So, ask yourself this question. What activities do you love? It's my personal belief that any movement is helpful, particularly if a person isn't doing anything to begin with. Ask yourself what activities you are interested in. If you have medical restrictions or physical limitations, work with your health care provider to figure out what activities you can safely do. What is most helpful though is to focus on the "liking" and the "doing." Figure that out, do things consistently and with joy, and you are more than halfway there.

Eat!: Though this topic is a little more difficult, often fraught with societal, physical, mental or cultural issues, what I try to do is simple enough. I try to eat when I am hungry, eat enough to satisfy that hunger and to fuel my activities. I am a vegan so my diet consists of plants: legumes, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, and grains. I try to eat enough of these things, in combination, so that I feel full but not overly so. I also eat snacks when needed. I have learned to minimize my salt and sugar intake to a level at which I am comfortable. And I try to eat enough healthy fats in the form of olive, canola and avocado oils as well as nuts and seeds. And while I don't always succeed with the above, I do the best that I can. Since I am a vegan, the most important choices I make have to do with not harming animals. In the long run, that's what guides my food decisions.

This is what works for me though. Each person can figure out what kind of "diet" they want to follow, (vegan, vegetarian, Mediteranean, etc.), the ideas remain the same. Eat when you are hungry. Three meals a day, smart snacks, etc. are fine but are you actually hungry? Try to tune into that. Don't let your hunger get away from you. Eat before it is too late!  And maybe there is something in my own personal choices that you might find interesting. Sparking that interest is why I provided that information.

Drink: Drink you say? Alright! No, I don't mean alcohol. I mean just water. Straight up water, from the tap, from a bottle or whatever but honest to goodness water, unadulterated with carbonation or sugar of any sort. Not soda, not juice, not a power drink or coffee. Just water. (I am not a fan of soda, juice, etc. because it's too easy to add unnecessary calories or sugar to your diet this way.) I am not a scientist but honestly, being dehydrated is an incipient problem. It sneaks up on you, can make you tired, and it's probably the last culprit that we think of when we are not feeling well. So, drink some water now and then. 

I truly hope that the above points are helpful. I think the acronym of S.E.E.D.s is easy enough to remember. And I like easy! Most people fall down in their efforts at wellness, I suspect, because of complexities to a plan, lots of rules, too many things to remember, etc. I am not suggesting to abandon the effort that wellness takes but having something easy to grasp on to at first is helpful. 

And if you have found the above helpful, please let me know. Send me an email: libbyfife@ymail.com And remember. I am not a doctor, have no credentials, etc. but am just living my life. The above are things that I find to be simple, easy to remember and actually work. Good luck in your wellness journey!

Libby

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