What is Wellness?
If I had been asked that question 5 years ago, my answer would have been much different than it is today. I would have considered myself "well" because I had a good paying job and was able to travel on nice vacations with my husband, because I lived in a nice house at the beach and was often surrounded by fun activities and friends, because I had a loving and supportive family, and because I considered myself to be basically healthy and active. While those are all great things, my definition of wellness changed when I ended up in the hospital the day after Thanksgiving 2009.
After a sudden onset of abdominal pain that quickly became unbearable, I ended up in emergency surgery to have my appendix and part of my severely infected colon removed. I was in the hospital for a week and on medical leave from work for another month while I recovered and learned how to eat and digest food again. The doctors indicated that it was not diverticulitis (more common in older adults) and they had no real explanation as to why it happened, other than it was an infection that had been building over a long period of time.
I had no alarming symptoms and had always thought I was in good shape. I had run several 5K and 10K races and three half marathons. I hiked, biked, and did yoga. I ate my vegetables most days. How did this happen to me? My answer is that it was years of toxic build up from the environment and overly processed foods. During my recovery, I realized that I needed to be much more conscious of the things that I was willingly putting into my body. I started reading more books on health and nutrition and thinking more about how short our time on this earth really is, and how important it is to live with purpose and make every moment count. This was the beginning of my journey to true wellness - total health of body, mind, and spirit.
So if I were asked the same question today, I would say that wellness has nothing to do with how much money you make, the vacations you take, where you live, or how many races you've run. Wellness, to me, is providing strong nourishment to your body, mind, and spirit on a daily basis. It's eating healthy, staying active, being present in each moment, and embracing the light that surrounds us. It's living mindfully and understanding how your choices impact your life and the lives of those around you. It's finding your passion and purpose in this world and using it to make a positive impact.
So, am I well? Well... I'm getting there, and my hope is that writing this blog will provide me with a creative forum to find my true purpose and stay on the path to total wellness, and maybe even help a few others along the way.