Mind, body and soul.
This isn’t just a cheesy cliché slapped on the back of a bottle of kombucha.
It’s important to care for them, especially during a time of crisis or trauma. Without adequate care or consideration, they suffer. The life we live, or the expectation set by society, doesn’t always account for the sanctity or preservation of our mind, body and soul. Sometimes, we have to advocate on their behalf.
Just because our lives have slowed down during this pandemic (unless you are a valued first responder or healthcare worker), doesn’t mean our pressures are suddenly alleviated. We have had to endure a tremendously unique experience that has affected us all. Oddly enough, this can prove to be reassuring. It can be a comforting reminder that we all have been involved in this crisis. Still, it’s crucial to recognize that we have all been impacted differently, and we all process our emotions differently. As Matt Haig writes in his book, Notes on a Nervous Planet, “Walking to a shop can be a show of strength if you are carrying a ton of invisible weight” (pg. 189).
Vaccine rollouts have extended to everyone, and we seem to be on track for herd immunity this year. There is light at the end of this long, dreary tunnel. We will never be the same, but take this opportunity to enlighten yourself. Read into your habits and internal dialogue. We all have something to learn about our environment and ourselves during this chapter of history.
Mental hygiene is just as important as regular hygiene. Your mental health is directly correlated to your brain, which is considered one of the most important organs in your body. Your brain manages the function of every other organ and muscle and chemical and (insert other scientific/medical term here). If there is an issue with your brain, it will affect the rest of your body. There is plenty of research and evidence to suggest the damage caused by mental disorders to the our mental acuteness, energy levels, decision-making, and more. Mental health must be prioritized!
Take breaks from all aspects of your life from time to time. Avoid staring at a screen for a few hours a day. Nourish yourself with nutrient dense foods and hydrate with water.
Don’t just exercise your body, but your mind, too! When your brain stops learning, your brain starts dying. Continue stimulating your brain. Learn a new language, take a few free courses, or develop a new habit of reading (preferably without a screen).
Appreciate the body
When it comes to physical health, there is a lot we can control. We can portion out our meals, consume nutrient dense food, drink plenty of water and workout a few times a week. There is also a lot we cannot control. Genetics can contradict or complicate our routine. Just remember, genes aren’t always a death sentence, but a rather wake up call. Choose to develop healthier habits for preventative purposes.
I watched one of those eerie, oddly addictive TLC episodes about rare diseases and disorders. It was about a man from Europe who was incessantly thirsty. His body was unable to store the fluids he would consume. If he didn’t drink two liters of water or so an hour, his body would respond as if severely dehydrated. His kidneys didn’t respond to this hormone called ADH, which regulates our water metabolism. Isn’t that crazy?
This may sound moronic, but I am not a medical professional and wish to express to you how miraculous our bodies are. We spend so much time overanalyzing how our body appears on the outside without appreciating all it provides for us autonomously. Most of us couldn’t even name all the muscles or organs in our body, their functions, etc. Some of us couldn’t even explain how our brain can handle so much without our control. Take a moment and recognize the incredible abilities every cell in your body has, and treat it well.
Confide in a medical professional with any concerns you have with your health, workout consistency to your level of comfortability, fuel your body with food because your body requires it, and rest and recharge if you feel fatigued or strained. Love that body!
Feed your soul
Your soul is inanimate, abstract and much more spiritual. It embodies aspects of your mind and body, while excluding it all. Your soul interacts with the state of your mind and body, but it can also help root and steer you towards improvement in those same fields. I associate the embodiment of a soul to stress awareness. A healthy soul takes breaks in between high-pressure situations or obligations. It recognizes sensations in your body and finds ways to remedy the problem. It allows space to exist so you can pursue interests that bring you joy.
The dilemma is society. In the U.S. especially, we glorify monotonous “9-5” office jobs and overtime. We glorify late nights at work, and side hustles in the hopes of being an entrepreneur. Sometimes, we overwork ourselves out of necessity. The world isn’t going to ease up on us just because we are having a bad day, but it is up to you to negate societal pressures and responsibilities to suit you. Without a sustainable balance of your mind, body and soul, you will burn out. Start small, then build your way up. Make low-key evening plans on your day off to order food and watch an anime. Arrange a socially-distanced meet-up or Zoom call with your loved ones. Practice a new yoga sequence, or read a new book.
A healthy alignment of the mind, body and soul can be a lifelong process. but, I believe it’s worth it. I also believe this is the key to happiness. All your goals in life can be categorized as a kudo point for your mind, body or soul.
It’s time to take life into your own hands. Thanks for reading.
Happy Mental Health Awareness Month!