What is Health, Anyway?

by Kristin Hedstrom

C’mon over. Have a seat.

Let’s talk about what health really is. In our culture, we often confuse health with being skinny. So is that what it is? Or is it the absence of disease? Is it enjoying your life on a daily basis? Is it having a vibrant social life?

It’s not going to be the same for each person. Sometimes my clients have wildly different visions for what health looks like to them, and that’s perfectly okay.

Here are my Top 5: 

  1. Being able to do all the things we want, pain free. To be able to answer “yes!” when a friend or family member asks us to go on a trip that involves a long car ride, multiple flights, or lots of walking. Going rock climbing, hiking, line dancing, cycling, or swimming if we feel like it. Being confident that not only is the world is open to us – we can take advantage of all of it.
  2. Loving yourself and being comfortable with who you are. Oof, a big one. This is about the ability to connect to yourself as a human being throughout your life. It’s about being grateful for all the experiences you’ve had because they’ve molded you into the totally kickass person you are today – and being forgiving to yourself when things don’t go your way.
  3. Growth. ‘Cuz without growth, life is unfulfilling and stagnant. Anything that slows our growth – or halts it altogether – is a lack of health in my book. Growth is about challenging ourselves, being creative, and serving others.
  4. High energy. Have you ever had one of those walk-in-the-door-faceplant-on-the-couch kinda nights? I’ve been known to drive myself to sheer exhaustion way too often in the past, which does not equal health to me. If we’re constantly getting to a place of low energy, we’re not living, we’re surviving. High energy is about bringing a level of excitement to our endeavors that is so captivating, it brings others up with us.
  5. Control over the many stresses in life. Of course there are going to be things that stress us out – we’re heading into the freakin’ holiday season after all, which is a big source of stress for many people (ironic? yes). To me, control over this is a feeling of calmness about past, present, and future stresses. It’s about letting go of what we can’t change in the past and getting our lives in order (financially, spiritually, etc) so we don’t have to stress about what will happen next. It’s about taking time for self-care on a regular basis to reconnect to yourself.

So what are your top 5? What does healthy mean to you?