World Health Day is celebrated on April 7 every year, the theme for world health day 2021 is “Building a fairer, healthier world”.
You may wonder why I am writing this on April 8th, rather than on World Health Day. The truth is that I wanted to reflect on the meaning of this day, what it means to me, and how I can share that with you.
World Health Day? Health shouldn´t have a world day, it should be in our uppermost thoughts every day. If we are to build a fairer and healthier world, we should be conscious of our health every day.
In that case, what is health? Health to me is a multitude of concepts that are brought together to create wellbeing: physical, emotional, and chemical balance – also called homeostasis. When we have balance of these three criteria, our temple, our world, is at peace. When we as individuals are at peace and have wellbeing, then our outer world, our outer temples – homes, families, the world at large, can also be in balance, have homeostasis and have health. For me, that is how we can build a fairer and healthier world.
What is the point of trying to help our neighbour if we are in desperate need to look after ourselves? If we empty our fridge to help our neighbour, we are left hungry, now there are two families who have imbalance. This is like putting on your oxygen mask before helping your family. Put on your own first, so you are in a better position health wise to help your family, then your neighbour, then the rest of the aisle.
This past year has been a challenge for most of the planet. Some people have done extremely well financially, others not so. Some people have had better quality time at home, but a miserable bank balance. Whoever you are, you will have felt the collective dis-ease of your community as we try to make up our minds what we think of this health crisis and how we are ever going to get through it. This has created some imbalance within our wellness. Some people have been able to use their time to create a better physical health, others have meditated like crazy to keep their anxiety at bay. Whichever category you have fallen into, I´m sure you can relate to what I´m saying.
Last March 2019, I exercised like crazy, continued with my healthy way of eating and meditated like crazy. As March turned into April, a month without working, being able to help people, see my Parents or in-laws, the stress started to get to me, and I turned to “slipping” in my diet. I continued to exercise, but I noticed that my physical, emotional, and chemical stresses were becoming unbalanced. Since then, I have been checking and slipping, checking, and slipping, gradually getting myself back into my routine of eating healthily, meditating, exercising.
Naturally, even at home, I have been receiving my chiropractic adjustments on a weekly basis, and during the moments of craziness I would increase my adjustments to even a daily event. Acupuncture was also a good way to keep my stress in check, as it permeated my sleeping habits too.
So, what is health? I have told you what I have been doing, a mixture of diet, exercise, meditation, chiropractic adjustments, acupuncture needles. Does it all work? Of course, it does. It´s just something that nourishes my temple on all levels. Remember, health isn´t just about the way you feel, it´s about the way you function. In the practice we talk a lot about the three stressors and the five pillars of health. It isn’t just all about one type of behaviour, it´s about different types of changes one can make, different choices that one makes, that keeps the balance, and keeps the wheels in motion and health on the right path, at the right speed.
As humans, we all suffer from the three stressors at some level or another: emotional stress. We worry about our family, our mortgage, our home, our work. What is the best way to deal with emotional stress? Focusing on something else. Exercise is a great way to relax the mind. When exercising it´s difficult to concentrate on that bill or that exam your child is going for and hasn´t studied for. You have to concentrate on hitting the ball, or not running into that oncoming car. I personally find that going for a run twice a week, and now I have also introduced a bike ride in-between, helps me enormously. I always listen to a podcast during my runs, as science says we learn better when we exercise. I hope that´s true for me too! Physical stress: hunched up at the desk, school lessons to our kids, running before walking, i.e., fitness levels being put to the test to soon, falling on the slippery sidewalk or stepping off the pavement that was higher than anticipated, slouching on the sofa. These are all bad postural habits or traumas that create physical stress in our bodies. Chemical stress: As mentioned above, deviating from a healthy diet, alcohol, drugs including prescribed drugs, cleaning products etc. Fortunately, in this are we don´t have a heavy industry bellowing out smoke into the air we breathe, but in other areas this is also a chemical stress.
So, what is health? Health is keeping these stressors in check. Keeping the emotional stress, physical stress, and chemical stress under control, doing something about it when one or all rear their ugly heads. This is not a one-off game-changer, we need to work on them all daily. Yes, we can reflect on World Health Day, but we should be working on our temples EVERY day. How long do you need to do this for? How long do you want to live healthily for? Think of health as a 3-legged stool. Upset one of the legs / stresses and the stool can still stand until you lean over to pick up a book and lose balance. Take two legs away and you start to have a problem. In upcoming articles, I will discuss the Five Pillars of Health and how we can strive for optimum health and truly functional as a marvellous human temple that we are.
Thank you for reading, thank you for doing your part in keeping yourself fit and healthy, in optimum wellness, and thereby helping to keep the world a fairer and healthier place to live.