What does it truly mean to be healthy?
I think we can all agree that eating more vegetables, cutting processed foods, moderately exercising, and getting enough sleep all lead to better health.
Being truly healthy though is something much bigger. It’s how we nurture ourselves as a collective whole – body, mind, and spirit.
For me, being healthy means feeling strong, energized, and balanced. It means feeding my body nourishing foods, getting adequate exercise, and carving out alone time when I need it. Not because I’m trying to fit into my skinny jeans, but because when I do these things consistently, I simply feel better.
And I think that’s the key word – being healthy is a feeling. What do we need to do to feel like our absolute best selves?
It’s here where I find my clients start to trip up a bit. We’re so used to today’s diet and exercise culture telling us exactly what we need to do to be healthy that we’ve lost the ability to check in with ourselves first. Maybe you hate yoga and matcha makes you gag. You know what? That’s okay!
So, how do I get my clients to start looking inward and find their version of healthy?
By taking time for self-care.
As women, we constantly put others’ needs well before our own. After all, there are only so many hours in a day with work, kids, laundry, getting dinner on the table, etc.
Eventually though, we start running on fumes and burn out – letting our health take a back seat. Which is why creating a self-care routine is so important. In order to be fully present in life, we have to show ourselves the same kindness, love, and compassion that we show to others.
Ask yourself, am I doing enough for me? And if not, what’s missing? What are you craving – mentally, physically, spiritually? What do you need to feel energized and centered? It may seem selfish, but taking even 5-minutes for self-care allows you to be fully present for the rest of the day and better navigate the craziness of life.
It’s easiest to start small. Self-care doesn’t have to take a long time, and it doesn’t have to be expensive either. Try to incorporate one thing each day, and most importantly, don’t feel guilty about it!
Here are a few ideas to get started:
Make tea | Spend an extra minute in the shower | Buy yourself flowers | Take an exercise class | Go for a walk | Pack a healthy lunch | Go shopping | Journal | Sit quietly for 5 minutes | Eat dinner without the television | Call your best friend | Get a manicure or blowout | Schedule date night | Light a candle | Listen to music | Put on a face mask | Declutter a closet | Go to bed early | Have a glass of wine
And because cooking healthy meals is such a big part of my self-care routine, I couldn’t not incorporate a few recipes into this post. So, I’ve put together a day’s worth of easy to prepare, feel good, love your health recipes. (Yes, there’s a chocolate one!)
Download your copy of the recipes here.
Now, I’d love to know what healthy means to you and how you plan to prioritize self- care this week. Comment below and share your thoughts!
Erin Parekh is a certified holistic health coach and plant-based cooking instructor based in Stamford, CT. She specializes in one-on-one nutritional and lifestyle coaching for busy, high-achieving women looking to find balance in their daily lives. Her website and Instagram are updated regularly with healthy plant-based recipes, meal prep tips, and whole living insights.