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Helena Önneby

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When what you do to be healthy becomes unhealthy

Holistic health has become more and more mainstream in recent years. Holistic as in the realization that it’s about more than what you eat and how you exercise. It’s about mental, physical, emotional and spiritual well-being. Of course, it’s amazing that we all learn more about health so that we can take responsibility for it for real.

But there’s also an unwelcomed side effect of the trend; when what you do to be healthy becomes unhealthy.

Does everything you do to feel strong and free really make you feel strong and free, or do you feel rather bound and trapped by all the should’s and must’s?

You know you need to stress less so you rush to squeeze in the yoga class so you can relax.

You read about all the different diets and do’s and don’ts in the food jungle and turn yourself inside out in search of perfection.

You’ve heard that meditation is the thing, so you fall short on sleep and get up an hour earlier and find yourself in an hour of job thinking and self-criticism that you call meditation.

You pick up the latest training trend and hurt yourself because you don’t listen to your own body and what you actually need. 

You create that wonderful morning routine that looks so good on social media but is more focused on how it looks than how it feels.

I did a comprehensive functional medicine health examination last fall. The samples were sent to four different countries and all test results took two hours to go through with the doctor. I did it for preventive purposes and I have no symptoms, but when we look at the status at that level of detail, of course, imbalances will appear. So, I updated my health routines again at the beginning of the year to support my body back to balance.

But after a few weeks, I noticed that old patterns of my disease identification and accusing thoughts towards my body appeared. And what I was going to do for my health started to get unhealthy. I lowered my ambitions somewhat, I softened in relation to myself and I decided to put my mental and emotional health first. Because it’s my experience that when I feel good, have kind thoughts about myself and spend a lot of time in the parasympathetic nervous system, then my physical body also gets into balance.

Much of what we do to feel better is great, but if there is self-hatred or fear at the bottom, I don’t think that what we do will lead us where we want to go. If you really want to feel good, based on your whole being, then what you do needs to be based on love. To yourself, to your body, to your life. It’s only from there that you will find the power to create and live the lifestyle that works for you, that’s healthy for you.

What do you need to do more / less of if you really chose a healthy life, healthy for you?

This is a guest post. The opinions expressed are the writer’s own.

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