Exploring Health As a Journey
Exploring the Health Journey
While I was living in Laguna Beach, CA, one morning I awoke to the first crisp morning of fall. Behind the house slept the characteristic shrub covered hills of Southern California. I felt energized from the shift in the seasons upon waking and decided that this morning was a good time to go for a run. While blearily preparing to run, I thought about the phase “health journey.” I have heard and shared the concept with clients, but what does that really mean? Join me on this run into the hills and find out!
Once a Runner, Always a Runner?
Having grown up running competitively, I expertly laced up my shoes and prepared for my morning sweat. Of which included some squats and lunges to “activate the glutes” and prevent injury (or possibly procrastinate a little more as the world slowly warmed up).
Lately, much of my time has been focused on traveling, working with clients, and tending to a budding relationship. To dive deeper into each of these endeavors, while on my personal healthy journey, naturally some things have to change. I consciously pushed aside certain activities to allocate time to others.
Notably, my running had taken a back seat.
While I had still be as active as possible by regularly walking, surfing, diving, doing yoga, etc. Running though, is a unique challenge to the body that I crave. The thrill of putting in miles in the preserve that overlooked the ocean had been calling to me. I was ready to prioritize it again.
Hitting the Road
Living most of my life in Florida the biggest “hill” I encountered was a causeway a few miles from my home. Laguna Beach on the other hand is a whole other animal. Large “foothills” marched their way to the Pacific ocean where they crumbled in forming a pocked coastline filled with secluded coves. Each hill rose up well above the homes that elbowed their way for a spot in the small town.
I set out into the grey morning, the marine layer still lingering over the city before receding later in the day back over the ocean. Not far into the start of my run was I greeted by my first hill. I pumped my arms and legs up the steep hill working to keep my eyes up and posture effective. The hills in Laguna are about as ambitious as the people of Southern California and they wasted no time giving me a STEEP incline to work my way up.
Thankfully I summited the first hill and ran along a ridge as the pavement turned to the dirt road that marked the start of the preserve. Prickly little shrubs and cacti lined the road and small rabbits nibbled on breakfast as I passed.
Humbled by the Challenge
Not long into the preserve did I find myself working up yet another lovely hill. This one just so happened to be steeper and much longer than the first. “Holy Sh*t!” I cursed under my breath as I tried to see the top. “I’ll sure be in great shape in no time running these!” I thought to myself. The effort it took to continue on reminded me of where I was in my health journey. Neither good nor bad, just a part of the process.
I tried to keep a good pace as I made my way up but was noticeably breathing heavier as I went. “Geeze. I feel as if I am starting from scratch with my running all over again!” It was humbling to realize how my fitness had changed.
To struggle at something that once I dominated got me thinking. So often we view the achievement of fitness, wellness or weight loss as a stagnant goal. Once the goal is achieved then our lives are changed for good and it’s smooth sailing right? Well, not exactly. While that kind of achievement is wonderful, it is only one step in the journey of living well.
Even though I was an extremely good running at one point in my health journey, I still found that I had lost some fitness after letting my consistency slip. We all can experience a natural ebb and flow on a health
journey. We all must continue to adjust our approach and evolve our personal practices to keep moving forward or even to retain our past efforts.
Wellness Reflected in Nature
The natural world like trees also experience shifts in their health journey. One season a tree uses its energy to bear fruit. In the winter, that same tree has shed its leaves and is lying dormant conserving what energy it can to continue on. Life is seasonal, not just for the trees, but for ourselves as well. Understanding that your efforts in nutrition, fitness and mental health need to be fluid is essential. You need to be challenged to grow and you need to rest or conserve to be able to bear new fruit in time.
Your body is extremely intelligent and is constantly communicating with you. By learning the language of this communication as well as tools and skill sets to help support it is important. We are all gardeners of our bodies and minds. Pay attention to the seasons of your life and begin to identify the subtle changes of winter into spring.
Note the Changes of Seasons in Your Body
What do these shifts in your body feel like? How can you best support it in your daily choices to help you feel your best? After years of working with clients to learn the language of their body, I have a whole garden shed full of tools to help you do the same. Learn the language of your body and develop the skill set to navigate its changes and you will thrive no matter what season it is in your life.
Wellness is a journey that begins from within.
Start your journey with a one-on-one discovery session. Go through a complimentary wellness assessment and ask questions to Eleanor Baker.