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  • Writer's pictureJennifer Klemmetson

Stepping into a Healthier Lifestyle

Updated: May 17, 2022

Combining physical, mental and emotional health for a healthier lifestyle.

There has been much published about healthy lifestyles: news articles, blogs, social media posts, podcasts, documentaries on Netflix. But even being surrounded by messages about living a healthy life, it can be hard to put that to practice in our everyday lives. Healthy living is more than just eating well and getting enough exercise, even though that’s often what the media focuses on. It’s an entire way of living, and as a grad student and full-time employee, who also freelances on the side, incorporating a healthy lifestyle into my busy days is vital to being able to accomplish my goals. For me, healthy living has many elements: physical health, mental health and emotional health.

A quick Google search of healthy living brings up thousands of articles and resources, many of which focus exclusively on physical health. And when looking at physical health, diet, exercise or fitness, and healthy habits all come into play. Limiting alcohol, avoiding smoking or vaping, and ensuring the necessary nutrients are all in the daily meals can lead to good health -- and pairing that with running, going to the gym and yoga have all helped me maintain my health during busy, stressful weeks of balancing everything. Physical health is important, because without it, people may not be able to do anything else. But physical health is not where a healthy lifestyle ends.

Mental health can be more challenging to incorporate into a busy healthy lifestyle, but it is just as important as physical health. Being able to take time for myself, whether that is alone doing something I enjoy, with friends or family, allows me to destress and take time away from work or school. It’s important for people to have people to rely on, especially when their life gets hectic. Being able to talk to someone, like a friend or partner, can give some perspective and even just allow them to vent. Especially when dealing with mental health conditions, like depression or anxiety, have support through professionals and close personal relationships can improve this aspect of a healthy life.

Emotional health is different than mental health. It’s been said that emotional health can lead to success, according to the American Psychological Association. Emotional health can be a positive attitude or resiliency. But to me, emotional health means that I am doing something fulfilling, something that makes me happy. This isn’t necessarily work, even if that is where a lot of time is spent.

I have volunteered with the local Girls on the Run chapter for many years now, in a variety of capacities from coaching to training new coaches to marketing support. This is how I find fulfilling work, even in a volunteer capacity, to nurture my emotional health and well-being. Through Girls on the Run, I have taught girls about self confidence, standing up for themselves and others, healthy eating, and how running or exercise can help them lead healthy lifestyles. But in teaching 8 to 10 year olds this, I have learned a lot myself. I have seen my own lifestyle become healthier, because I am modeling that behavior for the girls on my team. My self confidence has grown, as I work through the lessons with them. I have rediscovered a love of running because we’re all just there to have fun.

Healthy lifestyles are very personal things, but they shouldn’t be done in private. Living a healthy lifestyle and talking about personal physical, mental and emotional health should be done in community with others. Especially when a community of people have similar goals, working toward those healthy goals as a group can give everyone the motivation to keep moving forward, even when it seems hard. Through Girls on the Run, the other coaches, the girls and I all set goals of healthy eating and getting ready for a 5K together, and we talked twice a week about how those goals were coming.

When we all come together to support each other on the way to healthy living, we are more likely to be successful in accomplishing our goals. Whether we are striving for an all around healthy lifestyle or just better physical or mental or emotional health, by coming together in community through programs, everyone can find support and guidance on their path to a healthy lifestyle. This is the first step in being better able to get up in the morning and chase other professional, educational or personal accomplishments.

If you want to begin to lead a healthier lifestyle, incorporating yoga into your life. There are physical benefits, but there are also mental and emotional benefits that many people find with yoga. I'll cover that in a later blog, though.

Get in touch today to learn about virtual or in person yoga for beginners.

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