In January I declared 2012 the year of health. I like to make declarations and resolutions; they are so much more exciting than small changes and daily steps. They are, however, infinitely less useful. It’s been the small changes that are actually making a bit of difference.
Right now, I’m focusing on making three small changes, which is probably two more than I ought to be making at once, but I’m not good at moderation.
I’m doing yoga every day.
A week ago I downloaded the All-in-One YOGA iPhone app. I upgraded to the premium version so that I could get several different yoga routines that are designed for specific goals and narrated. I’ve managed to practice every day since.
What has always intrigued me about yoga is how ineffective it looks. I mean, it looks easy and it certainly doesn’t seem like it could help you improve your health. However, I instantly feel more alert and the next day the muscles that I worked are sore. I might not be burning hundreds of calories, but I am getting more comfortable with how my body works.
I’m not eating wheat.
I followed a low-carb diet for about three years. I successfully lost weight and maintained that loss until I changed my eating habits. Since then, an endocrinologist has suggested that I might be “carb sensitive” and I’ve noticed that loading up on bread and pasta worsens the symptoms of my depression. All that being said, I hated the idea of giving up fruit again. As a compromise, I stopped eating wheat. I seem to be having most of the same benefits – increased energy, a little weight loss – and I still get to enjoy strawberries!
I’m taking my anti-depressants regularly.
I don’t take a time-release anti-depressant because it is really expensive. As a compromise, I am supposed to take a half dose twice a day. I skip at least one does a lot. I tell myself it’s no big deal because I don’t feel bad if I skip an afternoon dose. However, I’ve noticed that a missed dose here and there seems to have the cumulative affect of me having a complete and total melt down.
For the first time in a long time, I had suicidal thoughts this weekend. They were sort of peripheral, and I was healthy enough to recognize that they were very irrational and very dangerous – and a sign that my brain wasn’t working the way it should. I let Jared know what was going on and immediately refilled the plastic pill dispenser that helps me remember to take both doses every day.
Sometimes I think I have this depression thing licked, like maybe I’ve outgrown in the way that children can outgrow allergies. I should know better. Depression for me isn’t a character defect I can evolve beyond. It is, I am certain, a symptom of chemical mishaps in my brain. Treating that consistently is as vital to my health as diet and exercise, more so even.
Good health is a part of my happiness.
So many of the blessings I count each week would not be possible if I weren’t healthy. It’s important to me to be able to get outside and move, to have the freedom to travel at will. I take these things for granted sometimes, as if it is only mental determination that makes them happen. And then I remember (or get comments from) people whose deteriorated health limits what they can do.
My health, I realize, is a gift. It’s a key that unlocks the whole world for me. I don’t know how long I will be allowed to use this key, so I plan to keep it safe while I can.
Are you working on any new habits to improve your health?