It’s finally Friday! As you read this, I’m on the road to Florida Gulf Coast University to present at the Florida Collegiate Honors Council Research Conference. I’ll be sharing some research I did with classmates last semester on art therapy and its effects on facilitators mental health and self-esteem, so pray everything goes smoothly 🙂 Today, I want to address a misconception about health that I think a lot of us have, and that I may actually portray sometimes.
I think I’m speaking for a lot of us when I say that we get caught up in the “ideal” picture that the media portrays. To be healthy, you have to eat right, exercise, meditate, do yoga, go on juice cleanses, etc. If you don’t, well you might as well not even try. I think I make it seem like I live a healthy lifestyle. People think I eat right, exercise, and take time for myself, which is true…mostly. I consider myself a healthy person, but I slip up from time to time because you know what? Life happens. Tests come up, meetings arise, and what have you. Before you know it, you’re in line at the drive-thru, skipping the gym, and barely getting any sleep.
I know where I slip up when life happens…I barely sleep and don’t take care of my mental health. It’s hard to get 8 hours every night and relax when I’m taking 16 credit hours, writing blog posts every week, attending conferences, doing research, and volunteering. I don’t want you to feel bad for me. I want you to see that we all have things we sacrifice to get by in life. Right now, I forgo sleep so I can succeed in school. Does that mean I should give up? Not at all. You have to make sacrifices sometimes, and the only thing you can do is focus on getting through the present.
What’s important in the end is the whole picture. I always tell people that life is a journey. Sometimes there are potholes, sometimes speed bumps, and sometimes your car breaks down. Eventually though, you get to your destination and you had one hell of an experience. You learned a lot about yourself…your strengths, weaknesses, and how to overcome challenges. That’s all you can do. Learn.
One final point…we all are different. We all have to make sacrifices in different ways, and we all have personal definitions of health that change at various points in our lives. Don’t let someone else’s definition be yours. Their definition is molded for their life, not yours. Find what works for you, recognize that it’s an ongoing process, and do the best you can.
Remember, a few lapses here and there aren’t a big deal. It might make you feel worn out, but it won’t define you. The human body is an amazing machine. It can handle stress, lack of sleep, and even fried chicken from time to time 🙂