We’re starting to hear the word wellness frequently. But what does it mean? Well, Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines it as ‘the quality or state of being in good health especially as an actively sought goal.’ The keyword here is actively.
A few months ago, I was blessed to go on an all expenses paid wellness retreat thanks to an organization that values the woman as a whole. We convened at the beach – a place I’m convinced is anointed to pour out calmness, tranquility, ease, peace, joy and warmth. There’s something about being there, by the water, that helps put all the pieces into perspective.
For years, I’ve taken solo retreats, typically to the beach. I recognized in my late 20’s I needed time, to myself, to regroup, rejuvenate and rejoice. And I needed to be able to accomplish this, alone. I like and love people. I also like and love myself. For me to operate at my highest level, it’s imperative I pour into me as much as I pour into others.
To be connected to an organization dedicated to doing for me what I do for me is a blessing. All week, I spent time with women where we shared moments of laughter, encouragement, fulfillment, kindness, thoughtfulness and food. Sooooo much food! It was what my soul needed, at the time, to sustain me until the next time – which, ironically, is a lesson I learned years ago.
Often, we think of wellness as what we do in the moment that focuses on being well If I were to ask you what acts constitute wellness for you, I’m sure I’ll hear the words massage, exercise, traveling, spa days, shopping, coffee runs, etc. Yes, all these activities can encompass wellness. However, what’s most important is knowing what wellness activities fill your cup.
Have you ever taken a vacation only to dread returning home? Have you ever scheduled a day out with friends only to feel an emotional crash when its over? Have you ever taken a nap only to wake up still feeling drained? I know we can all answer yes to at least one of these questions. I answered yes to all three.
Remember in the first paragraph where I said actively is the key word in the definition of wellness? If being in a state of activity is a vital component of our wellness then why are a lot of us waiting until we are away from our everyday lives to focus on it? Shouldn’t we be incorporating it into our daily routine?
A few years ago, a woman whom I’ve had the chance to share spaces and good vibes with, Dr. Margaret Brunson, shared a post on Instagram about being well. I can’t remember everything she said but I do know what stood out for me. Brunson outlined the things she needed in her everyday life that would assist her in being well. It wasn’t the flashy list of taking a vacation once a month or bi-weekly manicures and pedicures. It was a list of practical goings-on that would help her to achieve a steadiness in her life. One of the things on her list – Target runs.
I loved the idea and decided to develop my own. With my favorite number being 12, I wrote down 12 things to help me stay centered in my wellness amidst this uncertain life. I knew my list needed to consist of activities I enjoyed and needed to proactively ensure I was integrating consistently. So, what did I write down? A few things in my well – alone time in nature, intelligent, thought-provoking conversations, delicious food, grace for myself and others, music therapy and dance sessions and intentional pauses with God.
The wellness retreat to the beach came at the right time. Beach trips always do. I needed the time away to relax, chill and not look at my laptop for hours.
Ultimately, the trip reminded me of how much I need to continue actively pursuing being well. Our lives literally depend on it.
Actions speak louder than words. What do yours say about you?
Kassaundra Shanette Lockhart is a freelance writer.
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