I once heard that health is balance in every area of your life. Not just your diet and exercise regimen, but also in your work/school life, in your personal relationships and generally in every part of your lifestyle. For me, I know that achieving this balance is something that is really easy to say and visualise, but not so easy in practice. Over the years, I’ve noticed that when one aspect of my life greatly improves, another is unintentionally neglected. It’s a balancing act that is difficult to get just right.
Since uni finished for the year, I’ve been spending more time exploring what it really means to be healthy. I’ve revamped my diet and been at the gym more consistently, but furthermore, I’ve been focussing on my mental health and my relationships – particularly, my relationship with myself. I think the more you accept yourself, your physical health tends to follow suit. Law school is a high-pressure system, that’s just the nature of the game. But as a result of this intense pressure to perform, I suspect I have developed a few mental health issues, like mild anxiety and even depression-like symptoms at times. The Christmas break is the perfect time to work on improving and strengthening my mental health, so that I can cope with the pressure better the following year. I’ve been exploring meditative practices, spending less time online and more time outside, and spending as much time as possible with family and friends. In combination, I’ve noticed that I’ve been far less stressed, much happier, and more clear-headed, and therefore more willing to work on other areas of my life, like my physical health.
Like most people, I’ve had ups and downs with my physical health. When I was younger, I could count on my metabolism to take care of my weight. Until I hit around 19, I was pretty much happy enough with my figure that I never really worried about it. When I was 19, I moved back to New Zealand and experienced living away from home for the first time. I got a job as a bartender, and as a result, I was at uni during the day and working a lot at night. This meant I had little energy, exercise was non-existent and healthy meals were the last thing on my mind. It was easier to grab a pizza with my workmates than to make a salad at 3am. My weight slowly crept up, and before I knew it, I had developed super unhealthy eating habits and found it really difficult to stop. It probably wasn’t that much weight in the scheme of things, but I started noticing comments from people around me about it. For the first time in my life, I was concerned about my body and it got me really down. I knew this year that I needed a plan of attack, and my weight is nearly down to what it used to be. I found that I needed to rely on myself and my own expectations of myself, instead of worrying about what other people thought. Worrying about how other people see you is demotivating. Now I genuinely don’t care, and I’m far happier in my own skin. I’m not 100% satisfied with myself, but I know I’m doing it for me, and for now, that’s all that matters.
I thought this post might be of interest to people in a similar situation to myself. As lame as it sounds, learning to love yourself is so damn hard. But if you can master the fine balance between physical and mental wellbeing, you’ll be able to experience the healthiest and happiest version of yourself.