We're told to feed ourselves good food... exercise regularly... avoid stress. And be it lifestyle, nutrition, or everyday habits, we're (usually) trying to do the right things for our bodies, in hopes of living longer, preventing disease, or improving our current state of health.
We go for regular check ups, get annual blood work, all to make sure our body is functioning "within normal range".
But how often do we check up with the soul? That place deep down inside where joy or happiness or contentment sits. Our state of emotional wellbeing is shown to have profound effects on our overall state of health. Whether it's referenced as the placebo effect, mindfulness, or the mind-body connection, the health industry has come to recognize the importance of healing not only the body, but the mind. Decrease stress levels, practice meditation, try yoga, be mindful.
But what if it were even simpler than that? What if I were to tell you that the chemicals your body releases when engaging in something that brings your joy can mediate pain, decrease inflammation, and of course, lower your stress response. Sometimes, the most important thing we can do for our overall state of health, is to give ourselves some good ol' fashion soul food.
When was the last time you did something that brought you joy? Inspired you? Put a smile on your face?
When was the last time you picked up a paintbrush? Hiked your favour trail? Called your best friend?
Much like they always say teachers make the worst students, doctors make the worst patients. Like many, I find it easy to forget about self-care when we're so wrapped up in all the other things we need to take care of. Our own needs often take the bottom of the list.
So I recently prescribed myself a well overdue dose of my favourite flavour of soul food... travel.