Category Archives: Health

Butterfly.

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Tough life. Life is tough. One moment it’s easy, but you’ve forgotten to balance. Balance your friends with your cheque book, balance your studies with your beau. Balance everything.

So you wake up one day with an emerging epiphany, or is that just another grey hair? You think, I need to be better. I need to be more than I was yesterday. I need to prove to myself, to the world, that I know how to have an easy life. I possess the organization, the skills to balance. To be whole.

And you try for the next 24 hours to be on top of things. You say hello and goodbye. You eat quick, and think much faster. You make your bed, you wash your clothes, you say goodnight.

You saw very little. Your friend was in need of comfort, but you had no time. Your food was not savored, your bed was unwelcoming. Your dreams lacked spontaneity, no escape from your perfect world. You balanced everything, and lost more.

You walk around proud of your achievements. Of your ability to do what makes you thrive. But you feel alone, you crave attention, you try to be perfect but perfection isn’t perfect.

You have these wings that emerge when you do something for yourself, something that changes you. You fly to the comfort of the collective, as they fly to you. To follow the standard approach, to organize your chaos, to streamline your mistakes to reach avoidance. You are hiding those wings that take you to new places.

I wanted to be normal. You wanted to be normal. But normal isn’t perfect. Normal lacks creativity, the term is stagnant. Live in constant flux, never pausing, always seeking new lessons, new experiences. You will find a passion for something that you hadn’t thought twice about before, before you hopped under your covers. You love like you live, in a stable manor. But those who love most, feel most, see hearts collide, beating. Be jealous of the free birds, not the nested ones.

A.


Making Changes.

Being naturally skinny is easy. Easy to eat what you want, exercise when you want, and not have to worry about gaining weight. I  was always tiny in high school and I thought being skinny was an achievement…it’s really not.

You don’t have to work for anything. You wake up in the morning and effortlessly you’re happy with your body. How is that fair?

I played sports a lot, so I was fit to some extent – not because I wanted to

be, but rather as a side effect. I remember my brother told me one day, “You’re going to hit 21 and realize you’re not going to be skinny forever.” Mind you, he’s had to work very hard for the body he has…both of my brothers have. I use that statement, and their progress, as my inspiration. They didn’t get what they wanted by sitting around, so why should I? I look in the mirror and I’m happy with myself…but I want to be proud.

Now I’m 21, and I need a lot of time to think.  I started going to the gym with a friend who knows how to do basically everything. He’s really helped me enjoy the gym, learn the machines, keep myself from getting injured. 3 weeks, 5 days a week., soccer on the weekends. A lot of time in my day to think, while I do good for my body. And trust me, seeing the changes, the tone come back, the muscle building…that’s a thrill. It’s exciting, for once in my life, to be consciously putting effort into my body that I can be proud of. Same with food. I’m more conscious of my intake to ensure I don’t lose weight. No more pepsi every day, less fast food, protein after the gym, and eating meals on time. I’m not going to be skinny forever,

as we age, so do our bodies. But as I age, I want to know how to keep the body I have and not settle for what life hands me. I will do what I want.

I want to hike a mountain without being unable to move the next day. I want to join my friends in kayak journeys, without my arms falling off. I want to play mid-field in soccer to test my cardio. I want to feel like I can do things.

Just goes to show that nothing worth having was ever achieved without effort.

A. 

Fit.


Living.

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Found.

You know when you just stand in front of your mirror, totally naked?

You begin to judge yourself…cellulite, stretch marks, excess weight, pasty skin, nose too big, eyes too small, hips too wide…and then one day you stop judging as harshly?

You stand face to face with the mirror and you notice you look great. You’re smiling at yourself. Hold that feeling – just pause and don’t let go. You have made peace with yourself for that very moment and everything is wonderful. It doesn’t matter if it’s raining outside, there’s light in your heart.

I just had that moment. I stood in front of my mirror. I thought to myself…what is wrong with me? During these days when my motivation and confidence are seriously lacking, I’ve been asking myself this question, trying to make sense of my present state.

Immediately I started to think that I must find my flaws. I looked in the mirror at my body. And I didn’t see any. I started thinking about my personality. What is wrong with it? Again I contemplated…and came up with no result. I know I have flaws…everyone does. But in this moment I just had, I had zero. I smiled at myself in the mirror, knowing I had just achieved something big.

I can smile at myself, and in return, boost my own confidence and make myself happy. Today was a great day. Today I found myself again. I guess I had to lose myself to improve myself.

A.

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A Holistic Approach.

Be free. Ecohealth. New thing, as of the 1990’s. Focusing efforts towards sustainability, rather than immediate development, the avoidance of using resources quickly or inadequately. Gathering opinions from many realms to form new strategies, create solutions – an ecosystem approach to health.

I’m taking a Ecohealth course this semester. Also, I’m hoping to work with my professor on the related topic as my honours project…so I need to do well. I’ve got to stress to impress…to make sure I get the readings and assignments done to par, or better yet, to exceed requirements. If you happened to know me prior to reading this, you would know I’m a big nerd who loves school. But, as most of you don’t know me personally, you will, over time, be exposed to my nerdy side through words.

…Continuing…

Why did I decide on Ecohealth? Am I some activist? No. Am I very environmentally aware and a good recycler, and so on? Not really. I just find the holistic view of Ecohealth mesmerizing. How much has been forgotten and revived through this field of study is remarkable. The world searches for global sustainability, while I myself am searching for my own form of sustainability. To encompass my own health through mind, body and spirit. I’m not a hippie. Nor am I much different from the average university student working summers to pay for an education. But imagine seeing the world from an ecohealth perspective, and how that can affect your individual health!

Example time: Dominique Charron (2012) Ecosystems Approaches to Health for a Global Sustainability Agenda

Ecohealth project explored mercury contamination in the Tapajos River in Brazil thought to be due to gold mining upstream. Exploration from all angles showed that mercury was leaching from deforested soils affecting a much larger area than presumed. Downstream populations thus had to learn the threats they had when consuming fish…they could eat nuts and berries containing selenium to help offset the threats. A framework was made, using many perspectives, and strategies formed to allow continued fish consumption, while limiting heavily contaminated species.

The example above can help you think about Ecohealth in practice. Now I’ve created an example from my life, where I can take this framework and perspectives, holistic approach, to solve a problem:

I have a boyfriend, almost 10 months together. And I get paranoid…having not been in a longterm relationship for quite some time, I find myself getting jealous or just overthinking a lot of everything…c’mon ladies…ruminating about how he could be looking at the waitress while he’s out at dinner with his parents, that’s pretty extreme. But I’ve thought that, in all honesty, and it’s become bothersome in my everyday life. That’s where I take this ecohealth holistic approach to reduce my paranoia, jealousy, and overall stress. I spoke with my boyfriend about how I was feeling. Then I spoke with my best friend, for another perspective. Then I sat in my own thoughts and still couldn’t come up with a very good solution to the issue. I spoke with a few more of my friends, and repeatedly talked to my boyfriend (to which he thinks I’m absurd for thinking these things, but hey, I think that too!). So I finally talked it out and thought about it enough to find a solution; STOP talking about it. By finding many perspectives, I realized I was increasing my thoughts of jealousy by always bringing them up. I didn’t necessarily remove the issue. I just found a way to deal with it…if I avoid talking about it to people, having heard their perspectives on it, I found that was all I needed. Like the contaminated fish, those thoughts are still in my mind…I just fish for the less contaminated thoughts.

So with any life journey, take from it what you find most relevant to your life. Ecohealth reminds me to look at the larger picture, and from there, I should be able to find an answer.

Before I finish, I’d like to take a moment for the fisherman, gold miners, boyfriends, and crazy girlfriends out in the world. Annnnnd moment done.

A.


Fresh Start.

2013. New year, new resolutions. Eat better. Exercise more. Take more risks. Gain self-confidence. Find true love… So generic. Yet I find myself basing my New Year goals around these themes. Just like every other girl my age. But I’d like to phrase my goals in a slightly different way.

Be consciously aware of what you put into your body. Avoid rumination and maintain good health by playing a sport I’ve always loved. Be ready to face a hard semester of classes, research, volunteering, and whatever else life throws at you. Stop questioning your abilities and just roll with it…if you forget you’re beautiful, then how will you every truly accept that you are? And finally…put in as much effort as you seem fit in the current relationship, with hopes that it will all pay off in the end. It’s not about finding true love from just a man, but loving yourself too.

 

Step number 1 to achieving these goals this year: resist the urge to fear. The weak break the easiest. Be strong, or at least pretend (with hopes that your pretending will lead to actualization).

Step number 2: have fun. Study time is study time. Relaxation time is relaxation time, and so on. When it’s time to joke around and be playful, forget the other stresses until necessary. Living in the moment requires the ability to segregate the everyday stresses in life from the adventures.

And last, but not least, step number 3: if you don’t love it, leave it. If any of the above goals turn out to be a waste of time, or a path leading to failure, bail. I have learned over the years that a goal can only be achieved if you put in equal amounts of effort and passion. Without effort, you will not succeed. Without passion, you may succeed, but it won’t have a significant impact on you and your life…so why waste your precious time? Go big or go home.

I sure love the sweet smell of success. My success, or the success of my friends and family. How rewarding it is to see someone glowing at the fact that they were triumphant, that they proved to provide enough effort and passion to compete their goals…sharing a moment like that with someone is a reminder of how important it is for us to support one another. How success should be regarded and rewarded in some way. A brief high-five, maybe a quick compliment…it all counts!

 

So Happy New Year to you all. Good luck with your New Year resolutions. Remember to reward yourself, and others.

A.

Know it.