Fitness: it’s one of the most popular buzzwords on social media today.
Search it, and you’ll find hundreds of hashtags dedicated to the cult of self-improvement. We’re told we’re supposed to “be fit.” Try this class tomorrow, and this juice detox next week. Get a membership here, and we’ll give you all the tips and tricks to stay on track with all your fitness goals. Lose weight. Gain muscle. Don’t eat carbs. Don’t eat fat. Eat all the fat and protein you want, we promise it won’t make you fat, it’ll just teach your body to burn fat for energy. Running is good! Running is bad. Do this twenty minute workout four times per week and you’ll be all set to go!
Which of these claims do we choose to believe?
In the quest to find the solution to all our “fitness problems,” I believe we’ve come to focus our attention too much on the wrong things. Yes, you want to be comfortable in your body and be okay in your own skin. But who said you need to change in order to do that? We’ve forgotten that there is no one right way to be healthy and happy and “fit.” There is so much pressure to look a certain way, or to follow a certain regime, we’ve forgotten the reason we started this all in the first place: we just want to feel good.
Instead of placing the focus on fitness, I would challenge you to figure out how to lead a life that enables you to be well. What is the definition of wellness? This will look slightly different for all of us. I’ve identified a few main components to living a healthy whole lifestyle, but there very well may be more.
Three Components to a Satisfying Life
First, love your body for what it is, right here, right now.
We could all stand to be a little more gentle with ourselves, and a little more grateful for this incredible gift we’ve been given. When you look in the mirror, don’t poke and prod and pull at the parts of your body you wish were different, the parts you perceive as flaws. Instead, acknowledge your body for its strength, its forgiveness, and all it has carried you through. You are amazing, just the way you are.
If you love your body, it will be easier to give it what it needs in order to continue to sustain you.
What you put into your body, you will get out of your body, so give yourself lots of the good stuff. Feed it fruits and vegetables, yogurt and protein and whole grains. But don’t be afraid to treat yourself every once in a while, too – what is the point in life if not to enjoy the sweet things? The key is balance. Balance is a practice we will never quite perfect in life, which is why it is called a practice. You just have to keep doing your part and showing up. Be open and willing to learn, for life can be one of the best teachers around.
Second, move your body – in order to truly thrive in all aspects of life, we must first take care of ourselves. Be active in a way that makes you feel good, if only for twenty minutes per day. We are all busy, but if you make it your priority to move, you will reap the rewards. Go for long walks beside the river. Play tag with your kids. Swing from a trapeze or suspend yourself from an aerial yoga hammock, if that is what brings you joy. The key is to find a way to move that doesn’t cause you pain, but fuels you to go through your day with a little more ease. If we are active throughout life, we are more likely to remain mobile as time goes on, able to continue to do the things we love.
Finally, never forget the importance of people. Your community is there for all seasons of life. They are there to celebrate in times of plenty, and to be a life raft in times of need. Always make time for people. Your time on earth is short, and no project or career or amount of money can replace friends and family. Life is a wonderful teacher, and she is also extremely generous – the love you give, you will receive in return many times over. It is important to find meaning in the work we do, but we also find meaning in people.
So always make time for the people in your life – they are worth it, and so are you.
I am a big believer that there is no one-size-fits-all solution to living a truly whole, satisfying life. Living is about trying and failing and figuring out what works best for you. Here, I will be sharing recipes, tips and things I’ve learned to inspire you and challenge you in your journey. Happy wanderings!
Maia Thomlinson is a writer, poet, and circus artist who loves to combine the two mediums to tell her stories. Now based out of Montreal, Maia trained at Monica’s Danz Gym for twelve years where she had the opportunity to perform all over the world. She did her first happy handstand in 2011, and has loved balancing on her hands ever since. You can find more of her work at www.mdthomlinson.com or on Instagram as @mdt_handstander.