Taking care of your mind, body, and soul
I was recently listening to a podcast when I was running on the treadmill at the gym. It was by Joel Osteen, who is a Pastor at Lakewood Church. Whether you believe in God or don’t is not the point of this article. He made a couple of points in his sermon that can be applied to just about anything in our everyday lives. The topic that he was speaking on was about “Overcoming Weariness.” At some point in time you’ve probably felt tired, dragged down, and stressed out because of school, work, a relationship, or a personal struggle and that is all NORMAL. But they key is, how do you get yourself back on your feet, what are you going to do to overcome this? And this is exactly some of the points Joel talks about in his sermon! It’s all about having a balance and understanding what you need and don’t need, so you can live without regrets and feel confident and happy about where you are in your life.
Joel talked about how “too often we’re fighting battles in our mind, no passion, discouraged, not because of the enemy, but because how we’re taking care of ourselves.” He goes on to say that your body is made up of three parts: physical, emotional, and spiritual (and if you are not religious or spiritual in any way, you can omit this part). Joel says all three parts (or two) need to be taken care of. You can go to the gym everyday and workout for two hours at a time, but if you aren’t taking care of your emotional side, you’re not going to be your best. You can’t expect that by getting only four hours of sleep at night and drinking tons of coffee during the day that you’re going to feel great. Everything is about balance he says. Pay attention to the practical and natural things your body and mind is telling you. Don’t feed it or tell it anything that could wear you down and make you feel negative and tired all the time.
I know that you have a lot to worry about. You have things going on with your family, friends, and relationships. Things are busy at work and midterms are coming up for some of you. But you can’t go on your day to day life constantly thinking about what’s coming up next, overthinking what someone said to you, or staying up late studying, and taking on too many shifts at work, your mind and body needs to take a break for your emotional sake. That is why we have things like vacation days or weekends, having holidays, and summer break. But relaxing and taking a break shouldn’t be just reserved for specific times of the year or only when you booked days off from work. You have to make time, even when it seems hard because there is a lot going on, to take a break and to just stop. If you don’t take care of yourself, if you live overworked, rundown, stressed out, you don’t eat great, and you don’t get enough sleep, eventually it will catch up to you. If you keep acting in ways that negatively effect your body and your mind, you will essentially be “forced to” step back and take a break. And what Joel means by that is that you won’t be able to do the things that you used to do, not because of the “enemy,” but because we are not taking care of ourselves. You could be effected in an array of ways like getting sick too easily in the winter because you aren’t eating right and exercising. You have trouble focusing and retaining information in your classes because you aren’t getting enough sleep. You’re mind feels like a broken record all the time because you aren’t learning how to let go. These are all things that are stopping you from doing what you used to do. You need to be able to spend the time doing what you love whether it’s dancing or playing on a sports team. You need to make time for people like your family, friends, and significant other because having a good time and laughing is like a medicine. You will be your best and be more productive if you listen to your body and mind and understand what you need to balance the three (or two) parts of your body. If you neglect one area, it will limit what you can accomplish.
And figuring out what works and what you need to do will be different for everyone. For me, I always try to listen to myself to figure out what is it that I need in that moment or in a period of time. I try to listen and think do I need to go workout or will sleep benefit me more? I’ve been craving something sugary, would it be more beneficial to give into my cravings sometimes or to eat so healthy all the time and I’m left feeling deprived. You’re allowed to have bad days and have time where things don’t go right. It’s about balance. That’s what Joel is talking about because if you don’t fulfill certain needs or cravings, you’re going to feel rundown and unhappy. It won’t happen overnight, but if you work towards making small, practical changes, I promise you that it will make you feel better, look better, and act more confident.