If you asked me five years ago to explain what personal health meant to me, I would have told you it meant fitting in size 0 jeans. I had a very distorted idea of the true meaning of “health,” which is upsetting coming from a registered nurse. I cared for patients daily and as long as I wasn’t the person sitting in the hospital bed…I figured I was healthy and well. At my lowest point I was out of work with a broken arm, diagnosed with hypertension, and eating pretzels for breakfast, no lunch and wine for dinner. I was mentally and physically exhausted going through an unexpected break up (says every hopeless romantic at 24). I had been working night shift for three years, ignoring all aspects of real life and then boom I have a broken arm and a broken heart. What was I doing? I took a trip to Cancun with my best friend who was experiencing similar feelings of self-doubt (we booked the trip and left two days later). While we were in Mexico we grabbed..well begged the bartender for a bottle of champagne, two glasses and we laid on the beach for hours talking about the life we want to live. We laughed, we cried, and we decided to make a change. When I came home, I began to think of what I could possibly change in order to live my best life. I decided to apply for my masters to become a nurse practitioner. I had the time and the one arm to fill out all of the paperwork. One month after applying to school and being accepted, I met my now fiancé who supported and encouraged me through the next 18 months ( I truly believe making one change will lead you to several other major life changes). I worked at the hospital on the weekends, and attended school Monday-Friday at the University. Looking back I am shocked I made it through that year, and even more shocked the boyfriend became my fiancé after putting up with me during that stressful time. Making the transition from nurse to nurse practitioner improved my quality of life tremendously. I had a “normal” schedule, with less stress emotionally and physically. Getting my masters was a personal decision that led me to a healthier way of life. We all have our own health journey, and the beauty is that we can create our own path. As I start to transition into my late twenties, I am beginning to understand the importance of personal health. I have the career I’ve always wanted, I am planning my dream wedding and I no longer have high blood pressure. I have built a great relationship with food for the first time. I have found what makes me “well” and what parts of my life were toxic to my wellbeing. Fitting in time for soul cycle with my cousin, applying my favorite anti-aging face masks while drinking champagne with my best friend, meditating using my iPhone (ironic) and taking long walks with my fiancé are the simplest contributors to my wellness journey, but let me tell you, it works. I challenge you to find the things that make you well, and then encourage you to put them into practice. The magic of the wellness journey is that you will face tribulations that if handled appropriately will lead you on your next path, which hopefully will be even better than the previous path.
P.S If you are ever stuck in rut, grab your bestie, find a beach, pop a bottle, and cheers to living your best life.