The word, “healthy” might be one of the most misunderstood and misrepresented words we use today. For so long I equated, “skinny” to “healthy” but now I know that couldn’t be any further from the truth. I also used to believe, “healthy” to be strictly physical. My opinion of the word, “healthy” has grown and evolved – just as I have. I believe healthy to be a state that’s reached from tending to the mind, body, and soul. Here’s what HEALTHY means to me.
As a reminder: I am not a doctor, nor do I claim to be! Any claims in this article are based on my personal experience and research. Please read my full medical disclaimer before engaging with my content or anecdotes. Also, as a reminder, this post contains affiliate links to certain products and I may earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you!) if you make a purchase based off of my suggestions.
What Healthy Means to Me
It’s important for me to put down some of my ideologies around the word “healthy” and what healthy means to me. I know there are so many opinions about what “healthy” means! I’m putting out context regarding what healthy means to me because I want to ensure that my understanding of the word isn’t misconstrued with someone else’s idea of what healthy means.
My understanding of healthy comes from my experience with being unhealthy physically. In the past I have struggled with physical health issues such as asthma, chronic bloating, and fatigue. I’ve also struggled with mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and insomnia. In the past I also didn’t necessarily take care of myself. I ate a lot of processed foods, put myself under unnecessary stress, and just overall didn’t tend to my mental or physical health mindfully.
About eight years ago I started on my healing journey – unpacking and being present with my unhealthy mind and soul. I started to handle stress better. I began having a better understanding of myself and others. The depression and anxiety I used to claim, “as mine” wasn’t as prominent as it once had been. I was cultivating a healthy mindset!
Five years into my healing journey I started to experience so many physical ailments. Chronic bloating being one of the most uncomfortable and prominent. I had overhauled my energetic, spiritual, and mental health and now it was time to overhaul my physical health.
At this point in my life, I am the healthiest and happiest I’ve ever been in my body. Not only physically (with blood/hormone test results to back it up) but also mentally and spiritually.
I’ve been marinating on the word, “healthy” for quite some time. Even though my body is in its best physical health… I know that “health” is much deeper than that. And in that depth is a whole lot of nuance.
What healthy means to me is a healthy balance of tending to my mind, my body, and my soul. But more importantly, what healthy means to me is feeling good in my mind, my body, and my soul.
When I was solely taking care of my mental/spiritual health – I had an imbalance because my physical health was still not being tended to. When I was solely taking care of my physical health, and neglecting my spiritual and mental self-care practices, I had an imbalance! I didn’t feel good until I put all the pieces together.
What a “Healthy Mind” Means to Me
First and foremost, a healthy mind to me is an accepting and accountable mind. I don’t believe a healthy mind to be a “positive all the time” mind because life isn’t positive all the time. But being able to accept the lows and “negatives” and taking accountability for the hand you played in what you’re experiencing is healthy.
Accepting yourself, unconditionally, is healthy. But being accountable is healthier. While “perfect” doesn’t exist – there is always room for improvement, and you can’t improve without accountability.
A healthy mindset is choosing to sacrifice short term desires for long term goals. It’s choosing to say, “no” to things that might feel good initially or in the moment but ultimately would lead to greater mental suffering.
A healthy mindset prioritizes mental health.
A healthy mindset is also:
•a deep understanding and recognition of your emotions
•being able to process and express emotions without being overwhelmed by them
•a sense of self-worth
•an ability to adapt to changes
•bouncing back from setbacks
•viewing those setbacks as opportunities
•healthy coping mechanisms
•admitting when you are wrong
•continuing to grow and learn, despite age
What a “Healthy Body” Means to Me
As I mentioned earlier, I used to believe that “skinny” was “healthy”. As I’ve learned and grown over the years, I learned that “skinny” might actually be a marker for “unhealthy” (in women, at least). A scientifically healthy body fat for women is between 20%-30%.
As someone who had worked most of her life trying to lose fat… that statistic hit home, hard. However, accepting that being a little bit soft and having some fat on my body is “healthy” was also healthy for my mind. Tapping into the radical self-acceptance I mentioned as part of a healthy mindset.
To me, a healthy body is a body that isn’t deficient in the nutrients (minerals, enzymes, or vitamins) that are necessary to sustain physical body health. Human bodies require nutrients to sustain basic functions. Humans also require so much more than just nutrients to survive! Things like water, sunlight, clean air, shelter, etc. A healthy body is a body that is provided with all of the things that we need to survive.
A healthy body to me is also aware of their health! Hormone and blood tests are great ways to gauge where you are physically. You can’t proactively work towards filling or fixing any nutrient deficiencies, hormone imbalances or diseases if you don’t know if you have them.
Healthy to me means that what I’m eating has the nutrients (minerals, enzymes, vitamins, etc.) that my body needs but is also sustainable for the earth and comes from a “healthy” practice. I used to believe that plant-based was “healthy” (not only for my body but also for the earth) but after years of research and experience – I know that this simply isn’t true. Taking that one step further: a healthy body, to me, doesn’t consume artificial ingredients or processed foods.
Adding nuance here: a healthy body isn’t restricted by the mind. Finding balance in my body meant finding more fruits as my source of sweetness and sugar – but also indulging in the occasional milkshake, dessert or other type of sweet treat.
A healthy body also:
•is capable of movement and mobility
•is in tune with its senses
•can heal and regenerate
•is capable of learning and has a strong memory
•isn’t fatigued and doesn’t “crash”
•has problem solving, decision making, creative and critical thinking skills
•communicates and shares ideas
What a “Healthy Soul” Means to me
The opinion of a healthy soul varies widely based on personal, cultural, societal, and philosophical beliefs. There’s no NIH statistic to pull on percentages or studies to cite for reasoning. Generally speaking – having a healthy soul, to me, means that you feel fulfilled. It’s a deep sense of well-being, an understanding of emotions, and a feeling of connectedness to one’s spirit.
The general themes of a healthy soul, in my experience, tie into:
•self-acceptance, authenticity, and expression of my most authentic self
•having compassion and empathy not only for others but also for myself
•practicing mindfulness and meditation
•belief and trust in a higher power
•a deep sense of connection to the Universe
•an ability to witness and manage my emotions
•a deeply rooted feeling of peace
•feeling unified with my environment
•appreciating the ups and the downs of life
•nurturing, supportive connections to others
•finding moments of gratitude
•a strong relationship with (and connection to) Nature and the Earth
I think it’s super important to circle back to nuance. “Healthy” has so many subtle distinctions, intricacies, details, and layers and is definitely not one size fits all. This also just briefly outlines what healthy means to me! I’d love to know what healthy means to you, drop a comment below. A healthy body to me is also aware of their health! Hormone and blood tests are great ways to gauge where you are physically.