Health is More Than a Pant Size: My Year of Health

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pantsAt the beginning of this year, I read about a popular actress who embarked upon a ‘year of health’ in 2020. The article, unsurprisingly, focused only on the physical aspects of health. In a year of crazy curveballs, I thought to myself, there is more to health than physical health. It brought me back to my days in nursing school when we would focus on the other, more holistic, view of health. I decided that 2021 would be my year of holistic health: prioritizing the other aspects of health that don’t center on the physical.

For my Year of Health, I am looking at a myriad of things that contribute to my overall health: spiritual, financial, mental, and my relationship with my husband (aka SEX). All of these took a dumpster dive in 2020. Like, I poured gasoline on some of these items and lit them on fire, threw them in said dumpster, then rolled it down a steep canyon. I needed some definite hard work on myself. In my trusty journal, I wrote down my current state in each of these areas to serve as my starting point.

The first area of dire need was my spiritual health. This will look different for everyone. For me, it includes incorporating meditation and mindfulness into my daily routine. I really lost this practice in 2020. Every day, I was just trying to get by, and worried a lot about the past, present, and future, instead of staying in the moment. During one meditation, the app that I use brought this quote to me: “Don’t let the past steal from your future.” I couldn’t change what had happened in the world, but I could focus on the here and now. I now do a daily meditation to start filling my spiritual health cup.

Financially, 2020 was rough. There are a bevy of different ways to create a budget and learn to stick to it. For me, it started with calculating everything the household spent and took in and putting it all in a trusty spreadsheet (secret: I nerd out over Excel). My husband, daughter, and I met together to talk about our spending habits. First Alliance is a great place to find budgeting tips for you and your family financial health.

Mental health is at the forefront for many people right now, as so many struggled in 2020 and forward. Myself included. The constant stress of what will happen next, along with no social life, and behavioral issues with our little one had my mental health in shambles. I knew that this was a big area to work on. I dug back into the toolkit my amazing therapist gave me during 2020 and went to work. The feelings came back out in our household, and now we talk a lot about how we are feeling. My spiritual health and meditation really helps balance my mental health (look at that! It’s all connected!).

Lastly, my relationship with my husband. By that, I mean sex. Sexual health is important, y’all. In nursing school, I distinctly remember my instructors mentioning that sex is a basic need in the Maslow Hierarchy of Needs, along with food, water, and shelter.  With all the other aspects of my health in crisis, sex was the furthest thing from my mind. Sex was the last thing I wanted after a long day at work, or just in general. My mind wasn’t there, my heart wasn’t there, and I. Just. Was. Not. Feeling. It. When I looked at my past nursing school papers and noticed/remembered that sexual health was important, I rolled my eyes. Hard. Then I started to think of how many times my husband and I did the deed. It wasn’t a lot, and our physical relationship was strained. We weren’t hugging when we got home or some days, even a kiss. Granted, the amount of alone time/dates we had was zilch. We are working on this. For starters, we are making a point to have some alone time without computers or tv after we put our daughter to bed to talk, cuddle, and yes, have sex.

My year of health may look different than that of a famous actress, but to me being healthy is more than a pant size or how many calories I eat. Here is to my year of health!

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Natalie grew up in Rosemount, MN and moved to Rochester 6 years ago to work as a nurse. She has been married to her amazing husband, Jason, for 12 years and a mom to a vivacious, spunky and strong-willed daughter Gwen (4). Natalie is a postpartum depression survivor and a strong advocate for family mental health. Natalie currently works as a nurse in surgery at Mayo Clinic. She enjoys being a big nerd and embracing her quirky side. When she is not chasing Gwen around, beating Jason in cribbage, or belting out Disney songs, she can be found with a glorious hot cup of coffee or a glass of Salem Glen Moondance and reading a good book. She loves to hike, travel, read, be outside and dance like no one is watching. Her favorite season is fall because it is a reminder that change can be beautiful.