Your body is like a boat. It needs regular care to keep it balanced and in good working order. But even more importantly, it needs someone at the wheel charting a course to ensure a balanced and safe voyage. You don’t want to drift.
When you’re drifting, you’re not managing your health and where it’s headed. I’ll spare you the metaphors around the storms and rogue waves that might capsize you, and just say that being in control of your health is critical to your personal vitality.
I call it health drift. This is when your body is off course and your diet, exercise, sleep quality, and overall energy suffer as a result. Sometimes you don’t even know you’re drifting. I see this a lot with women but it’s not specific to any specific age, gender, or time in life – I suspect we all experience health drift at some point in life. Sometimes it is minor and you’re able to easily course correct, but other times, you might need some help to pull yourself back in.
Keep your bucket full
Think of it like this. When you’re born, you (hopefully) have really great vitality and your health bucket is full through childhood. But after high school as you enter your 20s, you start to go through some major lifetime firsts that often come with a fair amount of stress and pressure. Maybe you’re on your own for the first time paying rent, or you’ve got your first professional job or a full course load at university. As you adjust to a new schedule and new demands, you start to drift from the healthy habits you had when you were younger and had less on your plate. It’s not a big deal at first, you just have more going on and a little less time for wellness. You’re young and you push through. Your body adjusts to the changes but the level in your health bucket dips.
Ten years later and now you’re really in the thick of it. You’ve moved up at work, maybe you got married and had a child or two, maybe you’ve got a mortgage, or aging parents to look after. There are also some big life changes and losses along the way that challenge you. Once again these major stresses push you further out to sea, splashing more water from your bucket.
And it’s especially hard when you have children because, and let’s be honest, any energy you have at the end of the day goes to loving them up as much as you can. They take a lot from your bucket and now you’re drifting further and you look up one day in your 30s or 40s and realize how far you are away from shore. You’re not even sure how you got here. This is really common. And then you hit your 50s and 60s and now you wish you had more energy since you’re heading into retirement. Suddenly you’ve got time to find balance but you’re struggling with years of habits that you’d like to change and you’re not even sure where to begin.
No matter what age you’re at, you’ve probably drifted. And as the years go by it gets harder and harder to get back to an optimal level of health balance since you’re competing with a very full life. There are so many things competing for your attention. So it’s very natural that your health suffers. I always remind my clients that everything in your body is interrelated, so if you’re suffering in one area, inevitably your energy will decrease.
Then your metabolism will slow down and you won’t exercise as much as you need to. Health is a balance between whatever burdens you have on your life and the ability of your body to cope with the stress that is thrown at it. If you’re strong in your health focus, you’ll be able to course correct and reign in any drift you might be experiencing. If you’ve been drifting for awhile now, you might need a new map to get back to where you feel good again.
The real takeaway here is that energy comes from a balanced approach to health. It’s so easy to let your diet, sleep, and exercise take last place. But if you want to get back on track, you need to prioritize your health. If you do, you’ll stop drifting. You’ll get your energy back to a level that means you’re not just collapsing every evening into a puddle of Netflix and wine (although don’t get me wrong, I enjoy both of those things).
And the good news is that it’s pretty easy to tell when you’re drifting and your body is suffering. The symptoms to look for are any changes to your sleep quality, a loss of digestive health, and your diminished energy or stamina. Maybe you’ve got some insomnia or night sweats since you had that baby, or you find yourself always running to the bathroom at inopportune times (yes, I just said that). These are all signs that you need to change something in your approach to health.
Working together, I can help you find a better optimal baseline and teach you how to recognize the times when you’ve drifted so you can bring yourself back. Often lab work reveals the areas you need support in – like low iron or suboptimal blood glucose. Commonly lab results are interpreted in a black and white way when in fact there can be a lot of gray zone. When I do lab screening, I am looking for where the numbers fall within the suggested range and where there is compromise, I look to optimize. These are areas that can be easily addressed alongside a supportive approach to getting back to better health.
But really my goal is to give you the tools to recognize when you need to course correct and refocus your approach to your body. Together we can move away from a vicious downhill health cycle, to a virtuous and balanced approach that will bring your boat back to sunny shores.