By Natalie Haider, Psyched4Success
I previously believed that “health” was a destination, a number on the scales, my ability to obsessively restrict calories, a particular size of clothing that I could squeeze into, the amount of gym sessions I could pack into one week. I used to think that relaxation was an annual event, coinciding with forced Christmas closure in my workplace, or my daily ritual of consuming eight shots of coffee to keep me ‘relaxed’ or ‘winding down’ with copious amounts of alcohol on the weekends. Sleep? That was a bonus once everything else was ticked off the priority list. Occupational success? That was inversely determined by the number of nights I spent sleeping in my own bed rather than being somewhere else in the country delivering back-to-back wellness programs to various workplaces (ironic, I know).
I was wrong. The pursuit of this version of “health” in fact culminated in my demise.
After experiencing numerous chronic and recalcitrant infections and illnesses such as bronchitis, tonsillitis and pneumonia, in October 2013 I was diagnosed with adrenal fatigue. I now view this as a blessing in disguise, catapulting me into my journey of health.
Health is not merely the absence of illness, but the abundance of vivacity and vitality that enables you to flourish in all aspects of your life. Health is about achieving your own definition of success in the things that matter to you most; it is not about fitting in to unrealistic and perilous societal standards. Health entails having renewable and sustained energy to do the things you love, feeling connected to others, embracing a positive relationship with yourself, and feeling optimistic about your future.
Redefining health for me personally has involved:
o Prioritising sleep to repair adrenal dysfunction
o Fuelling my body with nourishing, organic, whole foods to repair my gut dysbiosis (when the baddy bacteria outnumber the goodies) from years of anti-biotic use and poor food choices
o Drastically reducing caffeine and alcohol intake
o Setting and protecting personal boundaries (learning the most important word: NO)
o Restructuring my work / life balance
o Incorporating mindfulness into daily life and fostering an attitude of gratitude
o Routinely doing things that make my heart sing, such as immersing myself in nature
o Moving my body in joyful ways such as through tai chi and walking my dog
o Reducing commitments in my social calendar to allow more “me time”
o Scheduling a daily meditation practice
o Eliminating rigid thinking and arbitrary “rules” (good and bad food, “no pain, no gain”)
The changes I have seen in the past 10 months have motivated me to continue with my behaviour and lifestyle change regime. I have not been sick at all, which is extremely rare for me; I have felt abundantly energetic and focused; my mood has been positive and stable; my hairdresser has commented that my hair is the strongest and longest it has ever been; and people comment that my skin feels soft and looks radiant. I don't believe that I have achieved "health", but rather I am continually achieving health"
How do you define health? What are the ways you nurture and nourish your health?
Natalie Haider is a Psychologist, Health Coach, Workplace Wellness Facilitator, and University Educator with over 13 years’ experience helping people achieve their wellness goals through a combination of psychology and coaching services.
Natalie is the woman behind Psyched4Success, a Psychology and Health Coaching practice based in Sydney. Natalie specialises in empowering people to define and achieve their version of success by building on people’s existing strengths through a process of transformational coaching.
She has worked with high performing athletes and sporting bodies, professionals, executives and corporations in both a one-on-one and group context. Her particular interests are centred on busy professionals who struggle with stress, time management, balancing work and life, applying self-care and maintaining sustained energy by helping them implement lifestyle changes to improve their overall health and wellness; and women who are concerned about their relationships with food and their body by utilising a health at every size (HAES) framework teaching body acceptance, mindfulness, intuitive eating, self-nurturance, stress management, and joyful physical activity.
If you would like some guidance and support in redefining and rebuilding your own health, reach out to Natalie via one of the following:
Phone: 0402 292 631
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