So many people get in the habit of using the word “healthy,” that we have started to misrepresent it. This has become a big issue in our culture today because of the “fat phobic” society we live in. You may think, “well if you don’t look physically ‘healthy’ you are not ‘healthy’ at all.” Here’s the reality. An individual’s health is not based on their weight and size. You may look “thin” but that doesn’t mean you’re “healthy” and in the same breath you may live in a “bigger body” but that doesn’t mean you’re “healthy” either. So, what does it even mean to be “healthy”? Well first off, let’s get in the habit to stop wearing the lens of “healthy” and put on the lens of wellness. Too many people do not understand health and wellness. Wellness looks different on every person because we are all created from different genes and DNA. Everyone also has a different story and lifestyle. Wellness is often lost in the word “healthy”, many people overlook it, and we want to bring this word to light because, yes, it may have common elements that relate to the word health, but they are different. Wellness is multidimensional, including physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, social, and environmental. When you break these things up, physical wellness is when the body becomes nourished through different activities such as exercise, sleep, nutrition, etc. Then you have mental wellness which is when society engages with the world through problem solving, creative thinking, learning, etc. Emotional wellness is being aware of accepting and expressing your feelings and being able to understand others. Spiritual wellness is when someone is searching for meaning in their life and a higher purpose in human existence and finally, environmental wellness is when an individual encourages positive close relationship between planetary health and human actions, choices, and well-being. Healthy leans more towards the word health, which is the state of someone’s physical well-being. Whereas wellness is the overall state of wholeness including one’s physical and mental state.
So many of us believe that you have to “look” a certain way to be considered good enough for society or “healthy” enough. Masculine stereotypes echo: tall, muscular, no emotions. Female stereotypes present: thin, beautiful, young, desirable etc. Little is represented when it comes to those who identify as non-binary or gender non-conforming folks.
So, what has this done to our society? Make us believe that being “healthy” is based on our physical image? Well, let’s break it down further. Let’s look into wellness. What if a male is “built” and has all the “muscles’ ‘ but mentally he is struggling with trauma, addiction, and develops an ED that has him extremely sick, is he “Healthy”? Physically he looks healthy, so people assume yes he is healthy but, his overall state of well-being isn’t. We have become so quick to judge someone by their appearance, you never know the state of someone’s wellness and what they are walking through. This girl named Erika Bennett shares her story about how the superficial pressure distorted her meaning of health and wellness.
Happy National Wellness Month!
This month is a great time to learn and become aware of the different components that make up wellness and learn how to make it a priority to focus on your well-being even during your busy lifestyles. What do you do to promote your overall wellness? Unsure what you can do to help your overall wellness? Well I’m honored to say that if you check out our website, there are plenty of providers who can help guide you in that journey! They know all about wellness; the importance, the evidence based knowledge, and just the drive to want to help you! Your wellness is our priority- let’s deconstruct diet culture together