I’m no health nut. I love me a good bedtime snack (dark chocolate, anyone?), I put cream in my coffee (the real stuff), and I’ll never turn down a glass of wine (or two). But as I age (oh, lordy, am I that old?) I’m becoming more and more aware of the fact that I ain’t the girl I used to be. When I was seventeen I could knock down a bag of Doritos and still have to hike up my size 1 jeans. Nowadays, I look at a Dorito and I feel the need to loosen my belt.

Okay, I might be exaggerating a bit. But health has been on my mind. And not just physical health. Mental, emotional, relational, spiritual…

I’ve come to the conclusion we live a lot of our lives in a slightly ill state. You know what I’m talking about — the “I’ve-got-a-little-sniffle-but-it’s-not-that-bad-so-I’m-just-going-to-ignore-it” approach to life. I think we exist a hair off-kilter (just a little too stressed, five pounds overweight because we can’t kick the bedtime snack routine, living with a grain of resentment because we’re unwilling to talk honestly with a friend). And you know what? It sucks. Sometimes a little of this and a little of that adds up to A LOT.

I want to live healthier — in every area of my life. And I’m starting to discover a few things that I need to be able to feel more balanced. More myself. More the woman I was created to be. Here are just a few of them…

I need sleep. At least 8 hours if I can get it. I know that’s probably crazy and a lot of you exist on much less than that, but trust me, I’m not pleasant when I’m sleep-deprived. And yes, that is my baby… He fell asleep in his high chair at lunch yesterday. Apparently he needs his sleep, too.

I need to eat well. I’m not always good at this (still love those Doritos), but I’m trying. My latest obsession is smoothies with spinach. I love spinach, but the thought of it in a smoothie made me cringe until I tried it — I swear, you can’t taste it.

I need books. To both read and write. Reading/writing may be a luxury to some people, or maybe a really nice hobby, but it’s fundamental to my mental health and wellbeing. I am simply not myself if I am not actively engaging my mind in both of these activities. Period. (This is my current read — loving it, BTW.)

I need this guy. In great big doses. Alone and with our kids. Laughing and crying and talking and being silent. Oh, and watching Castle and Parenthood together and playing football with our boys. Being busy parents and professionals to boot, it’s hard sometimes to make our marriage a priority. But I don’t like the woman I am when I am not fully engaged in the life of my amazing husband.

Okay, there are a ton of other things I need to be healthy including a solid prayer life, several hours of “work-out” time a week, good connections with my family and friends, abundant snuggle time with my kids and a daily cup of coffee (or two). I’m trying to make all of these things a priority — to allow myself to curl up with a book for a half hour break in the middle of my day, to phone a friend instead of shooting a quick text, to put away the piece of leftover birthday cake and choose a clementine instead — and I’ve got to tell you, I haven’t felt this healthy in years. It’s a pretty great feeling, and though I know it will come and go, I’m going to bask in it for a while.

Speaking of basking… The sun is shining on my favorite reading chair and I’ve got two chapters left in my book. 😉

Your turn: What do YOU need to feel healthy?

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