Do you feel good most of the time? Do you wake up refreshed? Are you full of energy during the day?

Most of the time my answer would be yes, but in the last month or two I have found myself feeling overwhelmed, thinking Shady thoughts more than I usually do and behaving in disrespectful ways with my son and husband more than I’d like to admit. In other words I have been on the low road a lot more than usual. I’ve tried taking a  Pit Stop to let go of whatever unhelpful belief is holding me down but it hasn’t worked.

I recently worked out that it isn’t my Shady beliefs and thoughts that have put me on the low road… it’s my body!

In workshops with kids, big kids and parents I teach the importance of looking after our physical body and how it is the foundation of our overall wellbeing. In other words, when our body is not happy and healthy it is very hard for us to feel good, think helpful thoughts and behave in respectful ways. For kids to be physically well they need the following daily:

  • 10-12 hours of uninterrupted sleep
  • 1.5-2 litres of water
  • healthy food that suits their body
  • limited junk food
  • 1-2 hours of exercise
  • no more than 2 hours of screen time and
  • a few good cuddles.

If kids don’t get this (or close to this) they may be emotional, hard to get along with and behave in disrespectful ways.

My motorbike accident helped me appreciate my body and during my recovery I learnt that I could move freely without pain if I kept looking after it. Trial and error over the years has helped me work out my exact physical requirements, which include:

  • Eating foods that make me feel energetic and well
  • Not taking drugs and not drinking alcohol (these don’t suit me at all!)
  • Sleeping 8-9 hours a night
  • Exercising daily and mixing it up during the week (walking, swimming, yoga, gym – I don’t go hard, I just go.)
  • Drinking 2 litres of water a day
  • Getting a few good cuddles from my boys each day and
  • I also take one or two days off work (and home duties) each month to have a physical, emotional and mental rest day (where I relax with no ‘To do’ list).

For the last 8 years my overall wellbeing has been fantastic and I believe that has been largely due to my physical wellbeing being so good.

When we have a happy and healthy body, the rest of our wellbeing has a strong foundation on which to build. Imagine a beautiful house with strong, sturdy foundations, that’s kind of what our body is – a foundation for our beautiful self to feel great, think loving helpful thoughts and behave in loving and respectful ways.

When something happens to put our physical body out of whack (an illness, injury, a binge session or changes caused by hormones) then the rest of our wellbeing gets shaky. Remember becoming and being a teenager? If you’ve got a pre-teen or teen then you need to add hormones to the list of reasons as to why they may be on the low road.

Very recently I worked out that I am peri-menopausal which means my hormone levels are changing and my physical body is definitely and noticeably out of whack at random and unpredictable times. This is not a surprise in hind-sight, I will be 50 next month, however for someone who usually feels good most of the time, wakes up refreshed and has bounding energy during the day – it has been a bit of wake up call as to how hard it is to manage myself when my body isn’t happy and healthy.

An unhappy or unbalanced body could result in; less patience, less respect, less calm, less confidence, more anxiety, more judgement, more arguments and more aggression.

My theory is that Shady (our limbic brain) knows there is something wrong or out of whack with our physical body so he or she sends a message to our prefrontal lobe (our personality) to alert us. It is then up to us to rationally work out what is wrong and fix ourselves up.

The problem here is that when something is out of whack with our physical body then our prefrontal lobe (where our decision making happens) is likely to be out of whack too! When this happens, we run the risk of getting stuck on the low road; feeling bad, thinking unhelpful Shady thoughts and behaving in disrespectful ways (especially with our loved ones). We know we are doing it, but it is really hard to stop ourselves.

If we don’t stop ourselves and take the time to look after our body we could get caught up in a fake high (doing something Shady to make us feel better) like; fighting with people we love, eating junk food, drinking alcohol, taking drugs, gambling, staying up late on social media or watching addictive series on screens (everyone has their preferred ‘poison’). Fake highs are an attempt to make us feel better, but all they do is get us caught up in a Shady cycle on the low road which if we are not careful becomes our life!

What’s the solution?

Get our bodies happy and healthy so our foundations of overall wellbeing are strong.

Sparky (your inner loving wisdom) will help you work out exactly:

  • What you can and can’t eat and drink,
  • how much sleep you need,
  • how much water you need,
  • how much exercise you need,
  • how many cuddles you need and
  • how many days off a month you need to keep your whole self well and
  • how to manage changing hormones (when and if you’ve got them!)

Yes, I realise it is very hard to be disciplined with our bodies, but when we commit to building a strong and sturdy foundation for ourselves then the rest of our wellbeing (social, emotional and mental) is much easier to manage!

The biggest and best result of our persistent efforts for physical wellbeing actually happens for our kids. Kids don’t grow up and do what their parents kept telling them to do, they grow up and do what they saw their parents do.

Having a parent or parents who have happy and healthy bodies and who model physical wellbeing is hands down one of the best gifts you can give your child or children!

Enjoy your happy, healthy body. When I get mine sorted again – I sure will!

Love Kathy