What it Really Means to Be “Healthy” & Why There’s No One-Size-Fits-All

Guess what? If we all followed the same advice, no one would be healthy.

By: Emma Lunsford

Let’s be honest. What it means to be healthy is a very turbulent topic, and the internet only makes it more confusing. With just a simple google search, information like if you eat gluten, you’re unhealthy, or if you don’t work out 7x a week, you’re unhealthy seep into your feed. But does this make it true? Absolutely not. And here’s why:

What It Means to Be Healthy: All About You!

Health is the most personal thing on the planet. We all have different bodies, backgrounds, microbiomes, genetic factors, environments, and various levels of personal growth that play into our wellbeing. 

This means that what’s healthy for one person might not be healthy for you. For instance, your friend could thrive off of a low-carb diet, but every time you try it, you don’t feel as good. Does eating carbs make you unhealthy? It depends on your circumstance! It could be that a low-carb diet doesn’t mesh well with your bodily functions, which is 100% okay! Time to try something new. (P.S. of course, always consult your doctor before going on a new diet!)

The other thing about health? It changes. As our bodies grow and get older, our needs change — our body adjusts how it operates to cope with age, stress, and general life shenanigans. So you have to evolve with it! Maybe that looks like increasing/decreasing calories, doing more self-care, or changing up your exercise.

In a nutshell, health is about feeling as good as you can mentally & physically. It’s about stepping into your personal power and feeling amazing from the inside out! And since we’re all so different, there’s no way a one-size-fits-all approach works for everyone. We have to amp up our health based on what works for us as individuals!

3 Ways You Can Measure Your Personal Health

Hello, self-awareness! Because health isn’t based on universal attributes, it’s crucial to know yourself. If you want to feel healthy, you have to know what helps you get there! However, there are some pretty basic ways we humans can measure what it means to be healthy: physically, mentally, and socially. 

(You can also add intellectual, spiritual, financial, or environmental health to the list, but for this exercise, we’ll stick with these 3!)

#1 Physical

Pretty self-explanatory, right? Physical health can include things like resting, eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, managing stress levels and keeping up with hygiene. 

But let’s go a little deeper. 

Not only are rest days extremely important for workout recovery, but sleep can impact many of your body’s primary functions, like digestion, blood pressure, and blood sugar. Get those 7-9 hours — or whatever feels best!

Obviously, proper nutrition gives your body the energy it needs day-to-day. It can also help prevent disease and support muscle growth. You might consider a more mindful approach to nutrition; increase your self-awareness to choose foods and portions that help you stay healthy.  

#2 Emotional/Mental

Emotional and mental health can look like journaling, meditating, setting boundaries, implementing more self-compassion, going to therapy, taking regular breaks, doing activities that make you happy, and practicing gratitude. 

Of course, you don’t need to incorporate all of these things into your life at once. That would be so overwhelming!

But you can pick and choose where you feel you need the most improvement and go from there. For example, if you want to start meditating, take a look at these guided meditations to get you going:

RELATED: 6 Habits to Support Mental Health During Colder Weather 

#3 Social

After 2020, we all realized how important socializing is. Loneliness fatigue is real! Humans are definitely social creatures, which means taking your social life into account is a wonderful way to stay healthy.

This looks like surrounding yourself with loving relationships, regularly reaching out to friends, asking for help when you need to, and allowing yourself to rely on others for support. It’s okay to offload some responsibilities when life gets tough! We were never meant to do it all alone.

Other ways to work on your social health:

  • Get involved with your community by volunteering.
  • Schedule calls with your friends and family.
  • Find groups with the same hobby as you!

What Does Healthy Mean to You?

Defining your own version of what it means to be healthy is actually key to sticking to New Year’s resolutions. Think about it. Are you likely to stick to a habit that doesn’t work for you? No way! 

But if you have a goal you love and know works best for your health, sparks fly! It’s way easier to stick to a resolution that will leave you feeling fabulous.

So, which area of your health do you want to focus on in the New Year?