Reaching for Wellness, guest post by Leah Childress

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Ever since I was a little girl, I have always looked up to my aunt. I remember striving to be like her, seeing how strong she was despite what she had gone through in her life (even though as a child I couldn’t understand the true meaning of her story and the implications it carried with it.) Whenever my mom told me I would get to see my aunt I was always thrilled, more excited than I was to see any other relative, and when my mom joked that I was stubborn and strong headed and shared far more in common with her sister than I did with her, questioning if I wasn’t really Deborah’s daughter. 🙂 I always beamed with pride.

Maybe it is because of my admiration of my aunt as one of the strongest female role models in my life, that I developed an interest in her work, or maybe it was because movement exercise and yoga have always been passions of mine. Either way I know that from a young age I loved coming to my Aunt’s studio. And as I got older I loved helping out whether it was answering phones or coming down for a school internship. So being able to come to my Aunt’s studio this summer as a Physical Therapy student, and working as an intern has been an absolutely empowering and incredible experience. Everyone here has made me feel like part of the family and showed me so much kindness. I want nothing more than to truly do my part and help the studio however I can.

So when I came up with the Reaching for Wellness summer challenge and was able to start making things happen I was thrilled and I figured I should share what wellness means to me. When I try to define wellness in terms of my own life, it is tied to the balance of three things: remaining active in body and mind, listening to myself, and gratitude.

I think the first part of wellness has always been the easiest for me. Remaining active in my mind and body is huge to me. If I am not working towards something, whether it is to be physically stronger or to complete a goal I feel lost. It often can throw off my entire week if I feel like I have nothing to do. I think remaining active in my physical body as well as in pursuing the dreams and goals my mind creates is a huge part of wellness. I think it would be impossible to strive for wellness without defining your goals and reaching forward to try and achieve them. To leave a mind and body completely idle and not push to try and better yourself and achieve all you can seem like a waste, it even seems to me to go against what our very purpose is.

The next part of wellness for me is listening to myself. This can be slightly harder for me to do. While listening to myself in finding what my goals are is easy, listening to what my body asks for is sometimes harder. While pushing yourself to be better is a great thing, without finding balance in listening to when you need to rest it would be quite destructive. It is important that I find balance in allowing my body time to heal and relax and recognize that this is just as needed.

The last aspect of wellness is the one that I struggle with the most and that is gratitude. I think Gratitude is a major part of keeping balance in our lives. I think it is very important to show gratitude towards yourself. To be thankful for your bodies ability to move and the goals you have accomplished because of it. To be thankful for your mind’s ability to drive you forward, and to be thankful to yourself for listening to your own needs.

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