A Wellness Checkup

As I approached my birthday, it was another event that reminds me to pause and look at how I’m living. My retirement life vision has me “living a healthy lifestyle”.   Recently I told someone that I knew of a couple whose life vision was “50% fitness and 50% fun” and they reacted, “How could someone exercise 50% of the time?” It made me realize I think about fitness, healthy living, or total wellness a bit differently!

So here’s my birthday Wellness Check:

  • Eat Well – Eat real food, in moderation (smaller portions), with more fruit & veggies (Have fruit available on the counter and chips hidden away in the pantry!). I still need to boost drinking more water and be more careful about overeating when eating out.
  • Move Well – Walk more (until past couple of weeks my FitBit said I was averaging close to 7K steps/3 stories a day…need to get back to that!), continue weekly yoga, and find new zumba/cardio outlet. I need to make the added in strength training a habit and do more Walk & Talks.
  • Think Well – I love my journaling, blogging, crosswords puzzles, and reading for enjoyment (I joined 2 book clubs this year!). I also spend time on visioning, spirituality exploration, and I am restarting my memoir work.
  • Be Well – I regularly do emotional monitoring, gratitude listing, and have quiet time (especially outdoors). And I’m continuing to try meditation.
  • Connect Well – I’ve learned that my gift to friends (and hubby) is to continue to be the designated planner! I plan the date nights, the dinner dates, and mini-adventures. Next up are a mid-week foodie adventure, a Reds game, a cooking class, and a local soccer match.
  • Play Well – My areas of non-productive fun include live theater shows, craft shows, gallery walks, farmer’s markets/boutique food stores, and mini-adventures. I’m tracking my 101 New and/or Fun Things this year; I’m at 90 mid-year so it looks like I’ll surpass that goal. I’m trying to start up some creative exploration as well.
  • Stay Well – I plan and do all the check-ups/health screenings including periodontics, dermatologist, eye doctor, and oncologist. And I do regular financial check-ups too.

What does total wellness look like for you?

 

Picture Credit: Playing with Canva!

41 thoughts on “A Wellness Checkup

  1. Hello Pat. I couldn’t agree more that fitness is much more than exercise, and wellness encompasses every aspect of our beings. I’m impressed, as always, with your list and appreciate the acknowledgment that wellness is a work in progress. There are ebbs and flows, times when we are doing particularly well and others when we slip back and need to remind ourselves to get going again. I love it! Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Christie, i think sometimes I write these posts to give myself some inspiration to get back on track, back into balance, back onto living the vision. Because as you say, there is an ebb and flow to life.

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  2. Hi Pat,
    I like the idea that couple had of boiling this down to “50% fitness and 50% fun”. When you think of your day in terms of that – and the fact that fitness is more than just ‘physical fitness’ – it boils everything down into a very understandable scenario.
    I also really liked your list of what wellness looks like. Yes to all.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My friends really do live that life too. It’s actually inspiring for me as a recovering workaholic. My personal vision is a bit more 25%s – active, connected, creative, and contemplative. Now I’m going to have to think about the link of my wellness check up to those 4 buckets! LOL.

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  3. You have a good list there, Pat. It’s interesting how you describe Play Well activities as ‘non-productive”. My wellness plan has six categories (emotional, physical, social, intellectual, environmental, and financial), and a few goals under each category. Thanks for linking up with Wellness Wednesday. Hope you’ll join us again in September.

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    1. Natalie – hmm… environmental wellness is not one I’ve considered.

      I put non-productive as play because those things are enjoyable but for many of them I’m just a spectator. I’ve struggled with not being productive in retirement and this helped me acknowledge that it was OK. Maybe not for everyone, but it worked for me!

      I need to keep track of the Wellness Wednesday…this one was just so coincidental!

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  4. Pat, you have outlined what I consider to be a nearly ‘perfect’ retirement plan. The only thing I would add is, travel well. Travel adds the spice to life for me, and it can be as simple as a day trip to see a museum in a neighboring city, or across the world to learn about other cultures. The best thing about retirement is that you are the author of your own story.

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    1. Interestingly travel is a compromise area. Hubby is definitely a homebody. I traveled extensively while working and have mixed emotions about travel – I love experiencing new things/cultures and seeing new places, but I also stress big time being in crowds or being unable to communicate. I thought we would travel more in retirement, but we are choosing our trips carefully and infrequently. This year our focus has been on learning to exist in two homes. I’m thinking we will do a big trip next year…and am starting to think about where. Plus I’m going to reach out to some women friends who travel without hubbies…they also have homebody hubbies and have linked up to travel together. Thanks for the nudge to really think through travel well!

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  5. I love your comprehensive plan Pat and think it sounds very do-able! I aim for 10000 steps a day and have cut out most sugars and reduced my carbs, eliminated alcohol and am feeling good as a result. I think you are acting in everyone’s best interests by being the designated planner, everyone has their own strengths! #mlstl

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    1. Deb, Thanks for supporting my designated planner status! Sometimes I still get a bit down and wish someone else would plan, but I do enjoy the events. I’m needing to re-commit to reduced carbs after last nights (planned) friends dinner. Amazing bread and steak fries… oh dear.

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  6. Pat you seem to have it all summed up and on target. I like how you have a wide range of wellnesses and a plan for each of them. You’re far more organized in this approach than I am – I’m tending to go with the flow a lot lately. My walking is above my goal and my eating is pretty good, I could probably do with a little more socialization, but with it being Winter, I’m not feeling all that motivated in that area – maybe I’ll improve when it gets warmer.
    Thanks for linking up with us at MLSTL and I’ve shared on my SM 🙂

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    1. Leanne, One of my strengths (hard for me to even say that) is creating a framework out of chaos… basically organizing thoughts on paper. It’s more organized on paper that in real life sometimes.
      And being a planner, these summaries force me to put things on the calendar!

      When I retired, I needed to do a lot of intentional relationship work as I lost 80% of my interactions with people when I stopped working. I had no-one to talk to and I like conversation. Especially “smart” conversation – not gossip. Blogging helped but IRL face to face conversations required planning. And still do… scheduling lunches, dinners, or walk & talks with friends is still always on my to-do list.

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  7. Firstly, happy birthday. As you know I’m on my own little journey to eat better and move more. Six weeks in and I’m 4kgs down – the main change being portion control and limiting starchy carbs. I’m also moving more – sure that means exercise, but it also means moving. I think that also extends to not only moving your body but also moving your mind, your perspective, your viewpoints. I love how you’ve defined wellness in this post. #MLSTL

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    1. Jo, My journey to eat better derailed last night. Good bread and amazing steak fries my girlfriend insisted on sharing. Fries are their own food group to me and these were really good ones! I think I ate 2 potatoes. Ah well, back on the track today. I like the idea of “moving your mind and perspective”.

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    1. Jennifer, I love when I read blogs and am inspired to create my own lists! But I’m a list maker. And a lover of putting words on paper. Please steal the idea (and as many of the words as you want) if it works for you!

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  8. I don’t have quite as many defined categories as you, but I do actively manage many of the same.

    Eat well – my wife Jackie (aka the Kitchen Goddess) and I are both excellent cooks, so we eat at home 90% of the time. We have almost no processed food or fast food in our diets. We make an effort to keep condensed carbs and refined sugar to a minimum. I also find that I feel better if I keep the gluten consumption low, though I am not officially diagnosed as being “gluten sensitive”.

    Supplement well – this is a category that you did not define, but I follow regularly. I will not bore you with a recitation of my entire regimen, but for example, my “breakfast” is Bulletproof coffee which is about 24 oz. of home-roasted coffee with 1 Tbsp of soluble fiber, 2 Tbsp of collagen peptides, 1 Tbsp of grass-fed butter and one Tbsp of C8 coconut triglycerides added. This makes a delicious, foamy, latte-like beverage that feeds your brain and staves off hunger for hours. I also take a daily “gut health tonic” that has about 16 oz. water, 2 oz. of tart cherry juice, 2 Tbsp of lemon juice, 2 Tbsp of fermented beet juice, 1 Tbsp of soluble fiber, 1 Tbsp of unmodified potato starch, 1/2 Tbsp of inulin and 1/2 Tbsp of psyllium. In addition, I take about 15 or so other supplements including a probiotic that are all targeted to certain aspects of my own biochemistry. I know it sounds a little overwhelming, but when you establish the habit, it’s not hard.

    Sleep well – this is absolutely crucial to good health. I was getting enough hours of sleep (once I retired), but it was sort of fitful, frequently interrupted sleep. I have vastly improved my sleep with two supplements. One is 5 mg of melatonin and the other is a pollen extract that really helps with reducing the need to use the bathroom during the night. Both are helpful, but the melatonin is amazing. It has increased the amount that I dream immensely. This is an indication to me that I am reaching deeper sleep levels more frequently.

    Move well – I definitely take this seriously. I do a hard workout 2x per week with a trainer that combined cardio and strength training. I also walk whenever I play golf. This can get me 12,000 steps per round (more if I’m hitting the ball particularly wildly that day). I do need to add a separate cardio session or two at home, but for some reason, it has been hard for me to find the motivation. One of these days. 😉

    Stay well – I too, do an annual physical and do all of the preventive screenings and immunizations that are recommended. I started getting an annual flu shot once I turned 50 and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the number of colds/flus that I have experienced have gone down dramatically in that time.

    I also make sure that I am mentally stimulated and I connect with folks through my playing golf and choral singing. I also do a lot of DIY and woodworking and other building projects that give me many opportunities for problem-solving and creativity.

    I hope that all of this will add up to prolonged “wellness”, but we’ll have to wait and see. So far, so good.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bob, Your supplement well paragraph actually had me shuddering a bit. I am sure those things taste OK, but they sound like they would not! I just had some minor surgery and the doctor had me off all (my comparatively few) supplements for 3 weeks prior and well into my healing stage! I was a bit surprise, but he was adamant. And since I’m dealing with a potentially compromised wound healing (post radiation), I am following his guidelines well. (And healing well.)

      I thought your comment about steps and wild balls was funny. I thought your golf swing was improving with the trainer you’re seeing!

      I do like the broad thinking on wellness – from supplement to sleep to mental simulation and connections.

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      1. Pat – the Bulletproof coffee is actually delicious. The gut health tonic is perhaps an “acquired taste”, hahaha, but I take it faithfully because I know how important gut health is in the overall health picture.

        Let’s say that I have learned a lot about golf in my lessons and my swing is different than it used to be, but my handicap has barely budged. I believe that I am close to a breakthrough, but I feel like there’s one little thing I just don’t get that would make the difference in my full swing. I have the strength and the flexibility to play the game, but sadly, my technique is not quite at the Tiger Woods level yet. The situation is reminiscent of my homemade mayo making. I was having a failure about every 15 batches or so and just could not pin down a cause. Then I changed the way the oil was added to the emulsion and now I’ve made dozens of batches without a failure. I just need to find the golf analogue to the oil addition and I’ll be on my way.

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  9. I love this Wellness checklist! We have made some eating changes in our lives over the past several years. Sugar is our culprit and so we limit carbs and refined sugars. Only organic fruits and vegetables, grass fed/grass finished beef, pasture raised chicken and eggs, never farm raised fish and limit our portions. It is a little more expensive to eat this way, but since it is just the two of us we can manage it. We usually split the entree when we eat out because so many restaurants serve such huge portions. Exercise is something we need to incorporate more into our daily routine. Love to read your blog as it is full of such practical, attainable ideas. Thanks! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you about the “practical” comment. I also like reading bloggers that I can reapply practical tips from.
      You are much more conscientious than I am – I have not gone the organic or pasture raised routes. Portion control, less carbs, and more fruit and veggies is really our current focus. I am happy to deal with leftovers now also… as I focus on portion control, that’s been a learning curve.

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    1. She actually really thought fitness was just “exercising” (I believe she asked also “how can someone spend that many hours at the gym?”) which made me think about my broader concept of wellness. And yes, life is about balance in so many things!

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  10. I’m glad to see that you have made peace with “always being” the instigator among your friends (I know you were uncomfortable in that position for a while). People like you who have the ideas and get the ball rolling are incredibly important. That is not my natural role, and I’m always grateful to those who take the lead. Your focus on healthy eating reminds me of a documentary I saw recently called That Sugar Film. It really opened my eyes to all the hidden sugar in processed food and how bad it is for us. Fortunately, processed food is not a normal part of our diet… yikes! Good for you for eating real food as much as possible.

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    1. Janis, Yes, I’ve fully claimed my “designated planner” identity. I do have a few friends now who will also plan, but most are happy that I pull things together. Tonight we have a group heading to a new restaurant, and on Saturday another group is heading to a local soccer game. Sometimes the plan ends up just hubby and me… he’s realizing that he’s my back-up person if I can’t get someone else to play with me! And so, he is not that happy about our tickets to see the Reds play Thursday night…but he’s going!

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  11. Looks like you have the hang of retirement. Glad you found some recurring social outlets, book clubs, as well as satisfying alone things, crosswords/ journaling. I hope to get better at the gratitude journaling to help me focus daily on the positive. Different subject i.e not post but blog in general, I was talking with a friend yesterday who is struggling a little with retirement even though it’s been several years. Reassured her that it’s okay to try something, volunteer/part-time work, and decide it’s not working or doesn’t fit current lifestyle. Everyone needs to let go of the “perfect” retirement. It’s still okay to fail, pick yourself up without negative judgement, and try something different.

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    1. It is so true that there is an expectation of what the “right” retirement is! I love having a blogging community of recent retirees and soon to be retirees that can help remind me… as you reminded your friend… that there is no “perfect retirement”. There is the right retirement for you…which is different than the right one for me. And “trying things on” is part of figuring out what is right. Maybe I should write a blog of all the things I tried that I did not keep doing! Maybe some are “failures”, but most just made me realize it wasn’t for me. Keep supporting your friend as she explores … it’s great to have IRL buddies like that.

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