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Happy International Health Day

In 2021, International Health Day (April 7) seems more relevant than ever. For over a year now, we together have journeyed through one of the most profound international health crises ever experienced.

Even as a light may be shining on the horizon with vaccine availability, resuming true levels of wellness are still elusive. It is being observed that for many, life under lockdown has taken its toll. Psychologists are reporting a rise in what has been called “pandemic fatigue” and burnout as many people experience cycling phases of restrictions more and more challenging, resulting in mental exhaustion, stress and inability to cope.

But there might be a silver lining to the current times, in that they have encouraged us to be more attentive to the basics of good health: proper diet, sufficient rest, hydration, exercise, and - of course, hygiene. And for many, the times are also proving to be just the little nudge some need to venture into the world of reflection, meditation and spirituality.

Mindfulness had been on the rise prior to the current pandemic, but often seen as a luxury rather than necessity. One of the top reasons given for not exploring the world of mindfulness was lack of time. Now that daily schedules are shifting, and time is even opening up...that obstacle has been removed. But inner resistance has not. For many, 'going in there' seems a mysterious, confusing, uncertain and even frightening thing to do. Which is ironic, since 'in there' is where quality of life really happens. The term is 'well-being', not 'well-doing'. It's no mistake that 'medicine' and 'meditation' share the same root; 'med' means "to take appropriate measures". Care of one's state of doing (that is, the body) is in the hands of medicine, but attention to one's state of being (that is, the self) is an inside job, and requires some tool or practice of introversion, whether one calls it mindfulness, meditation, reflection, prayer or self-talk.

The path inwards does not need to be an enigmatic one, but might be one that initially requires some guidance. Just as there has been an explosion of other wellness online tools in areas such as nutrition and exercise, online meditation tools have also markedly increased. So next time you find yourself online researching a DIY project, hunting down a recipe, or seeking a new fitness regime...take a moment to explore the wonderful world of meditation.

After a year, what have we each discovered about sustaining our own well-being? Perhaps, the times are showing us that 'when the going gets tough, the tough get...meditative'.

Judi Rich – The ACADEMY Fitness Instructor and Coach

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