We have all heard, read, seen and possibly even experienced the pitfalls of overwhelming financial debt. After all, even our very own country is experiencing trillions of dollars of debt. Financial debt, if not addressed and dealt with, can lead to work, family and health problems. You would probably search in vain for someone who would disagree with the last statement. We are bombarded with debt-reduction seminars and self-help books. The general strategy is to identify the cause, stop the increase of debt and begin to chip away at it one small step at a time.
That being said, I want to introduce an equally dangerous type of debt—wellness debt.
Here is how it might start. Over time, you have neglected placing an emphasis on physical wellness (exercise and eating correctly). You have “talked it,” but not actually “walked it.” Excuses for not exercising and eating correctly have become rote and routine. You are able to verbalize them without so much as a thought. Fatigue begins to increase along with the reading on digital scales in the bathroom. Your ability to handle life’s problems (stressors) has become somewhat decreased. You find yourself feeling pressure and being on edge more often.
That once calm “you” has been replaced with someone you don’t even like. You are depressed and filled with anxiety. On the outside, you glare at yourself in the mirror and realize the person staring back at you doesn’t look as good (or as healthy and vibrant) as you would like. You say to yourself, “I need to start exercising one day.” You even reach the point of saying, “I am going to start a workout program next week.” However, when next week arrives, nothing changes. You have now acquired wellness debt.
In Need of a Reality Check
I am not trying to depress you with this description. I am trying to get your attention and ask you to be honest with yourself. With over 30% of Americans being extremely overweight (30 pounds or more) and stress-related illnesses on the rise, I think there is a strong likelihood that some of you who are reading this article at this moment may be in need of a reality check. Additionally, please remember, you do not have to be overweight to suffer from wellness debt. Some extremely unhealthy people, who have a ton of wellness debt, can look slim.
Is this you? Are you in a place of wellness debt? Have you built up a mountainous lack of attention to wellness? It can be insurmountable and overwhelming. However, there is hope. In much the same way a person would address financial debt, you can begin to address wellness debt. Here are some action steps:
- Be honest with yourself. Don’t sugarcoat things! Are you unhealthy to the point of being in wellness debt?
- Force yourself to MAKE mandatory, regularly scheduled times available that are solely devoted to exercise.
- Gradually make more healthy choices in the foods you eat. Try to eat at least one healthy meal a day at first, increasing the frequency over time.
- Educate yourself about foods/vitamins/minerals/supplements.
- Get with a trainer or friend to help you develop a good exercise plan.
- Make the plan realistic with small, short-term goals.
- Begin to chip away at your wellness debt until it is eliminated.
- After the wellness debt is eliminated, begin to build wellness equity.
Give yourself an honest wellness assessment! The time to get out of WELLNESS DEBT is NOW!