Marcie Claybon
January 9, 2023

Reframing Our Perspective of Wellness in The New Year

How do we reframe “the rules” of living well?

Happiest 2023 from the BIÂN Medical team!!

Truth be told, I’ve never been the biggest fan of New Year’s resolutions.  I used to pride myself as an ambitious gym-goer and found it irritating to compete with the January 2nd crowd for spots on the treadmill.  In my older, wiser, and less-fit age, however, I’m beginning to understand the inherent power of an arbitrarily designated fresh start.  I am officially now that person – the one who will now take up space in the chisel class she only sort of attended in the fall.  My apologies in advance if I occupy your spot in the weeks to come.

On a positive note, having grown beyond the overly rigid lifestyle rituals of my youth, I’ve come to embrace wellness from a wider and more loving lens.  Green juice cleanses are no longer the mainstay of winter plans.  But health, in its simplest form, remains a top priority.  Perfectionism at twenty-five has a strange way of morphing mysteriously into self-tolerance at 40, and ultimately self-love in the aftermath (or so one can hope).  Interestingly, in my own personal and professional journey, I’ve come to learn that the laws of energetics account for as much as willpower in the quest for healthy living.  I’ve come to realize that perspective is as powerful as intention - and that emotional well-being matters at least as much as medical therapy, dietary adherence, and other rote physical strategies in the human quest for optimized vitality.

In my role of supporting patients to become their best versions of self, I take ownership not only in what is medically advised, but in how such guidance is communicated.  I’d prefer to limit the extent to which I’m asked to calculate cardio minutes, judge the number of glasses of wine allowed, or meticulously zero in on one’s exact LDL level.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m as analytical as they come.  I understand the inherent appreciation for facts and figures and don’t shy away from comprehensive lab monitoring.  But I would encourage us all to recognize that true wellness, at its core, is not defined by a sum of numerical data points.  

So how do we reframe “the rules” of living well?  How can we shape our perspective of lifestyle goals to favor positive affirmation over self-limiting critique?  

Stop referring to intentional movement as “exercise”.  The words “exercise” and “workout” carry a negative connotation of something begrudgingly tolerated rather than actively pursued.  The mere idea of “exercise” is exhausting before any energy has actually been expended.  But movement is different.  We move to sweat out toxins, to oppose stagnancy, to release endorphins, and to promote blood flow.  We move out of welcomed necessity, not guilt.  We move to feel alive.  

Aim to feel lighter.   Not to “lose weight” - not to lose fat or to shed pounds or to fit into skinnier jeans, but to feel lighter.  This is a soul-level transition, not merely a physical one.  This is a goal not specific to achieving a shift in body composition.  Though, naturally, if one lessens their load in any capacity (by eating a little less, by worrying a little less), the release cannot help but manifest in multiple dimensions.

Learn to identify your personal thresholds for positive and negative human experience.  Recommended daily allowances and highly specified nutritional rules are not aligned with individualized needs.  If your intake of anything – (sugar, alcohol, red meat, screen time, HIIT classes, name your high) – feels like its hindering you more than enhancing your level of honest well-being, then by all means, own that, and cut back.  But conversely, if you’re subjectively thriving while following slightly-outside-the-box lifestyle habits, then don’t let a self-help guru tell you to revamp what makes you feel well.  You. Do. You.  

Embrace balance and imperfection.  It’s not only okay, but potentially more strategic, to allow for lazy rest days… to break an intermittent fast an hour early… or to say “no” when the energetic alignment of an obligation feels off.

May intuitive, rather than calculated, wellness be the intention for all of us in the new year.  I look forward to seeing you all soon!

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