Last week I was feeling a little under the weather, which led me to writing about the perfectionism that it brought out in me. After several days of not feeling so hot, I woke up yesterday morning feeling somewhat healthy for the first time in a while. It was, as the saying goes, a breath of fresh air – not only physically, but mentally as well. It reminded just how powerful a healthy day can be on the journey to long-term wellness.
It might not seem like it if you haven’t been reading this blog for a while, but a post like this wouldn’t have existed a few years ago. Early on in my mental health journey, I didn’t think I was capable of having what I call a “good day.” To me, a “good day” isn’t where something amazing happens or I have a stroke of luck or good fortune; it’s a day when I experience joy, happiness or my endorphins are boosted in some way. I used to think that some people just weren’t capable of having those good days, and I was one of them.
This was also a time when I was still focusing on happiness above healthiness. It might sound obvious to some, but I was undergoing a relentless pursuit of being happy, and kept wanting to unlock this secret it felt like so many people already had. I’d read books, try exercises, watch videos about changing my mindset – I was going to train myself to be happy if it was the last thing I did.
As you can probably guess, that type of approach was not only unsustainable, it also didn’t work. Chasing a feeling is hard to begin with, but when that feeling is as vague and broad as the term happiness, you’re going to run into trouble. So I figured out the next best approach I could. If I wasn’t going to be happy, I was going to be healthy. And that’s when things began to change.
So back to the other day, my “good day.” I wouldn’t say that it was the most magical day of my life, or something jaw-dropping or awe-inducing happened. I woke up, I meditated, I worked, I exercised. I ate breakfast, lunch and dinner, and then in the evening I watched TV with my girlfriend. And the reason I look back on it so fondly is because throughout the day, I just knew how healthy I felt, how good I felt. It’s not a feeling I’m used to, and it’s not one I have often, so I embraced it.
A breath of fresh air is what you call something or someone that is different than what you’re used to, and having a pleasant outlook on my day and enjoying it the way I did was absolutely that. And as I hope that I can capture more of those healthy days (if I’m fortunate enough to), I’ll remember the way I felt on this one – fully alive, present in the moment, and doing the best I can to enjoy the space I’m in.