By: Varuska Patni
As I got older, my concept of wellness and how I incorporate it into my lifestyle has evolved over the years. Simply put, I view wellness as the opportunity to remain healthy in various avenues of life (i.e. physical, emotional, spiritual, environmental, etc.). Since wellness encompasses so much, it is unique to each individual and thus involves a sense of creativity in our approach to maintaining our well-being. I believe true contentment breeds from fully engaging in daily activities and making them meaningful. Here, I share tips I have discovered to effectively incorporate wellness into our everyday lives.
As a vegetarian for the past twenty-four years, it is important for me to be conscious of my food intake, including its source and nutritional value. Being mindful of my food is one way I practice wellness. To practice mindful eating, I try to put away electronics, engage with others in conversation, and take a few moments to consciously think about where my food comes from. I feel a greater sense of appreciation for the food I eat when I think about how meticulously it was grown and packaged before coming into stores for purchase as well as the amount of effort this end-to-end process took. In addition, being aware of and selecting certain foods with specific beneficial ingredients can improve our physical and emotional health. For example, foods with higher levels of tryptophan are known to increase serotonin levels, thus boosting our mood. The preparation of certain foods can also be great for one’s well-being, providing another opportunity to practice mindfulness. For me personally, making homemade chai from scratch is therapeutic. I truly enjoy the process of grinding the ginger and stirring the spices for a more flavorful tea. While I make the tea, I try to involve my senses by taking in the scents of the strong spices and ginger while watching the golden brown color form.
Connecting with nature is also a great way to recharge. As a Jain, connecting with the outdoors serves as a great reminder of how all living beings are interconnected. This mutual support between all living beings allows me to feel a sense of belonging to a larger community. Doing yoga outside, or even walking outside, can help clear the mind to better focus on daily goals.
Aside from food and the outdoors, self-reflection and ensuring proper sleep are both powerful tools to incorporate as part of a wellness ritual. Writing out a list of tasks accomplished during the day alongside a to-do list can set the tone for tomorrow. Creating a gratitude list can help form an empowered attitude and an abundance mindset. Additionally, I avoid caffeine after around 5PM and looking at electronics an hour before bed to maintain a healthy sleep cycle.
These are just some ways I have incorporated wellness into my everyday life. Though the practice of wellness comes in many forms, it is important to understand that our well-being directly affects our thoughts, actions, and emotions. Maintaining one’s well-being helps reduce stress levels and risks of health issues, while forming meaningful relationships and ultimately a better quality of life.
About the Author: Varuska Patni
Varuska Patni graduated from University of Arizona with a degree in Physiology and minors in Intercultural Studies and Molecular and & Cellular Biology. She is currently looking into a career in healthcare and is passionate about health, wellness, and promoting education. She has attended pathshala (Sunday school) classes for over nine years, where she learned more about her religion, learned how to read and write Hindi, and formed long-lasting friendships. In her free time, she enjoys dancing, reading, spending time with loved ones, and meeting new people.