I recently came across the phrase ‘deep health’. Aligning with the current focus on wellbeing, deep health means thriving in all domains of life: physical, mental, emotional and social.
We enjoy deep health when we are:
· physically robust and resilient: able to function effectively in the world.
· emotionally-balanced: our emotions are available to us, used for good and are generally positive.
· wise, agile, and kind: able to make thoughtful choices, solving problems compassionately and creatively.
· enjoying healthy, strong, affirming relationships: based on high-quality social connections.
· growing and developing: repairing and recovering, strengthening and flourishing, in whatever ways we are able.
With deep health, our lives are positive, affirming and moving forward.
All very woo-woo.
All very life-affirming internet meme.
But, there is more to ‘deep health’ than a spiritual sunset and inspiring slogan. Deep health encourages healthy indulgence.
We can’t burn the candle at both ends indefinitely and we can’t run the rat race forever, nor can we be hyper-productive all day, every day. As many of us know, if we try, we suffer. Hence the attention being given to wellbeing.
To achieve deep health, we are encouraged to indulge ourselves. This doesn’t mean a summer long alcohol fuelled blow-out, with people you don’t particularly like, who encourage you to restart that smoking habit you’ve been resisting. A weekend bingeing Stranger Things is one thing, a whole summer spent in a Netflix coma is meaningless, soul-destroying and life-detracting. These are unhealthy indulgences.
Conversely, a healthy indulgence is:
At the end of a healthy indulgence, we often feel satisfied and content. We are fully present for this indulgence. We are more alive because of it. Ok, a few days on a sun lounger reading a trashy novel might not be life-affirming, but it should be enjoyable. The time you spend relaxing — reading the papers, watching a movie, knitting, sauntering to the shops, or admiring the stars — isn’t time wasted, its time invested in deep health.
Our summers may not be endless, but they should be filled with lazy mornings, long lunches and luxuriously relaxing evenings.
And we shouldn’t feel guilty. A few decadent meals won’t hurt; a skipped workout might even help.
So, schools out. Switch off work and switch on time to socialise; connect (with yourself and others); relax and recharge. Find something to indulge in that will make you healthier in the process: physically, mentally, emotionally and/or socially.
Enjoy the summer. Your deep health and wellbeing will thank you for it.
Credit to Precision Nutrition for the deep health concept.