Integrate Your Health: Commitment

In Dr. Nicole Cotter, Health and Beauty by Lola Magazine

Wedding season is upon us. Looking through the pages of this issue will inspire many of you who are planning your big day and remind others of their wedding in the recent or distant past. Although there is much excitement around the dress, flowers, and reception, we all know that a wedding is really a celebration of a commitment between two people building a life together. 

Commitment. Marriage is the quintessential example of commitment, but we make commitments throughout our lives, big and small. We commit to our children in motherhood. We commit to our education and careers. We commit to the PTA, our children’s sports teams, our neighborhood associations. Most of these things we do with gusto because we love the people in our lives and relish caring for others. 

But what about commitment to ourselves? Do we so readily commit to our physical and mental health? 

Our body is a complex system that requires self-care to function optimally: nourishing food, restful sleep, regular movement, and a peaceful environment. Think of the last time you didn’t get a good night’s sleep. I’ll bet the following day your brain was foggy, energy zapped, and temper short. How can we possibly expect to function at our best if we aren’t treating our bodies with respect? Self-care is not selfish. It is a necessity. There is truth in the saying “if you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t be much good to anyone else.” When our health is ignored, all of our commitments suffer.

Health is not merely the absence of disease. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines health as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being. While many of us are not sick, it does not mean that we are well. I argue that health, as defined by the WHO, is the real prize.

When you commit to true health, your perspective changes. You deserve to be in a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being! In knowing that, you no longer avoid detrimental activities out of deprivation but rather engage in positive behaviors because you deserve it. Motivation is not found on a scale but through the enjoyment of life. It is easier to avoid an unhealthy lunch if you know it will make you feel tired by the time you pick your kids up from school. In choosing the healthy option at mealtime, you are choosing YOU. Carving out time for exercise is a priority because you know that your energy level is better when you do and you are grateful that you can. Going to bed on time sets you up for a productive day tomorrow. You surround yourself with positive and uplifting people because these relationships make you feel good and lead to longevity. A healthy lifestyle is not a chore. It is a gift we give ourselves – an infectious gift that permeates our relationships and ultimately benefits everyone around us.

The new year brought a time of resolutions, but I encourage you to make a commitment to yourself instead. When you are truly caring for yourself, you will function at your best and be better able to care for and commit to those around you. You deserve it!