My commitment to a lifestyle that is healthy has a basis on the recognition of its value in reenergizing my life and as a source of inner strength and wellness. This realization is a part of the lessons that I obtained from my struggle against depression at the age of 15. After the experience of this debilitating emotional and mental condition for weeks, and with encouragement and help from close family members and a counselor, I decided to take charge of the situation by understanding the reasons for my persistent sadness and sense of rejection. This focus influenced my awareness of, and sensitivity to, the need to take care of my general wellbeing, including mental, psychological, and emotional. In this context, I took up the practices of Reiki, use of energetic gems and stones, and meditation as ways of promoting my healing and wellness, especially in times of transition and insecurity. With time, I extended this focus of self-care to the physical and nutritional aspects of my life following the truth that all these aspects of care were interdependent in contributing to my overall wellbeing and health.
From that time, I felt the need to maintain my commitment to a healthy lifestyle in recognition of the critical value of such commitment towards maintaining my sanity and wellbeing by preventing a relapse back towards depression. I recognized that besides supporting and sustaining my overall health and wellbeing, commitment to a healthy lifestyle was critical if I was to avoid a negative force in my life and reach my potential socially, intellectually, and professionally. This change in my attitudes was especially significant in my identity as a female teenager, and later young adult in a college environment. This is because of the importance of the needs to portray a “positive” image to peers, find acceptance among them, and belong in groups.
Young ladies in college are constant victims of negative evaluations of their bodies, attitudes, and behaviors, as evident in trends such as body-shaming. As a young lady who had suffered from depression, I felt especially vulnerable to these risks in the college environment. This vulnerability strengthened my recognition of the need to take special and effective care of my wellbeing to avoid the risk of redeveloping depression. With time, my experience of the benefits of a healthy lifestyle in promoting my self-confidence and self-esteem, as well as alertness, motivation, and endless energy in the performance of routine work and roles in my life, have maintained this commitment.
As a student, the effort to maintain my physical and mental wellness involves the commitment to make competent and informed choices in my life and the environments that I experience based on recognition of the effects of these choices on my wellness. This commitment is consciously selected because of my desire to avoid traps in life and environment that could affect wellness. I have committed to particular norms and choices in life that have practical value in maintaining ones commitment to a healthy lifestyle. In college, these choices relate to care about the activities in which I engage, the friends with whom I associate, the foods and drinks that use, and the level of physical activity. The choice of friends with whom I interact is critical because friends and peers are some of the most important influences on an individual’s lifestyle and activities. From the perspective of diet, I have committed to avoiding the foods and beverages that are available in restaurants and cafés operating in and around the college, instead preferring to cook my own meals at home. This choice has enabled me to take charge of my diet and nutrition to ensure that it is healthy and balanced, and to focus on using organic and whole foods. In terms of physical wellness, I have established the routines of walking and engaging in the sport as the activities of my leisure.
The availability and costs of natural products are important factors in the effort to maintain a healthy lifestyle. To obtain organic and natural products, I have to travel a relatively long distance and pay a higher amount relative to unhealthy foods and beverages such as sodas, fast foods, and snacks. It has been a difficult decision to live and maintain a healthy lifestyle since unhealthy foods and beverages are relatively cheaper and easily available in the college environment. The commitment to decisions is essentially a daily struggle against the convenience of these foods and beverages in the college environment.