I Choose Health: How To Make Healthy Decisions Daily
Working in the arts and entertainment industry can be one of the most rewarding experiences, especially when you see your work on the stage or screen. But to get the work up and seen, sacrifices are demanded of you in many aspects of your life. In reflecting on all the sacrifices for my work that I’ve made through the years, the ones that affected my health were the most damaging. How do you protect your body, mind, and creative center? How can you choose health?
But what about playtime? I was inspired to write this post today, as it’s Cinco de Mayo and my birthday, and I’m really looking forward to attending a fine tequila tasting in West Hollywood. Do I do that on a regular basis? No. Will I make sure I also drink plenty of water? Yes. Will I probably have sugar today? Yes, it’s my birthday; I’m a human being. Social, work, family or any other real-life celebration or pressure can stretch your attempts at finding healthy balance in life. What is most important, is that you feel in control of the decisions you make about your health.
For many of my clients, we continually have this dialogue and try to strategize about how in specific moments he or she can make the “healthy” choice. Whether it be decisions about food, drink, finding a moment of peace, or making time for exercise, most forethought goes out the window when you’re faced with hundreds of emails, phone calls, and daily crisis on the set. Here’s an exercise that can help you develop your health “rules” so that in moments of quick decision, you always make one that meets your guidelines.
This exercise takes minutes, but can free you of the pressure of making “healthy decisions” when you don’t have the time to think about anything but your work (and sometimes, that’s ok). There’s even room for fluidity, as I often encourage my clients to come up with rules that decree they follow them only 60% of the time; on some things we have to make room for life. I encourage you to write down your rules, or type them as a note on your phone; the act of committing them to written language helps solidify these guidelines in your mind.
How and when do you choose health?
There are no wrong answers, this is a reflection of where you are today with what keeps you fueled and going. Try to list at least five guidelines for yourself in each category.
I choose health 100% of the time in these situations when I:
Examples: I never eat gluten because I know it makes sick. I never smoke when offered a cigarette. I take at least a 10-minute walk everyday.
I choose health 90% of the time in these situations when I:
Examples: I eat plenty of vegetables at every meal except when I see my friends for brunch on Sundays. I practice meditation or deep breathing most days to stay on top of managing my stress. I try not to eat too much processed carbohydrates, but if I happen to be at my favorite Italian restaurant, I get my favorite pizza.
I choose health 60% of the time in these situations when I:
Example: I always have a balanced breakfast M-F, but on the weekends it often becomes more of a “brunch” and I eat more in one sitting. I try to avoid alcohol during the week unless I have a work function, and I will consume alcohol on the weekend at social or work functions in moderation.
What set of “rules” do you follow? I encourage you to break away from the “Top Ten” lists that are very popular right now, an come up with your own list of what you know works for you. Commit to your rules, make room for fluidity and life, and feel in control of your health.