Photographer Joie Takaki is pursuing her dream of building her own business. In this guest blog series, she shares her journey from beginner to expert with us.
It happened, again. This time, in Slovenia. No wonder it's addictive. Every time I travel, I come back feeling like an improved version of myself. I return with a new insightful outlook, a stronger sense of self, and more love for life! It wasn't even intentional. In the past, our holidays were typically one of those epic adventures that feels like an amazing race. This time, our holiday surprisingly turned into somewhat of a Wellness Retreat.
Our days were spent on high adrenaline, snowboarding along the picturesque snowy Alps. Our evenings ended with relaxing and rejuvenating whirlpools, water slides, saunas, steam showers, and natural oil massages.
With nature all around us, refreshing mountain air to breathe, adrenaline-pumping exercise, followed by hours of indulgence in the spa, all these healthy and healing activities had a restorative effect. And something just clicked. I began to notice that there was this connection, between what we were doing on this therapeutic holiday, and my life, overall.
I recognised that there was a deeper approach to the whole concept of health & wellness. And that this realisation would ultimately become my greatest lesson of last year.
The beginning of 2014 was such an emotional and uncertain time for me. I felt very confused and unhappy. I don't believe I had ever felt this way before. I use to be the one who knew exactly what she wanted and just went for it. Now what I wanted seemed fuzzy. So I lost my bearings and my direction was disarray. Plus, I have a very low threshold for unhappiness. If you know me well, I am easily overjoyed. I can find happiness in the the most unusual situations and even with mundane activities. I'm the one in the room constantly roaring with laughter. Ask my husband. I wake up happy, I go to bed happy, and I am pretty much happy in-between. A single day of unhappiness is already too many. So this cyclical period of confusion and sadness was very foreign to me. I really had no clue how to get out of it. Or so I thought…
Within months after the trip, I woke up and my life had somehow changed, without me realising what had actually happened. But it had all started during this break, where my thoughts started to reflect upon ‘Where I was' and ‘Where I am now'. My expat life abroad, my marriage, my friendships, my career, my physical, mental and spiritual wellness – somehow my life as a whole felt like it was all where I wanted them to be. It wasn't all perfect, but it was all wonderful! Everything felt ‘right' and I felt I was in a really happy and healthy place. That explained the inner peace I felt glowing within. And I couldn't stop smiling again. In fact, I felt very proud, as I instantly acknowledged that the reason I felt this way, and the reason my life turned around, were direct results of all the healthy choices I had made last year.
Then I began to consider what well-being meant…
We exercise and eat healthy to take care of our bodies.
We indulge and pamper ourselves when we feel we have earned it for our hard work or for our sacrifices, or simply because we feel we deserve it. Pleasure nourishes our souls.
Now I realised that well-being is beyond taking care of yourself in the way that you eat, or how much you exercise, or getting enough sleep. It is more than treating yourself with spa treatments and weekend getaways. Although all the above are essentials. Taking care of yourself also means making healthy choices in every aspect of your life.
‘The choices you make now, the people you surround yourself with,
they all have the potential to affect your life, even who you are, forever.'
~ Sarah Dessen
Every day we are bombarded by a million choices. Rather than choosing A or B, and be done with it, choices should be made with consideration and with the understanding of why we are choosing to do something. Wellness occurs from choosing with thoughtfulness. Wellness evolves from choosing authentically. It is questioning your options and choosing the one that you know will produce something positive at the other end of your decision. Your choices will lead to consequences that will either feed your life with more negativity or more positive energy.
Healthy choices also include the people you choose to interact with, be it chatting, texting, emailing, socialising, or simply allowing certain people within your surroundings or even in your mind. Think of it like eating healthy or exercising, you should feel energised, happier, or simply feel better after every interaction or thought of them.
Each and every one of our choices are powerful determinants. WELL-BEING arises from our own CHOICES, and our life naturally unfolds to reflect those choices. In other words, the quality of our life is shaped by the quality of our choices. When you make choices that you know will lead to positive and healthy outcomes, and you consistently make these healthy choices, all these choices add up, and one day you will wake up to realise that wellness has become an inevitable part of your life.
What healthy choices could you make to improve the quality of your life?