While I was training for my nutrition coaching certification through Precision Nutrition, we learned about the concept of “Deep Health”. Traditionally we think about “Health” as our blood pressure, cholesterol levels, regular exercise, eating a “healthy” diet. But “Deep Health” goes beyond this. It is our ability to thrive in multiple dimensions of our existence. The figure below shows 6 domains of the Human experience that comprise a “Whole person” approach to good health. You could be a fit, physically healthy marathon runner, but if you do not have a sense of purpose or live in a non- supportive environment, your Human experience could be quite challenged. These domains are not entirely separate-they are, in many ways, intertwined where improvement in one domain may also result in improvement in another domain. Deep Health is achieved by findng balance among these elements that all play a critical role in our well-being.
In this age of COVID 19, many aspects of our lives that we may have taken for granted have been turned upside down and now require effort to balance. For me, it was going to the gym and seeing my friends. This was an every-day thing that just happened for me. Now, with gym closures and my support network dispersed, it has left a gaping hole in my “Relational” domain which was one of the strongest domains of my existence.
How do we achieve this balance? The first step is simple awareness. If we can take a step back and assess our life situation objectively in the context of these domains, we then take steps to change our situation. One strategy is to assign each domain a number on a scale of 1 to 10 with 1 being “poor” and 10 being “excellent”. This exercise will help to identify areas of your life that are doing well and those that need improvement. Once you have identified these areas, it can be overwhelming trying to navigate the obstacles. A very effective strategy for approaching a daunting problem is to take small steps. Taking steps that move the needle in the right direction motivates us to take more steps, and before we know it, we are making real progress. Once you identify what you would like to improve, take a “5-minute action” each day – one small step that takes 5 minutes – toward your goal of improving your existence in that domain. For me, a 5-minute action was doing an internet search to find a new Crossfit gym, or texting my friend, Kate to set up a video chat. Through many of these 5 minute actions, I have recovered my Relational domain by finding a new gym and reconnecting with friends. Now more than ever we need to take charge of our well-being. Sometimes in the throes of a situation it is difficult to see the forest for the trees. But with awareness and a promise to ourselves for better days ahead, we can chart a course toward achieving Deep Health and greater sense of well-being.