Healthy Relationships Contribute to a Healthy Lifestyle

A healthy lifestyle is about more than nutrition and exercise.  Career, finances, spirituality, relationships, and other life practices, choices and circumstances contribute to your health in a bigger way than you might think.  This week I have been thinking a lot about relationships.  Solid, connected relationships feed your soul, energize you, and can help to reduce food cravings and stress eating.

I am very close with my sister.  We’ve been through a lot together – spring break at the beach, health issues, new boyfriends, career struggles, divorce, the passing of our mother – and through it all she has been the constant in my life.  She is my confidant, my antagonist, my ally, and the person who can make me laugh until I cry with a single word.  My sister gave me the best fitness advice I’ve ever received when, as a teenage girl she told me, “Stand up straight and hold your stomach in.  It will grow that way”.  My first ab workout!

When I am at home in Pittsburgh, my sister and I live about 20 minutes apart.  Yet, with all of the demands of daily life, we probably only get together every couple of months.  We talk on the phone almost every day, even if it is just a quick hello, but sometimes that’s as far as it goes.  I’ll be busy writing when she calls or she’ll be swamped at work when I call, so we don’t always have time to get into a deep, connected conversation.

For the past three weeks, I have been blessed to be at my place in Florida, escaping the drab, cold, grayness of winter in Pittsburgh.  I was further blessed when my sister and her husband came to visit for a few days.  It was a great opportunity for us to spend some quality time together, just hanging out and living life.  This visit has reminded me of the importance of staying connected, and has made me think about all of those times I was too busy talk or too distracted to listen to her.  The next time we are just talking on the phone, I will stop what I am doing and focus on the conversation.  After all, she deserves my full attention!

Is there someone in your life you are taking for granted?  Who do you need to reconnect with?  Reach out!  Cherish and nurture those relationships.  Spending time supporting and listening to a friend could actually be good for your health.  Watch out for those relationships that sap your energy and bring you down, though.  Relationships should be give and take.  You don’t always have to be the giver!

Thanks for reading.  I think I’ll go call my sister now.