Episode 27: Know Your Family Health Habits

Good morning everyone, and welcome to NF Learning Lab, where together, we access our innate, iNtuitive wisdom as unique and self-valuing women, and share who we are becoming in a safe, sensitive community.

Last week, I was waiting for a doctor’s appointment, and as I often do, I took advantage of the down time to catch up on pop culture by leafing through a few magazines in the waiting room. One particular article caught my attention, because it focused on women in positions of power. I’m always amused by the surprise expressed in such articles, about things that seem obvious to me. In this article, it was ‘revealed’ that women in power, whether in professions, businesses, or politics, generally care most about matters that affect the health and welfare of people, and of families, and communities.

Well duh, I thought, of course we do. For as long as there have been women, we have cared deeply about such things. In fact, until fairly recently in human history, the welfare of family and community has been the main thing that women have cared about. We give birth to children, and we want to see them safe. We foster the health of our families, almost without even thinking about it. But what about our own health? How much do we care about our own, physical, mental and emotional wellbeing? How comfortable are we, with the very real fact that our ability to contribute to the health of our children, our families, and our communities, is greatly impacted by the condition of our own life area of health-fitness.

As you know, in recent weeks, we have been using, as our lens, the life area of ‘family’, and in particular, ‘family of origin', through which to explore the other nine areas of life that we work with in NF Learning Lab. This week, we focus our family-of-origin lens on the life area of ‘health-fitness’.

In our childhood, each of us was exposed, every day to the health, and health habits, of the other people in our first family. Probably without realizing it, we picked up beliefs about what it means to be healthy, as well as attitudes about whether it is important to even focus on being healthy. Our parents, siblings, and other close family members modeled for us, how to think about our health, and what to do, or not do about it.

One way or another, most of us learned that it is important to eat healthy foods and get plenty of exercise. Whether we were schooled in health at home or in a health class, at some time in our childhood, we learn that getting enough deep sleep is essential if we want to feel good and be healthy. And, as an aside, of course, it is also important to know the genetic makeup and health history of our parents and grandparents, to inform our own health concerns over time.

Some families are very health conscious, and others, whether or not they have healthy habits, may not focus on health and fitness, very much at all. Unfortunately, far too many families harbor addictions to things like caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, and prescription and recreational drugs. These mood-altering substances have their positive uses, but when they show up in families as addictions, they challenge the ability of the entire family, to develop habits that promote physical, mental and emotional health and fitness. A truly addicted adult will actually sabotage the physical and emotional health of the family, in order to maintain their addiction. Often, addictions are passed on to the next generation, and even when they are not, the patterns of shame and denial that accompany addictions are passed down. That means, that we can reach adulthood without a clear awareness about what it means to be healthy, or what is required to be proactive, when it comes to health-fitness. So, it is very useful to be curious about how the health, and health habits, of our family of origin might still be impacting the choices we make and the actions we take when it comes to our health-fitness.

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