There is a lot of variance on what being healthy means for each person, and living a healthy lifestyle is a concept that needs to be tailored. Also, there's a lot of fads and bullshit "information" out there in the world of health "journalism". My title is an attempt to capture all of this. It's also a bit of a sarcastic and bratty approach. A nod to rebellion and indulgence.
So, uh, you should expect that approach in my writing. Often. YOU'VE BEEN WARNED.
Truly, though. I believe a positive and open approach to your health and health information is crucial, and that it's essential to balance that with a critical eye. A semi-health nut who also was an English teacher will demand transparency and credibility in her sources. (See below.)
I taught high school English in the San Francisco public school system for thirteen years. During five of those years, I also taught the health course. This was because I'd become very concerned about the health of the students and adults around me, and I witnessed how they could not excel in the other areas of their life until they addressed their health needs, so I decided to do the work to get my health ed teaching credential. Now, I research and write health curriculum, and I train other teachers how to teach health education, which includes topics like substance abuse prevention, comprehensive sex ed, nutrition, physical activity, and mental/emotional/social health. I also work with the school board, the ACLU, the State of California, the CDC, and many community-based organizations to improve health education for our youth.
I write about a lot of things. I also say a lot of things. I'm pretty decent at reading and listening, too. I love a lot of things, as well, but on the top of the list are people and dogs and traveling. Yep. That shit couldn't be triter or truer.
I am a highly sensitive and empathic person. I cry a lot. I laugh a lot.
I suffer from mental illness. The onset was about 1995, when I was fifteen. Mine is a special cocktail of anxiety, depression, body dysmorphic disorder, and skin-picking disorder. The use of the term mental illness, just like many things, has its advantages and drawbacks. Its contradictions. Even if you do not have a diagnosis of a defined mental health disorder, you likely know that many folks could achieve better mental health, and maybe that's why you're here. That whole idea that we usually have sick care instead of health care? I believe that, and I hope this blog can be one small part in the movement away from that paradigm.
I try to live mindfully and intentionally. I have made very specific lifestyle choices that help me to now feel more energetic and joyful than I ever have before. So yeah, you are meeting me at the highest point of my life so far. However, I still have pitfalls, of course, as well as years of past suffering to share about.
My current recipe for what I do for my body and mind, and for what I put into both of them in order to feel this vitality, has been developed from what I've learned over twenty years and thousands of dollars of psychiatrists, therapists, courses, books, groups, articles, podcasts, medications, supplements, foods, rituals, family, friends, haters, and life experiences. Though everyone's journey is different, and time is the most important ingredient for learning, I still believe that you might be able to use what I've learned to filter out some of the bullshit, find some strong resources, and fast-track some of your periods of suffering. Or maybe we can just connect to help us feel less alone in this whole life thing. If not, there are lots of other folks out there that you might vibe with. Either way, thanks for stopping by to read. It sure makes achieving my "writing for an audience" self-challenge a lot easier if I have, you know, an audience.
A note about the structure that my posts may sometimes take: I'll concentrate on my own experiences and knowledge on a topic in the"Me" section. Then, I'll give some advice and tips for folks who might be helped by something I've learned in a "You" section. (If you are just reading to learn some chisme about my life and don't want any preachy shit, you probably should skip that section). Lastly, I'll put on my health educator hat in the "Health Ed" section and contemplate how I think this topic might be approached if you are a teacher, or have children in your family or friend group that you'd like to guide. I've learned a lot as a student of health in school when I was a kid (much of it miseducation, unfortunately, that's taught me what not to do), in my studies for my teaching and health education credentials, and in my classroom experiences as a teacher- from both my successes and my missteps.
All written work contained in this blog is property of Cheryl Nelson.
Jardín Etnobotánico in Oaxaca, Mexico, photographed by Cheryl. Kita and Cheryl in San Francisco near Mission Creek, by photographer Raúl Cuiriz. Cheryl on a beach in Nayarit, Mexico, by photographer Candy Abad.