I grew up on a holistic lifestyle – seeking natural remedies for physical pain. When I was in my early 20s, I would turn to acupuncture for stomach aches rather than going to the nearest drugstore to purchase an over-the-counter medication. I was raised with the belief Western medicine is just one option to turn to for your medical needs – not the only option. If there was a way to help myself through Chinese remedies or treatments, then I would use them. Also, Western medicine is much younger than Chinese medicine, which has been around for centuries, and we still have much to learn about Western medicine. 

However, I do believe there can and should be a balance between the two. Where Western medicine or treatment fails, Chinese medicine could prevail. Or vice versa. Chinese medicine or treatments shouldn’t be a sole replacement for Western medicine but instead another option to explore for your own health and wellness. There are benefits to both options. 

For people that choose to live a holistic lifestyle, nutrition is very, very important. Even from a young age, nutrition has always been important to me. I have also always been a fitness lover, following daily exercises and routines to build strength within my body. Nevertheless, dance and movement have always been a part of my childhood. As a dance performer, your body is specifically important; therefore, the nutrients you ingest are equally as important. 

Nutrition is, unfortunately, incredibly underrated in terms of helping illnesses. Simply changing your diet cannot only improve your physical health but it can also greatly help your mental health – a benefit that many individuals do not commonly realize. What you eat can affect your mood and your pH balance, which is why it’s so important – especially for women – to maintain a healthy pH balance. More often than not, our body begins to break down – physically and mentally – when we do not get the right supplements, such as Vitamin D or Vitamin C. 

Getting the right nutrients is not the only way to maintain a healthy pH balance, improve your mental health, or help with underlying illnesses. Exercising is a key element and is recommended by many. When implemented into your daily routine the right way, fitness can be a beneficial source of wellness for your body. For example, exercising outside can be a great source of Vitamin D – without having to rely on over-the-counter supplements. Additionally, going to a nutritionist so they can recommend a diet that coincides with your exercise routine that coincides with your diet, which can also help with your mental health.  

Our mental health is affected by so many factors, but eliminating what can trigger a specific mood can help alleviate that additional stress to your body. Exercise is a great benefit but much like holistic medicine and traditional medicine, it is not the only option. Finding a fitness program that works for you is the best way to help your physical and mental health. Everyone is different and rarely is there an option that works for everyone. For example, many fitness experts suggest yoga as a stress reliever but yoga may not be for everybody. Exercising outside or swimming can be other areas to relieve stress on your mental health while also strengthening your body – as long as they are options that work for you. 

Since the world was put on lockdown last year, many people’s mental health has been greatly affected by the changes that occurred then – and now. “Bouncing back” from a major disruption to your life is never easy – even if it’s on a minuscule scale. 

We’re expected to return to our daily lives with not so much as a complaint but that’s not always the case. Our health and well-being should always be a priority, regardless of other people’s expectations of us. In June, tennis player Naomi Osaka shocked the media and other professional athletes when she made a bold decision to drop out of the French Open due to the impact the post-match press conferences she would have to attend would have on her mental health.  

Naomi’s decision was controversial because as a professional tennis player competing in the French Open, she is required to attend these press conferences as it is a part of her media obligation. Many people criticized her decision – claiming she knew what she signed up for when she entered the tournament. But her decision was bold and empowering. Professional athletes have immense amount of pressure, internally and externally, to perform at the best of their ability. That pressure weighs heavily on their mental health but we often do not see it or realize it. Naomi’s decision to take care of her mental health should not only be a sign of strength but it should also be respected. 

Throughout my life I’ve faced obstacles that have made me feel as though I was starting my journey from the very beginning. But I’ve always put my health and wellness first. Getting the right nutrients that my body needs and engaging in an exercise routine that works for me has made me a better teacher, guide, and entrepreneur. Truly finding what works for you can help to strengthen your mind, body, and spirit just as well.