Wellness is a journey

Photos by: Getty Images

It’s almost habit that whenever we’re asked how we’re feeling, most of us answer, “Great.” “Fine.” “Terrific.” Who wants to hear about the sleepless night, the backache, the headache or the anxiety we might be going through? That’s “stuff” most of us don’t share with just anyone. Yet, that’s exactly the “stuff” that needs to be addressed to keep us healthy. And according to the National Wellness Institute, staying well is “an active process through which people become aware of, and make choices towards a more successful existence.”  

You know the drill. Exercise. Eat well. Sleep well. Quiet your mind. In other words, take care of you. It’s a priority!

When it comes to diet, balance is the key word. And it’s not that hard. Eat nuts and whole grains. Lean protein. Seafood. Cut back on fat. Drink lots of water.  The youngins sometimes take health for granted. But talk to those folks who thought they could eat and drink whatever, whenever — and now are paying the price, having been diagnosed with such illnesses such as heart disease or diabetes. Diet is that important!

Double exposure image of strong woman.

And, staying fit is right up there with diet. The healthy souls who live in this valley, have no excuse for being couch potatoes. It’s a given — most are probably doing far more than the 150 minutes a week of “moderate aerobic activity” that the Department of Health and Human Services recommends. Essentially, if you live here, exercise is part of the program. No need to list them. You know them all. From gyms to fitness studios, this glorious valley -— with its skiing, rafting, climbing, hiking and cycling — is truly your oyster. Choose one. Or choose more than one!

“It’s really important to remember that any movement is better than no movement,” says Jessica Denton, the energetic owner of FLY (First Love Yourself). “If one day you only have ten minutes, then do something — as ten minutes is better than no minutes. In ten minutes you can do push ups or squats or leg lifts. If you have 45 minutes you can go to a gym or a class. Exercise doesn’t have to fit in a defined box or a certain length of time. It doesn’t have to be in a form of burning calories. It’s what feels good to you.


“Sure, sometimes life gets in the way. We’re not perfect. All healthy habits work together to make positive changes.” 

For many, the spiritual practice of yoga is part of their daily life. The word, “yoga” is derived from the Sanskrit root “Yuj,” meaning “to join” or “to unite, and focuses on bringing harmony between mind and body. 

“The idea of physical postures was designed to create strength and flexibility within the body and to give one energy, as well,” says Joseph Melone, the soft spoken yoga instructor at The Westin Riverwalk Resort and Spa. “The combination of these postures allows our mind to stay focused and to create agility within the body to keep it limber as well as to build strength in the core to allow for the length of the spine. As time moves we tend to condense and compress from gravity and daily living, so the practice is designed to help maintain length, stability and movement within the body.

Double exposure concept of woman practicing Yoga

“There are classes online, however, there’s nothing that can replace being in a room with the assistance of a teacher right there with you to be able to observe and to help personalize the practice to your personal being. Because you’re working through a lifetime of ‘doing,’ and the practice is to undo a lifetime of ‘doing.’ So you need to have someone who is trained to be able to witness your practice and to assist you in what is going to work best for your practice.

“On a regular basis, you should give yourself a few stretches in the morning,” Melone continues. “Wake up our physical body and allow awareness to run through your body, just to check in with yourself and see how you’re feeling that day, as we do change so often — moment to moment, day to day, month to month, year to year.”

After a busy, active day it’s all about getting a good night’s sleep. Getting enough z’s is really the end all. Not getting enough can sometimes lead to such things as depression, memory loss and lethargy. Chris Lindley, Chief Population Health Officer for Vail Health and Executive Director of Eagle Valley Behavioral Health, recommends a minimum of seven hours a night — and says that for some it should be more like eight or nine hours every night.

And yet, for some, that span of deep, uninterrupted slumber is elusive — even if they’re eating healthily, exercising regularly and practicing self-care. In that case, there are some things that can help you relax and eventually allow you to get the rest you need.

double exposure sleeping girl and the sea

These days, CBD is making headway. From nasal sprays to candy to oils, it’s promising in various therapeutic avenues because it’s relatively safe. 

“CBD can be really helpful for sleep,” says Dr. Eliza Klearman, a naturopathic doctor in Edwards. “It’s not going to have a sedative effect, so I advise that it be taken at bedtime — the idea to just help somebody relax. CBD does not act as a sleeping pill that is going to knock you out for eight hours. It is gentle enough so that you can use it during the day for anxiety or for stress, just to bring that tension down a notch. And that’s the same thing that it will do at night.

“I advise that people take CBD orally for the best results. I believe in the lowest possible dose for the biggest effect and that someone start with one dropper or one pump and see how they do. It’s not something that makes you super drowsy but, rather, it simply calms you down. And even if you wake up in the middle of the night, you can take a dropper full again. It doesn’t make you groggy or hung over in the morning, and it’s not habit forming.”

For extreme sleep problems, Vail Health offers a sleep disorder center where a sleep study can be done. The study is a “painless test to measure sleep cycles and stages by recording brain waves (EEG) muscle and eye movement, breathing rate, blood pressure, blood oxygen saturation and heart rhythm.” With this information, your doctor can create a treatment plan.

Truth be told — being healthy and staying healthy is work. Easy for some. Not so easy for others. Certainly, there are many contributing factors that affect each one of us and how we choose to live our lives.

And shouldn’t we all want to choose to stay healthy?