A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of speaking at the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging Conference. As the conference explained, diversity and inclusion are important to many businesses now as it becomes clearer that diversity and inclusion helps strengthen businesses, the workforce, and our communities.
My topic at the conference was “It is hard to be your authentic self when you are not well.” We’ve all experienced this, right? If you are battling a headache, it is hard to even be present in your daily life. All you can think about is the throbbing in your head and when you can lay down and take a break. Your pain keeps you so focused on getting through the next hour or few hours, that you are moving through life as just a shadow of yourself. And that stops you from contributing your authentic self to your family, community, and work.
And of course, this experience isn’t limited to physical pain. Many of us have a similar experience with mental or spiritual pain. I have anxiety, and anxiety can make us move through the world as a shadow of ourselves in the exact same way that physical pain does. I don’t want my mind to prevent be from living my life, so I’ve learned all the things that I need to do to manage my anxiety. I’ve learned that I need to exercise every day, I need to eat healthy food, and I need to get enough sleep. These simple practices don’t mean that my anxiety is completely gone, but it does help me to feel better and to focus on living my life every day. Maintaining my health allows me to be present in the world.
Our families, communities, and businesses need us. They need us to contribute our strengths and help lift others up. The world is demanding that we be healthier. If we make small changes, we can shift our health and wellbeing and it will make a big shift in the world around us and to the individual people we come in contact with.