what Hawai'i has done for my health
My blog was created for mental health awareness, and though not every post has a focus on that, this one will.
My mental health used to limit me. With help and a lot of work, I now feel confident when I say I am much better at coping, taking care of myself.
I have been living in Hawai'i for almost 4 weeks now and in this time I have already noticed major improvements in my health. Of course, going to a warmer climate, and a place as beautiful as Hawai'i is likely to be healing for many, but for me in particular, as an empath, and with a thyroid disease, I have noticed many differences in the way I feel.
I do not feel as much of a need to sleep-in as I do at home. I am up with the sun, the birds, and am eager to get my day going. At night I fall asleep quickly, where at home I would be tossing and turning for hours.
My energy is most likely due to my sleep improvements, or vice versa. I still require my introverted need for rest at times, but not the sluggish need for a 3 hour nap.
I was born and raised in New England. The magical place where there is snow, humidity, and a tornado warning within the same season. I have a thyroid disease, so this of course does not benefit me, as my body is sensitive to changes in temperature. In Hawai'i I hardly check the weather. Every day is in the early 80's, mostly sunny. It is consistent for once in my life, and I think this is the most important effect of Hawai'i on my health! There is little humidity here, easy to breathe, and a breeze from the ocean that carries. Taking in that Vitamin D!!
As a child, I was an avid tree climber. The very first thing I did here in Hawai'i was hug a tree. Of all the excitement of a new place, I was most impressed with the trees here on island, and not just the palm trees! Banyan, and koa trees are exotic, and funky and the curvy roots are almost begging for tree climbers!
Hawai'i has the most beautiful hiking trails and mountains to explore. I always mention my love for the woods, and this beats it all for me. I have woods, mountains, ocean, rivers and streams all on one island.
The ocean water is warmer, yet refreshing. The water is clearer, cleaner, and people here are very protective of the environment and it shows!
Rainbows, and sunsets, rainbows and sunsets. Must I say more? If I don't see a rainbow each week, I surely see a sunset.
Hawai'i is very environmentally conscious. The locals are advocates for the land and sea. It is against the law to touch the sea turtles. The chemical-based sunscreens are becoming illegal as well to protect the coral. Stores will no longer sell them. What does this do for my health? To live in a place where nature is appreciated, cared for, and respected. It is suitable living, and good for mental health when your environment receives and gives back as well.
2 months ago I was at a hospital in Boston trying to figure out the extreme fatigue and pains that were keeping me up at night, and in fetal position in my dorm room between classes. It has been a recent discovery that my thyroid condition leaves me to be especially sensitive to almost 8 common ingredients in most food groups! No wonder I never feel well.. BUT the craziest thing is that after being in Hawai'i for less than 2 weeks I was already noticing that I could eat the food without needing a 4 hour nap between meals. The food is fresh. Fresh fruits, fresh vegetables. Farmers markets open locally and weekly! I noticed quick differences in my anxiety levels, my energy, and how my skin looked without really trying to make changes.
Walking, hiking, swimming, repeat. City living (Boston) has been great for me because I walk everywhere I need to go. It is the same here in Honolulu, but add swimming, beach walks, and many hiking opportunities to the list. I should also include "leaving your comfort zone" because cliff jumping was never on my bucket list, but it would now be crossed off.
As I try my best to explain it.. there is a certain vibe here. It is easy to spot for a New Englander because it is a much slower pace than I am used to. I think that is why I am so comfortable. "Island time" is real. In the best of ways, people take their time. They walk slower, speak slower, but they notice more because of it. They give up seats on the bus, they say hello to strangers. There is a welcoming "chill" vibe, and it is very different than the go, go, go of Boston and other East Coast cities. Especially because they give tickets for jaywalking like candy here.. haha. First thing I was told was that many people get arrested for jaywalking, walking on crosswalks when the walk signal isn't lit, or even looking at your phone while walking across the street. Nope, not Boston. If that was strict back home I think there would be much more grumpy people on the streets. Honestly though, people can be very tense, anxious, persistent, and Hawai'i really teaches you the importance of taking a breath and loosening up around the little things life may throw at you, and to take your time!
It has been a true blessing to be able to experience this beautiful island, and to grow while doing so! I am here another month, and cannot comprehend the thought of leaving. Still, Hawai'i has been the healing opportunity I had been yearning for. It has been just that, and more. Hawai'i has shown me what "very Haley" truly feels like when she is healthy and happy, and I intend to work hard to care for myself in the same ways this island is doing for me.
Been to any of the Hawaiian islands? Relate at all to this post? Leave a comment!