Liz Marsh
Liz Marsh

Each Tuesday, this issue of the Colorado Daily carries with it the theme of "Body & Soul." Originally, my column was about running, but at some point, I ran out of the patience and vocabulary to write about exercise, and I veered off track.

So let's get back to basics. Let's talk about health, bitches.

Plenty of people have ideas about what constitutes a healthy lifestyle. I mean, you live in Boulder. You know.

You know.

Everyone touts yoga, hiking and paddle boarding. We've come to accept olive oil, avocados, chiropractors and cryotherapy as facts of wellness. Among your friends are probably some gluten-free, dairy-free vegans as well as the slow-food, sustainable carnivores.

So what is wellness? Whose definition is correct? And can we expand the definition to include television, sunburns and cigarettes?

My sister has three teenage stepchildren, a toddler and a career in politics. One could reasonably assume she's been stressed out for the last four to eight years. So when my annual lake trip with my girlfriends came up a few weeks ago, I encouraged her to join us.

The first night at the lake, she slept for 13 hours and then later took a nap. She watched endless Grey's Anatomy episodes when it got too hot to be outside. We had Bailey's in our coffee, shandies with our lunch and afternoon cocktails. The maximum amount of exercise we engaged in was floating. At one point, during our "queso and coladas" happy hour, she announced that it was the most relaxed she had ever been.


And shouldn't that be a key factor in overall wellness? How can we claim to take good care of our bodies and minds if we are so stressed out, constantly running from the gym to the grocery store, to work, to pick up the kids?

We were absurdly indulgent for four wonderful days. We ate junk food, drank too much and used SPF 4. Nothing we did was FDA approved or recommended by nine out of 10 doctors. And yet I have never seen my sister look so healthy. She was calm, well-rested and glowing by the time we left the lake.

A few days ago, we were leaving the pool where we had been with the kids. My niece was having a fabulous tantrum, two of the older kids were bickering, and then my nephew stuck his head out of the locker room and yelled, "Alexis! I can't find my underwear. Do you know where it is?"

She looked at me wistfully. "Remember the lake, where no one asked me to find their underwear?"

Of course, four days of indulgence doesn't make the problems at home go away. But perhaps a little space and time to reset makes them easier to deal with.

Perhaps we'd all be more well if we were allowed to completely let ourselves go once in awhile.

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