Remember hearing that when you were growing up and thinking, “Geez, I’d rather have my allowance!”? I did. I always took my health for granted and thankfully, never really had any problems to speak of. I’ve never broken a bone, didn’t wear glasses until my last year of high school (and then didn’t really need to wear them), was rarely sick, took no medications, though I was ‘heavy’ (substitute ‘big boned’), was always in good physical shape, wasn’t bothered by acne or PMS, and breezed through child birth twice. And then I hit 40.
I could probably blame a return to the full time work force for the sedentary double whammy of having two butt-in-chair jobs. I could blame stress. I could blame age. I could blame gravity. I could blame it on Rio (which has nothing to do with anything but sounds like a good excuse). But this is 2012, and true to my New Year’s mantra, there’s no blame involved. What is, is. What I do about it is up to me.
Taking care of your health isn’t an occasional concern. Even a perfectly tuned engine needs to be put up on the rack regularly. My mom insisted that we have yearly checkups and I passed that nagging on to my sons. Doctor, dentist, ophthalmologist. Vitamins, food groups, exercise. See you in 7,500 miles.
But as the years and mileage add up, we can’t just go in for an oil change every 4-6 months and be good to go. There’s a lot more maintenance involved. Trust me on this one since my car has over 90,000 miles and I’m fifty-mumble mumble. It’s not just the preventative stuff anymore. It’s the repair and replacement. 10W40 and a new air filter isn’t the cure-all anymore. Now we have to check everything from sagging suspension to rust spots just to be road worthy. Age ain’t for sissies!
We can’t stop the aging process (unless you’re a SciFi or paranormal writer!) so we need to take preventative steps to keep what we have in the best shape it can possibly be.
I break “Healthy” of my “Healthy, Wealthy & Wise” series down into three areas: Mind, Body, and Spirit. Each part of that trifecta needs equal attention. It’s not all about the scales, ladies (thank goodness!), it’s the big picture. This year, I’m addressing all three for the changes I need to make to keep it between the lines.
MIND isn’t any different than body. It needs to be fed, rested and exercised. Check out my “Wise” blog for a refresher course. MIND doesn’t always run perfectly any more than your car’s computer chip. And yes, I’m starting to wander around saying, “What did I come into this room for?” Recently, depression and early stage dementia have become serious issues several of my friends have had to deal with. These are real health problems that we need to be aware of and pay attention to. Diagnosis, education, and treatment are the only ways to improve or stabilize many conditions. When I found out I was pre-diabetic, I was in total denial and did nothing to prevent the avoidable onset of the disease. It took the ‘pre-existing health conditions’ box on insurance forms to convince me to be accountable and take action. That was a MIND thing that had to happen before I could take care of BODY. Awareness, acceptance and action starts in the mind. Start giving it a workout now by paying attention to your body and dealing with any potential issues before they become problems. My favorite cartoon that has a student raising his hand, asking to go home because his brain is full, is something more fact than funny.
SPIRIT is our refresh and rejuvenate area. We get so caught up in the busyness of our lives that we forget to tend to the SPIRIT. A starved spirit makes our health wither away. It’s where our energy, our joy and excitement, our creativity comes from, so it’s not a well we want to run dry. SPIRIT doesn’t demand a lot, doesn’t cost much, isn’t greedy. It’s satisfied by little things. Things that make us feel good about ourselves and restore our optimism. ME time. Remember that? Sometimes it’s just stepping outside to take a deep breath during the work day (a 15 minute walk is even better!). It could be a warm scented bath, the newspaper and coffee, eyes closed to listen to music, a massage, a few minutes in the Word or doing meditation. Whatever it takes to achieve that ‘Calgon’ moment of being taken away from the stresses of living. I love having my hair washed. Complete nirvana. I look forward to reading the e-devos from my church every morning, and watching the birds on my patio. Take a minute to be good to your soul.
BODY gets us from place to place, sometimes in style, sometimes in comfort, and sometimes wheezing and burning oil. We take it for granted until it stops working properly. Unfortunately we can’t trade it in every three years on a newer model so we have to make it last. Oil changes, tune ups, wash and wax, new tread and maybe even a better sound system are things we can control to keep things running smoothly. What we put into it and how hard we run it make a difference in how long it lasts, whether you’re a Porche, a Prius or a Pinto. And if you’re a Pinto, all the dreaming, wishing and scheming in the world won’t make you a Porche, but that doesn’t make you any less a fine ride. I’ve accepted that I’m never going to have long legs, look like Heidi Klum or be 30 again so I’d better make the best of what I have. BODY needs acceptance and love, just like your kids do. Pamper it. Be nice to it. Buy it shoes that fit. Don’t stuff it with junk. Park it in safe places and don’t let everyone you know drive around in it until it drops. A lean, mean machine becomes a Clunker for Dollars if you don’t treat it with respect.
For the Health of it, I’m going to be accountable and proactive in 2012 in these ways:
- Take that 15 minute walk whenever the weather permits to clear my mind midday.
- Give my Spirit a break. I’d planned on going to four conferences this year. Now I’m just attending my writing chapter’s Retreat and spending 8 days at my critique partner’s in Arizona for some real R&R (with computer. Deadlines at poolside are still deadlines.)
- Pay attention when the warning gauges come on. Sore muscles, tired eyes, swollen knee, mopey mood often have deeper roots.
- Get a new mattress. Did you know you should change it every 6-8 years because of dust mites that cause all sorts of allergies and other icky things? And not getting a good night’s sleep makes it hard to run on all cylinders.
- Get out of park and back into the passing lane in my weight loss campaign by participating in this year’s Romance Biggest Winners. Take a look, and if you’re up for the challenge, sign up and ask to be on my team!