Good morning and happy Sunday, December 22, 2019
Yikes! Christmas is just a few days away. I am sure you are all busy with final preparations for the Holiday and celebration. Christmas has different meanings for many of us. It is a religious celebration for some people. For others it means celebrations all their own. Whatever your culture, heritage or faith; December is a joyful time of year. For many of us, this month can create increased discomfort, stress and anxiety. Pressures and emotional tensions can increase during the holidays and through the new year. They uncover emotions and resurface grief. The heaviness and sadness can come from past events or current situations.
Whatever brings you pain or suffering, acknowledge it. Feel the emotions and let them out. Do not mask or hold them in. Release those feelings, sharing the expressions from your heart. I share those feelings too. I understand what many of you are experiencing. I lost my Dad this month several years ago. He fought a long battle with what became leukemia. I was lucky to have him for many years of my life. I spent the last days of his life by his side. I miss him every day. During this month the feelings that surface are vibrant and relived. It does not make his passing or absence any easier. While I celebrate his life, December will forever be a month with sadness attached to it. I am always grateful for all I have, especially his great memory.
It was not my intention to discuss death during this season, but when is it appropriate? Death remains a difficult subject of discussion. When it occurs, words are never enough to fill the void it creates. It is inevitable for us all. It is something we refrain from talking about. I feared death, so never wanted to address the topic. During my career as a police officer, death was all around me. I was witness to it with death investigations, homicide scenes, suicides and brutal murders. Being next to people as they breathed their final breath brought me even closer to this complexity. Witnessing death brought clarity and insight. When I reconciled myself to understanding it, I no longer feared it. Like most people, I want to live and enjoy life as long as possible. The fact remains, we never know when our time here will end. I want to make the most from every moment I have on earth.
It does not matter what time of year it is, death and sadness occur. However, during the holidays, sorrow can make these days a bit more difficult. This brings me back to openly and freely expressing your emotions and feelings. Whether it is death, sickness, relationship, career or something else; take the time to make sure you are caring for your mental, physical and spiritual health. Experience your feelings, let them out, share them and then focus on your own well- being. Bring yourself back to the present. If you need help, do not be fearful to reach out and ask for the assistance you desire.
Asking for assistance or comfort is not a sign of weakness. Reaching out for a helping hand means we are human. The support of others is an amazing resource. Even if you do not know who to ask, there are “help” lines and support always available. Text or call the hot lines and they will assist you. If you aren’t sure, I am available to assist and listen too. Our mental health is a vital part of our existence. Having a good support base is a wonderful beginning. Nurturing your own mental health is a must.
Physical health is the next part of the puzzle. It plays an important role in the balance of mental health. Since I enjoy staying fit, this aspect kept my body strong. My strength and determination kept me pushing forward even while my mental health was decreasing. When I began Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing therapy I was in good physical health. This made balancing my mental health so much easier. It took effort, but years of trauma saw relief.
When I talk about physical, for me it means just that. Physical exercise means getting up and moving. If you are not into exercise, then it is time to get off your butt and move in other ways. If you have not done any exercise in years, then I suggest you visit your doctor first and ensure you are in good health. When you are ready, exercise is as simple as walking from twenty to thirty minutes a day. Cardio exercise is the place to begin. Gradually build your strength, stamina, lung capacity and heart. There is no rush. We want to do this right and not hurt ourselves in the process. Please be smart and patient with what you do. Results will be seen with consistent movement within a short time.
The best exercise is done in nature! You can walk, run, cycle, skate, hike or do whatever excites you. Go to the beach, mountains, desert, a park or in your backyard; all these provide a boost in health benefits. Vitamin D from the sun (at least twenty minutes a day) is an added bonus. There are so many options combining exercise and nature. To keep your body healthy physically, there are other ways to exercise too. Joining a gym, bootcamp, pilates, crossfit, or other studio can offer many benefits as well. Indoor classes such as spin, yoga, dance or training facility offer a variety of exercising options. You may even have equipment in your home to get fit.
Exercise is an amazing method to help reduce stress and anxiety. It was always my go to choice when I needed to release the pressures from a long day. The addition and best part, it has awesome health benefits. It can provide physical, mental and spiritual relief. Walking, running and hiking are great and cheap choices to getting exercise. All you need is some good footwear and off you go. Give yourself a twenty to thirty-minute treat. Your body and mind will thank you when you do it regularly. Self-care and getting outside into nature brings peace of mind. Yoga is wonderful way to build your muscular strength, while focusing on relaxing your thoughts. You can even find outdoor yoga!
As much as I enjoy going to the gym and lifting weights, there is nothing better than being outdoors. Soak up some sunshine, breath the air, drink plenty of water and enjoy the beauty of nature. Even better; take your spouse, partner, friend and share the experience. If nothing else, put the kids (or grandkids) in a wagon and go walking. The benefits to your mental and physical health will be tremendous. The best part is there are so many options, so much to do and enjoy. Once you begin, you won’t want to stop. Change your frame of mind and make it a habit. Be physically fit and well as mentally tough. It does not take physical strength for either, just a little determination. Be happy my friends. That starts within and spreads to others.
I am grateful and thankful with each new day!
Please tune in and join me again next Sunday for more! I will continue this discussion on the mental, physical and spiritual parts of my healthy life puzzle.
Thanks for your love and support! Embrace Life! Be sure to get outside and enjoy nature!!