December 13, 2020
Good morning my friends! We are nearly mid-way through the beautiful month of December. Christmas is less than two weeks away. Are you ready? Yes, I know people are decorating, shopping for gifts, organizing meals and visiting friends and family (or at least I hope they are). The pandemic, and associated anxiety and fear, creates a new twist on the holidays. The important question today should be, “Is your health ready?” Many people around the globe take the time to ensure they’re ready for the holidays in various ways. They might take time to prepare with food and cheer, greeting guests or filling Santa’s shopping list. We all seem to always set aside time to celebrate the season. So, what have you done to get yourself (and then your family) ready health wise? I’m sure there’s a good percentage of people that are healthy and know what works best to maintain a level of fitness. If you haven’t done anything or don’t feel you’re prepared, it’s not too late to get started.
Let’s start our health assessment by quickly reviewing the current worldwide situation. We are in the midst of the Holiday season and an exhausting pandemic. Whatever your opinion is about the pandemic, this should be one of the happiest times of the year. Take the time to enjoy your family, friends and life. It’s amazing how quickly this year has passed, even with the hardships and chaos many have endured. The virus is out there, so take the precautions you need to stay safe. Do what’s best for you, but more importantly, take time to live. If you feel you’re all set for the fun, this will provide some positive encouragement, along with some useful tips. Let’s discuss a few ideas to boost your health and immune system. Once you’ve established a baseline of where you are, then you can proceed with making adjustments and improvements as needed. Whether you know or don’t know your fitness level, building better health is always a plus.
“Good health” can be a subjective term these days. Some individuals believe they are healthy, even though they may have underlying issues. There are others that may or may not know the extent of their own health. There could be a variety of reasons why some may not know the level of their health. Maybe they lack a general understanding or have an inability to seek medical advice or treatment (if it’s required). You always have a few people who just might not care. Whatever category best describes you, it’s always wise to have some knowledge of your health, condition and fitness. Regular physical examines are a good method to determine and maintain the quality of your health. A doctor’s perspective will provide many benefits, including laboratory results that provide factual numbers to make real assessments. Depending on how you utilize these facts, and resulting analysis, it can lead you to better health. It’s a great way to begin the process.
Thanksgiving through the New Year always seems to bring out emotions and feelings for many individuals. The time of year is notorious for increased depression, fear and sadness. For many, including myself, the Holidays remind us of loved ones lost, or other memories influenced by sorrow. Late November through January 1st seems to guarantee more food, drink, fun and anxiety. The rich meals, delicious desserts and assorted beverages can create a variety of effects on the body; physically and mentally. The season has a notorious way of creating a sense of being overwhelmed and less able to cope with situations. This is especially true in today’s environment with the coronavirus. Fear and anxiety are huge stress builders. While many people do well at navigating these factors, others experience a real sense of distress and foreboding. Coping, dealing with and alleviating stress can increase your physical and mental health. Stress creates tension within our body. If we don’t alleviate or reduce stress, over time, it can cause harm mentally or physically.
One method to reduce stress is to deal with it as soon as you feel it invading your body. If you have the ability to recognize it occurring, then immediately taking the time to defuse it. Being in tune with your body, especially in stress filled situations is a huge bonus. It’s obviously not something we can all accomplish. These experiences are often limited to your mentality, time, place and availability. If it’s not possible to deflect tension as it occurs, be sure you deal with and release it as soon as time permits. Do not allow it to settle and fester within you. Physical activity, like running or exercise, always serve me best to release stress. Meditation, listening to calming music or spending time outdoors (in nature) helps me reduce tension. Reading has provided another avenue to assist me in bringing calm on various occasions. These results are most successful when the content or subject material of the book promote a relaxing story or information. The same can be felt with music, films or sports. The intention is to release stress, not enhance it.
I know this isn’t the best time to be discussing eating habits, but reducing the amount of sugar, alcohol, processed and unhealthy food choices would greatly assist in increasing your health. Believe me, this is difficult time of year for me too. I love food, especially all the holiday goodies and drinks! I will continue to enjoy some of these, but in a more moderate (and hopefully controlled) fashion. I’ve always had an issue with refusing good food, especially when attending a party or visiting the home of friends or family. Being sequestered, controlled and manipulated makes regulating our eating and drinking habits even more of a challenge. The stress and mental pressure of loneliness and solitude is real. I’ve definitely been eating more during this chaotic year. It hasn’t been because of hunger, but more anxiety driven. We’ve been forced to stay at home, curtail normal activities and limit our contact with family and friends. When you factor in the fear based media blitz, social and economic issues; it’s all taken a serious toll on many of us. Basically, we are dealing with a lot of stuff! Do your best not to succumb to the stress based “eating” temptations. There are scientific studies that detail how foods can impact our mental and physical wellbeing. Making healthier food choices has the ability to reduce stress.
Maintaining regular sleep patterns is great for increasing health benefits. Rest is a key factor, not only for rejuvenating our physical body, but allowing our minds to slow down as well. Spending time outdoors is another easy tool. If you feel like you need a boost, get outside, soak up some sunshine, breathe and enjoy nature. I love this method, because it always seems to recharge me physically and mentally. The benefits of 20 minutes at the beach, walking a trail or gazing among the trees are amazing. If you encounter issues or thoughts that overwhelm you or begin to envelop your being, don’t hesitate to reach out for assistance. Family, friends and professional organizations (counseling and hot line services) are useful tools in offering encouragement, support and solutions. There are times when we all need someone to just listen. Having family, friends, or experts available, who care about our wellbeing, is key for us all. There have been times in my life when the support of others has been instrumental in my mindset and health. We are social beings, where kindness and gratitude are priority.
We have been living in difficult times. The fear, anxiety and stress has been overwhelming for many. Most of the madness is created by “ratings” seeking main streams news, crazy social media and manipulative political leaders. The effects are felt by us all in various methods and degrees. Limit your amount of time spent on social media, watching main stream news or playing video games. These simple solutions can lower stress and anxiety. Maintaining good physical, mental and spiritual health is our first line of defense for fending off these assaults. I urge you to educate yourself, not only on good health habits, but on what’s occurring in our city, state, across our country and around the planet. Knowledge is power. It allows us to resist the fear based propaganda that has been incessant this year. The more we know and understand; the less fear, anxiety and stress invades our bodies.
Enjoy your Holiday Season! Take time to share love and happy times with family and friends. Take this opportunity to evaluate your health. Make good choices to improve your quality of life, including physical being, mental outlook and spiritual growth. Be kind to all, as you never know what others are dealing with in their life. Be a good friend when someone asks for assistance. I’ll be here if you want to reach out for moral support or advice. I’m not afraid to listen. Be well and stay healthy. Life is a gift. Enjoy it!
Please tune in and join me again next Sunday for more! The healthy life puzzle is always in rotation. Let’s be healthy and strong mentally, physically and spiritually!
Thanks for your love and support! Embrace Life! Be sure to get outside and enjoy nature!