How do we do this? Through self-awareness, prevention, and self-responsibility.
Awareness: learning to listen to my body’s needs. To rest when I need rest, to eat (wholesome foods) when I need to eat. To be social and active at times and seek solitude at times. To learn to listen to the feeling state, which often makes itself known through sensations in our heart and our gut.
Prevention: how I live my life today provides the building blocks for my body 7-10 years from now. The old saying an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure holds true more than ever. We can no longer depend on job-sponsored health insurance to pay for that pound of cure. We are feeling it directly in our own back pocket, and it is costing more and more. Wellness means planning for my future, and not taking my health for granted.
Responsibility: We must put ourselves back in the driver’s seat and take control of our own health. It is no longer good enough to assign our health to doctors and other health professionals. We alone are the experts of our bodies. Who knows your body better than you? Turning over the controls to others’ leads to depression, the state we sink to when we feel we no longer have any control over our own life.
Winter Wellness: Each season brings its own special health needs. We want to hunker down in the winter, and sleep more with the darker nights. It is certainly a season to get more rest, support the immune system, and not stretch our health dollars too far out of reach. Colder days discourage thirst, but we really need to stay hydrated to protect ourselves from colds and opportunistic viruses. The body will stay strong with hearty warm soups and stews, rich with winter vegetables like roots and squash.
The solitude of Winter gives us time to dream and create the coming year’s projects, letting new ideas emerge from last year’s activities, failures and successes; however, we also need to reach out and maintain social connection for mental health. Lack of sunlight at this latitude leads to chronic Vitamin D depletion. Oral supplementation is practically mandatory, as Dr. Tom Archie demonstrated in a meta-study he performed here. Low Vitamin D levels in the body compromises the immune system in many ways and has links to heart disease, depression, and many cancers.
The dark cold days of winter often discourage us from getting enough time in Nature and taking in fresh air, instead inhaling the concentrated stale air in our highly sealed homes and offices. Making the commitment to get outside for a short 15 minute walk will bring fresh oxygen into the lungs, heart and body. It helps us stay connected to the seasons which helps keep our spirits up. Walking (or any active exercise) boosts our metabolism and keeps us from adding unwanted pounds over the winter months. Find a winter sport to embrace that supports your fitness level, and experience the beauty of our wondrous lake and mountain environment.
Each moment of our lives we are making choices. What to do, what to think, whether to take action or inaction. We always have the power to choose something that is better for us, or worse, whether it is our relationships, our job, our diet, or our attitude.
Contact: Chester-Lake Almanor Chamber of Commerce at info@LakeAlmanorArea.com, 530-258-2426
c. 2009, Jan Davies, CWHE All Rights Reseserved.