Spring appears to be here, and like nature all around us we are urged toward renewal. As someone who often struggles to prioritize the activities in my life, after a bout with the flu I’ve been reflecting on the value of health.
In our busy hours, filled with families, jobs and outside expectations, we find ourselves caught up in the demands of each day. Let’s stop for a moment and ask ourselves an important question: In terms of our life priorities, where does our health come in?
I’m quite sure it is at the top of our list. It is for me. Without good health, I have found that nothing else seems to be worthwhile.
Yet, in our fast paced world, do our daily activities and choices reflect this value?
For many of us, the answer is “ no.”
Most of us have plenty of knowledge regarding actions we can take to enhance our health, yet we have not incorporated these into our day. We can begin to make a difference by making a few choices that reflect and honor this genuine core value that we share.
Start with a walk, music that lifts your spirits or choose an extra serving of vegetables at dinner time. It only takes a few simple actions each day to put us on a new course.
We often set ourselves up for failure or overwhelm ourselves when we aim too high. Choose a goal you know you will be successful with, and gradually add to it. Start with small important changes, but start.
If you’re elderly or debilitated, begin by walking for three minutes before each meal at a level of exertion at which you feel warm and only slightly winded. If you are young and healthy, start your day with a brisk 30-minute walk three days a week.
Moms with small children can dance to fun music. Invite family or friends to join you.
Split your restaurant meal or dessert with your spouse, drink an extra glass of water each day, or eliminate that vanilla latte.
Start your day with five minutes of solitude, turn off your cellphone between noon and 2 p.m., or take a relaxing bath at bedtime.
After years of working in cardiac rehabilitation and helping patients move into a healthier lifestyle, I am quite convinced that the accumulation of small actions can begin to make an impact on your overall well-being.
We don’t want to put off changes until we are faced with a life-threatening illness.
Seize the spirit of the season that is all around us. Mother Nature is vibrating with new life. Take that first step today!
Jane Casey is a cardiac rehabilitation nurse at Providence St. Mary Outpatient Rehabilitation.