The sun is shining, there is a coolness to the air. What a perfect day for a "wellness rant." (Feel free to stop reading right now, though I'm still friendly when I rant about wellness.)
I woke up early this morning to a quiet house. Jim gone to work already, boys still sleeping. So I got up, took a shower and sat down in the old rocking chair in my bedroom--the one I keep meaning to replace--but I rocked both boys back and forth in it for so many years, I'm not ready.
A momentary drop in the temperature this week, reminded me that it’s time for my annual “Fall Prevention” post. This year, my message is more personal because the subject hit close to home. My mother, who is 85, fell in the middle of the night a few months ago. She conveniently tumbled to the ground during one of my periodic cross country visits. She is a an active, healthy, senior, who can even play a bit of tennis when she wants to. She still fell. It was an accident, and sometimes stuff just happens. While she was lucky and escaped serious injury, I learned a lot from her fall, and I want to share it with you:
- Posture, balance, and core training are key components of any fall prevention approach. But I’m thinking there are a few other things that are even more important.
- Make your house fall proof. Remove area rugs, shoes on the floor, and poorly placed furniture that you could trip over. Make sure your path to the bathroom is well lit at night.
- Stay strong. You will be less likely to fall or seriously injure yourself if you are fit. You don’t need to be marathon ready, just a healthy, moderately active senior will suffice.
- Make good decisions. Don’t hang your own Christmas lights or clean your own gutters. It helps the economy when you hire people to do those things anyway.
- Have a plan. Falling is often an accident--like in my mother’s case. What are you going to do if you end up on the floor? Can you get up? Do you need to practice? Can you get to the phone to call for help? Don’t wait until you’re down to ponder these questions. Your daughter may not be visiting from 3000 miles away on that particular day.
Every so often . . . not too often . . . I give my wellness workshop at Glen Ivy Hot Springs and it resonates with someone. They come up after class and ask me if I have a "program" or a "dvd" or something they can buy to take home. Someone asked me that today. I smiled and then told them . . . and I will tell you too:
When she opened the door she was still in her pajamas. The sweet old-fashioned kind with tiny blue flowers and a collar with piping that matched. They hung on her like the clothes hanging on hangers in my closet.
Sometimes I like to take one of my MANY books of wisdom off the shelf, open it to a random page and begin reading. Whatever it says, I take it as the message I was supposed to hear at that moment. It is a fun and inspiring WELLNESS practice that can really make you think deeply about your life. Sometimes it even gives you an answer you were looking for.
Well, I discovered--serendipitously, today--that you can also do it on the internet! I randomly clicked on the Plum Village Monastery Website (because I thought it sounded like a place I wanted to go this afternoon to get away from the laundry, the homework, and the kids--bummer, it's in France), and found this staring back at me:
"It is possible that the next Buddha will not take the form of an individual. The next Buddha may take the form of a community—a community practicing understanding and loving kindness, a community practicing mindful living.
This may be the most important thing we can do for the survival of the Earth."
—THICH NHAT HANH
Thanks Plum Village Monastery. I needed to hear that! Now, back to laundry, homework and kids--but with a much better attitude.
Try it while you're on Facebook today. Tell me what INSPIRATION you find to make it through your day with a smile!
When meal time rolls around, do you ever find yourself thinking, "What do I feel like eating? Chinese? Mexican? Thai?"
What if you asked instead, "What could I eat that would NOURISH my body and give it what it NEEDS to feel like my wellness words: energetic, strong, happy, focused, alert, healthy."
Food can do that. No, food DOES do that. According to one of my favorite books on the subject, "Food and Mood,"
"A low fat midday lunch that contains approximately 500 calories maintains afternoon alertness and boosts energy levels."
"Protein-rich foods increase brain levels of certain amino acids that make you feel more alert and able to concentrate."
"Vitamin C from fruits and vegetables help regulate your immune system and improve your body's response to stress."
Now, if you just ask the question when you feel hungry, but still go for the Chinese because you feel like Chinese . . . you still get full credit. Why? Because you are beginning to change the conversation with yourself in a positive way. And that is a "Simple Act of Wellness." One day, you will actually eat what you NEED and not what you WANT and begin to connect the dots.
It is there that you will find WELLNESS!
What's for lunch today?????
Bootcamp, kettlebells, pilates, yoga, weight training. There are so many ways to exercise, it’s hard to know how to get started or which one will lead to success with your wellness goals. But last week, I read a story about the oldest man alive, a Bolivian peasant, Carmelo Flores Laura. When asked what his secret to longevity was, he replied, “I walk a lot, that’s all.”
I have one Facebook friend who sends out a Happy Friday post every week! I sure feel WELL when I see that!
- Schedule your regular check-up and preventative screenings. Yeah! My sister said she did this last week. It counts!
- Get active! Notice the missing word, “exercise.” Take a walk, garden, hit the beach, stretch your arms over your head. Just do something to get your body moving.
- Eat healthfully. Eat foods with ONE ingredient--apple, orange, lettuce, carrot. How simple is that?
- Pay attention to your mental health and stress level. Mental health issues (anxiety, depression, feeling blue) are as legit as a cold or the flu. Let’s get it out of the closet. Talk to someone! As far as I am concerned, this is the biggest thing that gets in the way of us making healthy choices!
- Avoid unhealthy behaviors, such as smoking, not wearing your seatbelt or bike helmet, or TEXTING OR TALKING ON THE PHONE WHILE DRIVING! (And make sure your kids avoid them too. We are not well, when our kids are not well!)
I heard about Boston when I arrived home for lunch yesterday. I don’t have close ties to Boston. I have friends who do. It is a tragedy for us all. It is especially tragic for them. But as I watched the footage being played over and over again, my eyes began to zoom in on the timer above the finish line.