Some of us are good about regular physicals, dental cleanings, yearly vision checks, etc. and some of us aren’t. Maybe it’s a time thing, not enough time in the day or maybe it’s an avoidance thing, the less you know about, the less you worry. Some of us are good about checking in on our overall physical health, but less acknowledging of our spiritual or mental health. Spiritual and mental health are a bit more personal than physical health, and maybe something you don’t talk about with friends as much or address only behind closed doors. As someone on the cusp of the older end of millennials, I do think people my age and younger are more willing to talk about their mental health and maybe even their spiritual health too. I recently heard a podcast where the person being interviewed was a medical doctor and she said she encouraged her patients to also assess their mental and spiritual health. It resonated with me how the three areas: physical, mental and spiritual health, were all important to her as a medical professional. As 2020 approaches, consider taking good care of these three areas of your life. I know many of you are caregivers to family or friends or in a “helping” profession, so this is crucial to our wellbeing.
It’s important to get regular check-ups regarding out body’s health, dental health and vision. Physical activity, healthy eating (most of the time?), water and sleep are all four important areas that not only affect our physical health, but mental health as well. I’m not a doctor but I can tell you the benchmarks I have heard over and over: 20-30 minutes of movement a day, drink half your body weight in ounces of water and sleep 7-8 hours a night. These simple things can keep you healthy, maybe improve your health and have positive effects on other areas of your life.
In the podcast I listen to, internal medicine physician and author, Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith, focused on relaying to the listeners equal importance of physical, mental and spiritual health. She said, “We are all dealing with our mental health, just like we are all dealing with our physical health. We decide every day if we are going to put a donut or asparagus in our mouth. You make that decision. We decide every day what kind of toxicities we are going to take into our emotions as well. “ She pointed out that some of us do experience true depression or anxiety, and a medication might be needed, however, she said there are still aspects to all of that that we must deal with. Counseling and medication paired together is most beneficial for those with mental illness, however, if you are just going to do one, counseling has been shown repeatedly to have the most positive effects.
The definition of spirituality is the quality of being concerned with the human spirit or soul as opposed to material or physical things. Dr. Dalton-Smith said in the podcast, “We are all mind, body and spirit…we must address all three.” Out of all three, spirituality might look the most different for all of us. Some of us may think of our religious faith, meditation, yoga, journaling and positive affirmations, etc. I think our spirituality also has to do with our beliefs about this life, the life after… and how we make sense of all that. Our purpose. Your spirit can’t be ignored or confronted.
As we enter this New Year, let us all place importance on our mind, body and spirit. Let us make plans to address the various aspects of each. Let us start small, with achievable goals so we don’t give up or get frustrated. If you are in a season of caregiving, consider hiring a Care Manager as a “to-do” to take something off your plate so that you can take better care of yourself in one of these areas. Nothing has changed; you can’t care for your loved one to your best ability if you aren’t caring for yourself to your best ability. Call LifeLinks today. We hope to meet you in 2020. Happy New Year!
Podcast: The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey, episode 263, Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith