Though she lives 1,800 miles (2,900 km) to the East, I talk with my Mom every Sunday. At 83, she is blessed with a sound mind and able body. She lives independently with a healthy dose of pride. And soon, in one of our conversations, she’ll ask: Did you get a flu shot? What can I say, she’s a Mom; a wise one.
We in the Northern Hemisphere are heading into that time of year: winter, the solstice, an extended holiday period, the annual cold and flu season… and whatever else typically accompanies days of shorter daylight. In the spirit of awareness and your personal wellness, are you preparing for the coming months?
Yes, we get colds and we try to avoid the flu. But there are other seasonal risks. It seems unfair, but if you’re prone to summer allergies, chances are you’re susceptible to them in winter too. Why? Because those warm weather irritants are around all year, like pet dander, mold and mildew. When you settle indoors for chillier weather – the windows closed, the heater on – your exposure to the same allergens heightens.
Research also shows that the incidence of heart attacks spike during the holiday period. In combination, overeating, overdoing alcoholic consumption, being too sedentary, and even the stress of the season can trigger heart attacks. Yet how many people plow, unwittingly, into the vacuum that this time of year can be?
Some people plan for the challenges that accompany this time of year. They consciously prepare. Not that preparation can cover everything that presents, but it can provide some insulation from endless marketing, external stimuli, bacteria, and things that can threaten our wellness. Getting a flu shot is simply one of those preparations.
There are countless other considerations. You likely have practices that work well for you. If you are looking for some simple ideas to help prepare for and get you through the next few months, here are three suggestions:
- Slow down. Intentionally. We all have so much to do and so little time in which to do it. And you want me to slow down? 🙂 Who has time for that? Rephrase the question: who doesn’t have time for that? The answer: our bodies. If you squeeze every second out of every day at record speed, your flesh, bones, muscles, and organs will eventually suffer. A serene mind really is nothing without a healthy body to carry it.
- Rethink your commitments. Ask: Are you committed to something because of genuine compassion or interest rather than a sense of obligation? Continuing to give your time and energy when your heart isn’t truly engaged often does you and others a disservice. Think fulfilling your own needs while connecting with and helping others.
- Highlight health and feeling well. Focus on the way being healthy makes you feel and what it gives you. Feed your body nourishing food so you feel your best, and remove the worries about dis-ease and poor health.
To our Southern Hemisphere friends, here’s wishing you a refreshing spring and summer.