Do you know the secret to staying healthy and aging well? Actually, it’s not a secret at all, and it’s also not just one thing; it’s several components that, when used together, create harmony, balance, and energy in your life.
I realize this might sound like eastern mysticism, but I promise you it’s not. Actually, it’s more like keeping an automobile in good working order. When we learn to drive, we all have to learn how to read the dashboard dials to know the health of the vehicle. The gas gauge, oil and water levels, battery life, tire pressure, and speedometer all give us valuable information that guides us on how to keep the car running safely and efficiently. Likewise, when one of these dials indicates a problem we attend to the need in a timely manner.
As family caregivers, we all need to stay healthy and strong in order to help those we care for have their best possible life. To facilitate good health and adequate strength we must establish and follow a healthy routine that includes prayer, scripture study, robust nutrition, adequate hydration, daily exercise, and sufficient sleep and social engagement every day. Think of these focus areas as your life’s dashboard dials.
So how do you rate when it comes to your seven dashboard dials? If your answer is a resounding, “I’ve got this! I pray daily, eat healthy most of the time, get in my exercise several times a week, drink lots of water, sleep well and spend time with friends at Bible study weekly,” then good for you! Keep up the great work and look for other family caregivers you can encourage and support.
But if your immediate reaction is a discouraged sigh as you realize your dials need a lot of work, don’t be disheartened! With just a little attention and some fine-tuning you can turn what feels like a clunker into a well-tuned machine. Start by focusing on just one dial. Make a commitment to changing one thing in your day or week. Take small steps and celebrate your victories often. Perhaps you could start by having a healthy breakfast every day or every other day. Start a new Bible study or carve out a daily time to pray. As one dial comes into alignment you may find yourself inspired to begin improvements in another area. Over time you can undergo a complete transformation in all areas of your life. You might even inspire those you care for to begin making their own life changes when they see your progress. That’s not mystical, that’s just smart!
Chris and I hope you’ll join us this week at Heart of the Caregiver to share your heart about dialing up a healthy life in mind, body, and spirit.