Tips for Staying Healthy for A Lifetime!

May 31, 2021
A year ago I wrote, “I have never had a problem finding a health topic to write about until now.” Today I find myself uttering those same words. I would love to say that everything is back to normal, that there is no more CoronaVirus captivating the everyday health discussions on public media and we can go about our activities like we did before the virus entered our world. Unfortunately, our world surrounding Covid-19 remains very confusing, i.e., is it ok to go out to eat, to travel or invite friends over; should I wear a mask when I am inside a building with other individuals; will I have to wear a mask forever to feel safe?  These are only a few of the questions that we might encounter as we strive to get back to our pre-Covid-19 lifestyle. One thing that we do know is that wishing for Covid-19 to just go away is not going to help us maintain our health. Knowing that full recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic is still months away I decided to revisit my thoughts from a year ago on how to care for one’s health in good times and bad.  As I write, I do not pretend to interpret the mass of information and misinformation regarding Covid-19 that awaits us each morning. I do plan to continue to do what I can to stay safe from the virus, not whine about what I want my world to look like today and to focus on Tips for Staying Healthy for A Lifetime! 
 
I have written about how to stay healthy in a variety of ways in newsletter articles for my home church and the Southeastern Synod of the ELCA for at least 20 years.  If you would like to re-read any of those articles, many remain filed on the ELCA SES website under E-News.
 
In summary, here are my tips:
  • Enhance your diet by filling your plate ½ full with fruits and vegetables.  Starchy potatoes do not count due to their high sugar level.  You will be adding vitamins, minerals, fiber and water to your diet with fruits and vegetables.
  • Cook more meals at home from “scratch” to avoid excess sugar, salt, fat, calorie and pesticides. You will also save on your food costs!
  • Limit the amount of sugar that you use and drink water instead of canned and bottled drinks. Don’t kid yourself that diet soda is better for you. It is sweet, full of chemicals and makes you want more sugar when you drink it.  Also don’t kid yourself that one or more sugary drinks a day will not be detrimental to your children’s long-term health.
  • Drink water! Drink water! Drink Water! Fill your reusable bottle to reduce waste and pollution.
  • Floss daily, brush your teeth at least twice a day.
  • Sleep at least 7 hours each night and take a nap if you need to do so.
  • Reduce stress by finding a way to relax using the method that works for you. If you feel that you are having difficulty coping, seek counseling from a reputable provider. Your physician or pastor can assist you in locating the appropriate provider to fit your needs. 
  • Ladies, do a monthly self-breast exam.  Men also are not immune to breast cancer.
  • Exercise; walk, run, dance, get moving and challenge yourself and your family to do so!
  • Get outside for fresh air and sunshine.  Remember to wear sunscreen when needed.
  • Listen to music, sing, play music, or if you once played an instrument get it out and start practicing; you will get better at playing! 
  • Know your BMI (body mass index) and blood pressure.  If these numbers are not where they should be, work to get them right.
  • Know what immunizations you and each family member should have and get immunized!  This includes getting a Covid-19 vaccination for yourself and your children to do your part to protect yourself and others in your local and global world. 
  • Don’t smoke! Vaping is smoking!
  • Take antibiotics only when needed for a bacterial infection! Use non-antibiotic soap for everyday handwashing! You will be helping yourself and others by reducing antibiotic resistance from overuse of antibiotics.
  • Reduce your exposure to harmful chemicals not only in your home but where you work and exercise (the gym).  If you do not know what is used to clean, inquire. 
  • Aid the environment with less plastic, less paper, more recycling, and cleaning products that are environmentally friendly.
  • Wash your hands properly and often to reduce the spread of everyday germs!
  • Wear your mask when requested to protect yourself and others knowing that even though you have been vaccinated you can still spread Covid-19. 
  • Slow down and have courage, hope compassion and love as we all await the end of the pandemic!
  • Pray for the health of the world!
 
Cornelia Pearson, RN, MN
Member,  St. Andrew Lutheran Church
Franklin, TN