When my mentee asked me to write a blog post for ladies-in-waiting, I had no idea the post would turn into a six-part series for anyone waiting for his/her next big thing. Part one of the series explains why getting ready is so important. Part two switches gears to what we can do to improve our relationship skills and part three continues with what we can do to improve our emotional health. Today’s post, part four, shares what we can do to improve our physical health.
Throughout this series, my reason to be ready was that I wasn’t ready in the past and almost missed my blessing. I don’t want to put another blessing at risk. That is still my reason, but when it comes to physical health, it goes deeper than that. I shared in my first blog post that I am a widow. My husband, Reggie, passed away just two short years after we married from a heart attack that may have been preventable.
You see, when Reggie and I met, Reggie didn’t really take care of himself even though his blood pressure and cholesterol were high. In addition, Reggie didn’t take his medication as prescribed. In Reggie’s mind, he was single. If something happened to him, Reggie was the only one affected. (Personally, I don’t agree with that logic. Not having a spouse and children does not mean that people don’t care about you and wouldn’t be impacted by your passing as I am sure Reggie’s family and friends would agree.)
Anyway, that was Reggie’s logic before he met me. That changed after I came into his life. Then, Reggie had a reason to take care of himself, but it was too late. His arteries were already damaged. Rev. Thea Wilson often says, “God will forgive you, but your body won’t.” All too often, we have to suffer the consequences of our actions. Unfortunately, our loved ones have to suffer the consequences too.
Therefore, if you are waiting for the next big thing in your life, I urge beseech you to take care of yourself. Don’t let our story (Reggie’s and mine) be your story, especially, if marriage and/or family are a desire of your heart. That is if you want to be around to enjoy them, or whatever your next big thing is.
Seven Actions to Take to Improve Your Health
Here are some tips on improving your physical health:
1. Get Regular Check-Ups
Though most of us have seen the disclaimer “consult a physician before starting any exercise program,” precious few of us actually do it. Yet, having regular check-ups, whether starting an exercise routine or not, is one of the best ways to improve your overall health. Regular check-ups can lead to early detection, which increases your chances for a full recovery, which in turn may lengthen your life. Trust me; ignorance is not bliss. If you have something that is treatable, eventually, it will come to light, and you and/or your loved ones will wish you had taken action sooner.
2. Take Your Medicine
If your doctor prescribes medication, take it. Many health conditions, like Reggie’s high blood pressure and high cholesterol, are controllable through medication.
3. Stand Tall
This one reared its ugly head in my life this week in the form of sciatica, excruciating back pain. Bad posture contributes to sciatica and a myriad of other health problems, including headaches, difficulty breathing, digestive problems, carpal tunnel, and fatigue. So, stand tall–shoulders back, chest lifted, back straight. For more information on how to correct specific posture problems, see tip #1.
4. Get Enough Sleep
Speaking of fatigue, we need to get enough sleep. Experts say most adults need 7-8 hours of sleep a night in order to perform well. That isn’t surprising since our bodies repair themselves while we sleep. That is why we feel more tired when sick or injured. It is God’s way of promoting healing. When we get enough sleep, we reduce our risk of high blood pressure and diabetes, strengthen our immune systems, think clearer, and improve our moods.
5. Take a Moment to Relax
The number one reason for not getting enough sleep is stress, so we need to relax more to relieve the impacts of stress and anxiety on the mind and body. Two relaxation techniques are deep breathing and meditation. Breathe deeply for approximately 5 minutes to lower your heart rate and release toxins like carbon dioxide. Meditate or focus your mind on Scripture, motivational quotes, and affirmations. This will improve your immune system, increase your metabolism, self-esteem, memory, resilience, and overall health.
6. Visualize Your Dream
Imagine yourself exercising, your body healing, or your dream coming true. Studies have shown that imagining something is almost as effective as actually doing it because the parts of the brain activated using your imagination are similar to those activated when actually performing the task. It is as if your brain is preparing itself and your body to succeed when the opportunity comes. Therefore, use your imagination to get your brain ready and your body ready too.
7. Hug Someone
You have probably known for a while that a hug makes you feel better. Now, we have studies revealing that hugging therapy (yes, it is a therapy) not only boosts our moods, but strengthens our immune systems, balances our nervous systems, and elevates our oxytocin, dopamine, and serotonin levels–our feel-good hormones.
These are just some of the actions we can take now to get ready and possibly lengthen our lives so that we are around to receive our next big thing. You don’t have to do them all at once. You can make incremental changes and still reap the benefits. For example, if you usually get 5 hours of sleep a night, you can begin by going to bed a half-hour earlier. Your body will thank you. Then, once you have mastered that, you can continue to increase it by half an hour until you are regularly getting 7-8 hours of sleep a night.
And if you still need motivation, as the old advertisement used to say, “If you won’t do it for yourself, do it for the loved ones in your life.”
The “Are You Ready” Series:
- Part One – 3 Key Issues To Consider When Waiting
- Part Two – 5 Relationship Skills To Improve While Waiting
- Part Three – Tips for Emotional Healing While Waiting
- Part Four – 7 Actions to Take to Improve Your Health While Waiting
- Part Five – 4 Money Moves to Make While Waiting
- Part Six – 5 Tips and Benefits to Growing Spiritually
- Are you taking care of yourself?
- Which of the actions above would you benefit from the most?
- How would taking action today improve your life?
- What is holding you back?
- What can you do to remove that obstacle?