Nick-izms: Rez Born, Urban Raised

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jpeg_pic.jpgIf you are anything like me “Health

and Wellness” is something that I aspire to do in all aspects of my

life. For me it includes the mind, the body and the spirit. I didn’t

grow up understanding what “Health and Welllness” meant.

Throughout the years, I’ve been an active learner in this process.

Ultimately, what I learned is that I need to be patient with me,

allow myself to grow from my mistakes, forgive often, trust myself

and maintain a spirit of discovery.

Mental Health

Depression, low self-esteem, anxiety,

post-traumatic stress disorder, panic attacks are some of the issues

that Native people deal with. Some of these issues are biological in

nature. That means your body isn’t producing the right combinations

of chemicals so you feel out of sorts. There are medications

available to help you get your body back in order. Get in touch with

a psychologist or a psychiatrist to get the help you need.

I understand there is fear of going to

a therapist or “shrink.” I know way too many people who don’t

want to be diagnosed cause may mean that they are weak or something

is wrong with them, so they avoid getting the help they need. They

suffer silently. Sometimes, they use drugs or alcohol to feel better.

Unfortunately, substance abuse is temporary and it can make a

situation worse. There are many wonderful Native therapists out

there, find one and give it a try.

Physical Health

Believe me, I’ve

never been an athletic person. I am someone who enjoys reading and

more sedentary activities. Last year, I ran a 5k marathon with the

YWCA’s Strong, Fast, Fit Program because my son was involved in it.

We trained up until the day of the marathon. I did pretty good. I

credit the training for helping me pace myself, keep motivated and

develop a good form for running.

Food is essential to our physical

well-being. It affects how we feel about ourselves, so it is

important to put health food into our body if we expect to feel

healthy. I grew up with poor eating habits. This year I did a 21-day

Food Challenge. It was hard. I learned a lot about my relationship

with food. I’m an emotional eater. I choose bad food because they

were convenient. I read labels. I plan meals now.

Schedule a meeting with a dietician

because they are a wealth of information. The impact of diabetes,

heart disease and high blood pressure is horrible in the Native

community. These diseases are manageable or avoided if we eat

properly. Small meals throughout the day are better. Don’t eat in

front of a TV. Fruits and vegetables are essential for your body. A

serving size is typically the size of the palm of your hand. It is

essential to manage your portion size. Oh yeah, did I mention that I

love food.

Spiritual Health

Spirituality is a deeply personal

experience and an individual journey. Over the years, I’ve learned

that it is important to me to spend time every day connecting with

God, Creator, Gitchi Manitou, Tunkasila. I was raised Catholic, but

as an adult I became active in our traditional Native ways. I enjoy

reading or listening to spiritual leaders talk about their

relationship with their “Higher Power.” It helps me to deepen my

understanding of what my spirituality is and gives me insight into

how other people maintain their relationship with God.

Spiritual trauma is real. It

unfortunate that people are hurt by institutions, organizations and

spiritual leaders when they are seeking a relationship with God. It’s

unfortunate because spiritually traumatized people avoid having a

spiritual life. I’d suggest if you’ve been hurt then find someone

who you feel safe with to explore this issue with. In my opinion, an

active spiritual life is important to one’s sense of overall

well-being. At least, it is for me.

In summary, when I become unbalanced

because I am not physically activity, or I am being too hard on

myself, or I don’t give reverence to the Creator. Some examples of

what happens when I am unbalanced: I get angry at someone who hasn’t

done anything for me to be angry at. When I overextend myself then

I’m too exhausted to tend to my house. Often times, these spiral

into one another and become a mess. I step back and get some

perspective to figure out what is going on. I create a plan to get

back on track.

All of these things about health and

wellness I’ve learned through trial-and-error. I’ve come to

understand that I’m responsible for my life. I’m responsible for

the outcome of my life. I’m responsible for making sure that all

aspects of myself are good, so I can enjoy the fullness of my life. I

hope you’ll join me in learning about these things too.

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