|Written by Nick Metcalf,
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If you are anything like me ďHealth
and WellnessĒ 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 didnít
grow up understanding what ďHealth and WelllnessĒ meant.
Throughout the years, Iíve 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.
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 isnít 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 ďshrink.Ē I know way too many people who donít
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.
Believe me, Iíve
never been an athletic person. I am someone who enjoys reading and
more sedentary activities. Last year, I ran a 5k marathon with the
YWCAís 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. Iím 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. Donít 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
Spirituality is a deeply personal
experience and an individual journey. Over the years, Iíve 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 ďHigher Power.Ē 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. Itís
unfortunate because spiritually traumatized people avoid having a
spiritual life. Iíd suggest if youíve 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 oneís 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 donít give reverence to the Creator. Some examples of
what happens when I am unbalanced: I get angry at someone who hasnít
done anything for me to be angry at. When I overextend myself then
Iím 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 Iíve learned through trial-and-error. Iíve come to
understand that Iím responsible for my life. Iím responsible for
the outcome of my life. Iím responsible for making sure that all
aspects of myself are good, so I can enjoy the fullness of my life. I
hope youíll join me in learning about these things too.