Nick-izms: Rez Born, Urban Raised
Saturday, November 01 2014
Written by Nick Metcalf,
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jpeg_pic.jpgIf 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.

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 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.


Physical Health

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 love food.

Spiritual Health

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.

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