5 years ago I took a trip to Israel, and it was the most memorable trip of my life so far. During our tour, we visited an area believed to be the former location of the pool of Bethesda. The history behind this site, as told in The Bible, is that many people, suffering from various illnesses would lie near the pool. The pool had healing properties, and the first one who made it into the pool after the waters stirred would be cured of his illness. Something out of the ordinary happened however, the day Jesus showed up at the pool. There was a man whom he encountered who’d been paralyzed for 38 years. When Jesus saw him and heard his story, he asked the man, “Do you want to get well?”
(If you want to hear what happens next, you can find out here).
Do you want to get well? In some ways, we answer this question in the choices we make day-to-day. Do we want our bodies to be well? It certainly is possible to develop an illness over which we have no control, even when we’ve made healthy choices. Yet, we still have our part to play–and we have a lot more influence than we sometimes live up to. When I took an inventory of my own habits recently, I had to be honest with myself. Below are 5 questions to ask yourself as it relates to your health:
- What am I eating? As I write this post, it is February, and it’s 25 degrees outside. One of my tendencies is to crave carbs in cold weather. Am I eating because I’m hungry or is it emotional eating due to stress or boredom? Am I eating foods that provide energy or deplete it?
- Am I making time to move my body, more days than not? One of my Jazzercise instructors, Jen, says “The more I see of you in class, the less I’ll see of you.” An ever-changing work schedule and an unpredictable commute have interrupted workouts that used to be consistent for me. I am renewing my commitment to my 4-5 days/week minimum.
- Am I sleeping enough? Is it quality sleep? I can hear all my readers who are parents saying, “No and NO!” In certain seasons, a full night’s sleep is simply not possible. Maybe on a “good” night you’re only getting 6 hours. What changes can you make in your physical environment and your daily routines to improve the quality of those few hours’ sleep? I’ve had some nights of waking insomnia recently, and I’ve read repeatedly that one of the best things I can do to calm my brain before bed is no screens (TV, computer or phone) 1 hour before bed. I’m putting this into effect today.
- What am I doing to relax and recharge? Don’t let go of the activities that nourish you. Fight for this time.
- Am I connecting with the people in my life? One of the best ways to connect is through physical presence. Don’t allow yourself to be starved socially. I am trying to stick to this no matter how busy I am.
How are you doing in these areas, readers? Please share your ideas on the site.
Elicia McIntyre, a licensed clinical social worker, and graduate of Smith College School for Social Work, has 15 years’ experience providing counseling to adults, children and families in the Baltimore-Washington metro area. She has helped clients navigate life transitions, depression, anxiety and relationship difficulties. She has spent the past 3 years traveling nationally and overseas, providing education and intervention to military service members and their families.
This article is intended for general education purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional counseling or medical care. If you are interested in seeking professional counseling, please call The Stone Foundation at 410-296-2004.