By Kim Lowman
Wellness Program Manager
It’s very hard during the busy holidays to keep up a wellness routine. There are a million things going on and for most of us the first thing we give up is our commitment to ourselves. It’s unlikely many of us will be able to meet hefty wellness goals in the month of December but I suggest we should try to maintain as much as we can.
As a young adult, my brother had an ugly old brown Ford Pinto wagon. Not a cool vehicle for a college kid and it was always on its last legs. He drove that car back and forth to the western part of the state where he went to college. My family was amazed how long that car lasted and how many trips he made back and forth. It was the ugliest car I had ever seen. I had a special name for it that I cannot share in print. At that same time, I had a super cool, sleek, sporty gorgeous black Camaro—Sport model with a vinyl roof. It was so cool and it sat in my parent’s backyard abandoned. Two cars. One huge difference. My brother maintained his beloved ugly Pinto. I, on the other hand, was too busy to bother with oil and all that other “stuff.” I blew the engine. He had respect for his piece of junk and I had no respect for my shiny object. It ended up in the junkyard.
So what’s that got to do with wellness? Everything! Our human bodies and minds are sort of like cars. We may be the Ford Pinto with a lot more distance left in us if we maintain! Or… we can be the shiny Camaro in the junkyard with a blown engine due to total neglect. I think we take better care of our cars then we do our own bodies sometimes. It’s interesting to think about how we rationalize what we put in our bodies but we’d never dare do that with our car! Would you put water in your gas tank knowing it will not make your car run and could ruin it? Not in a million years. We over schedule ourselves trying to please everyone and run ourselves ragged while we complain how exhausted we are. Would you let your car sit for hours with the lights on knowing it will drain the battery? Nope! That’s absurd. We neglect our own wellness routine, make excuses for not taking that walk or going to our favorite exercise class for weeks on end until we no longer have a wellness routine at all. Would you let your perfectly fine car sit for months and never turn the engine on or take it for a spin? Not likely. We neglect the mindful and quiet time we all need to recharge ourselves. Would you drive your car to Boston knowing there were no gas stations open and the tank was on “E”? Of course not, are you kidding me? We procrastinate preventative healthcare visits because we are too busy, but would you procrastinate preventative oil changes knowing that the engine could blow? I hope not—that’s just plain crazy! See what I mean? That hunk of metal gets better care than you give yourself.
I propose that during this busy season and the coming year we take some time to maintain our own body and mind. Enjoy the season but don’t put yourself last. Take those breaks you need for your own mental health, eat good foods while enjoying the holiday treats, get out and walk or carry on with your wellness routine as best you can. Follow up with preventative health appointments. Do not use the holidays as an excuse! If you are not already in a wellness routine, perhaps consider it for the upcoming year ahead. Learn from my brother and enjoy the many miles ahead.
I wish you all a happy and HEALTHY season.