Most of us frown upon the philosophy: “You’ve got to look out for No. 1.”
Our parents brought us up to be responsible, generous, and self-sacrificing.
And we watched them do the same. That’s how we learned how to act toward our fellow man.
However, even that philosophy and mindset need to be carried out with balance, which we have discussed earlier.
The fact is: You must take care of yourself, be sensitive to changes in your health, and take steps every day to insure you are well in every way.
Here are some suggestions, which may be painfully obvious, but of which we may need reminders from time to time.
Get a check-up at least once a year. This may seem that it goes without saying, but in the past when I’ve mentioned I went to the doctor, I was astonished at how many people respond they “haven’t been to a doctor in years.”
People the world over would give anything to have access to the medical opportunities we do. We need to take advantage of them. I won’t discuss the various evaluations you should have done by a certain age. I suspect you already know what they are.
In short: follow suggested guidelines.
Also: you should go to the dentist at least once a year. I go twice. Problems caught early are so much easier to correct.
Expensive, yes. Sometimes dental insurance is worth it and sometimes it is not. Many dentists will work with you on payment plans. My dentist offers a “Smile Plan.”
If you haven’t been to a dentist in a while, call today. I’ll be glad to recommend mine to people in the Jacksonville area.
Earlier this year, I took a friend’s advice and went for a hearing test. I had known for a while sounds were a little muffled and I was saying “What?” quite a bit, so I went. What an eye-opener. (Pun intended.) My hearing was not in the neighborhood of “normal.” I got hearing aids and wear them every day.
It is a proven medical fact that hearing loss can lead to early dementia. I cannot explain that, but you can easily research it.
Eat well. I won’t presume to recommend a certain diet or supplement or product. But I do recommend the old approach: “Breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, dinner like a pauper.” Absolutely true. One reason people can’t sleep at night is they eat too much, too late at night.
What works for me: after 3:00 p.m. no sugar, no chocolate, no caffeine.
I don’t like to eat supper any later than 5:00 p.m.
Once you eat a big meal, your body gets to work digesting—too busy to go to sleep.
Exercise. I won’t give yet another lecture about yoga or bike riding.
And you know I cannot run. And please…I’m never, ever doing another sit-up the longest day I live.
Find something you like. And do it consistently.
As we discussed earlier this week, something is better than nothing.
Sleep. The standard recommendation is “maintain a schedule.” Whatever your bio-rhythms are—early bird, night owl—plan around those and try to go to bed and get up at the same time every day.
Be vigilant about what you allow into your mind. You may be a newshound and thrive on information, but a steady diet…orchestrated to get a reaction from you and make money for the network or agency…will drain and depress you.
If you have the TV on all day, every day, lamenting the state of the world and politics, turn it off.
Find a mental exercise you enjoy and spend time on it every day.
My father did crossword puzzles (in ink).
My mother did Sudoku.
I have been using Lumosity for the last several years. Well worth the money. And I was gratified to learn when I took my mother for her baseline dementia analysis, her doctor recommended this website to keep the mind fit and active.
Of course, Read. Again: read what will uplift and strengthen your mind and heart. You can add toxins to your mind the same as to your body.
To maintain your spiritual well-being, the standard advice still stands.
Read the Bible and pray every day.
I read the Bible cover to cover every year and have since I was a sophomore in college. It’s easy going through Genesis and Exodus, gripping stories that read well again and again.
Leviticus is where people’s courage fails. Keep going. Once you hit Joshua, you will pick up speed again. And there is still nothing like getting to the end of the Old Testament, turning that blank page, and getting to Matthew to read: “Thou shalt call his name Jesus, for he shall save his people from their sins.”
Follow a guide if you want. There are a lot of them. And if you need a devotional book or study guide, there are more options than can be numbered.
I simply take the total number of pages in my Bible, divide by 365 and read than many pages per day, which equals 4.
As for praying: to be quite honest, I pray while I ride my bike. Getting still is an invitation to go to sleep, so pedal and pray is my process. It works equally well while you’re driving or washing dishes, for example.
Enjoy simple pleasures.
Look forward, not back.
Forgive…yourself and everybody else.
And above all: Love.