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Daily Encouragement: Counselor's Corner by Stephanie R. Reck, LMSW, LBT, BCCC

January 25, 2017

Taking Good Care of Your Physical Body


Several years ago I owned a dog that I loved very much, but I did not take as good of care of him as I should have. I feed my dog generic brand dog food from Wal-Mart, gave him high-fat treats, and never walked him. I know, you must be thinking what a terrible pet parent I was, truth be told I did not really believe taking good care of my dog by providing exercise, healthy, nutritious dog food, and offering wholesome treats would matter. I was wrong! My dog started to experience heart problems and was overweight. I took him to the vet and he was diagnosed with Congestive Heart Failure. Despite all the changes that I made to his diet, including giving him a ton of medications, he still passed away. Years and years of unhealthy eating and no exercise, I believe contributed to my dog’s health problems. Lesson learned! The two dogs that I have now are taken much better care of. For starters, they eat a healthy and yes more expensive dog food, they get two walks per day, I give them vitamins, and they only get healthy dog treats. I just took these two dogs to the vet and guess what? Their heart, lungs and joints are healthy! They both received a clean bill!

So what does my dog’s health have to do with our health? Lots! We can learn a lot from taking care of pets. Keep reading.

Reflect and ponder: Do you care for your physical body the way that you should? What changes can you make this week to start taking better charge of your body? Be specific! Make goals and write them out, such as I will walk 30 minutes, 3x a week.

Counselor’s advice:
Here are some practical ways to get started taking care of your temple:

1.      Get enough sleep every night, at least 7-8 hours. Our bodies repair when we sleep at night. Go to bed and get up at the same time during the week, and on the weekends you can add 30-60 minutes extra sleep time.

2.      Balance what you eat. For instance if you have to have that cheeseburger, go ahead but instead of fries have a salad and a piece of fruit. Also, having a cheeseburger once or twice a month is fine, but if you are having one several times a week; that’s a problem. It does not have to be a cheeseburger, you may like a good steak or some lip-smacking fried chicken. I love to eat, so as long as I bring balance into my meal planning, it works out great. As a general rule, try and have 2 servings of fruits and vegetables per day, lots of water, limit or have no sodas and high caffeinated drinks, cut back on sugar (try to eliminate sugar as much as possible, instead opt for a natural sweetener like Stevia), limit fried foods maybe once per week (if you have to have), and drink lots of green tea with Stevia of course! I like Moroccan mint green tea (you can find on amazon).

3.      Exercise. Walking is one of the best ways to exercise. Just 20-30 minutes of brisk walking, 3-4x per week can have incredible benefits to your overall health, including a natural stress reliever! Aerobic exercise like running and swimming are great as well for cardiovascular health. It does not matter what type of exercise that you do, the health benefits will be there. The point is, just do something-walk your dog!

4.      Take a multi-vitamin, fish-oil, b-vitamins, and any others that you research that can benefit your health. The key to great vitamins is not to just buy anything because they are cheap, some have fillers that are not beneficial. Do your research on the vitamins you choose and the companies that sell them. Read the reviews on the supplements. I recommend going through a nutritionist or someone who specializes in selling supplements. (The above statements are not medical disclaimers.)

5.      Limit stress. I cannot emphasize this one enough. Stress can cause a host of medical aliments including depression and anxiety. De-stress every day! Find what works for you-quiet time with God, a cup of tea, a light stroll, a warm bubble bath, or a funny movie.

6.      Take warm baths using a combination of 1-2 cups of Epson salt, 10 drops of lavender essential oil, and 3 tablespoons of baking soda. The health benefits of taking Epson salt baths are phenomenal! Google benefits of Epson salt baths to see the benefits, and an add on bonus with these baths, it is a de-stressor!

MEDITATE ON THESE SCRIPRTURES:

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought with a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

For no one ever hated their own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church. Ephesians 5:29


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