Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Just a Little Better

It sounds so easy. “I’ll do just a little bit better.”  But, just a little better, in reality, can be a lot better. It can mean all the difference in getting enough sleep, eating more fruits and vegetables, consuming fewer calories, fewer sweets, fewer refined carbs, less alcohol. The list goes on.

For many of us, our daily decisions revolve around our work, our children and families, how we choose to and need to spend our time, what we are able to afford,  how we prepare our meals (or if we prepare our meals) . . . you get the idea. And, the idea is, that wherever we  are along the continuum, we can all do just a little better.

If you have two soft drinks a day, have just one (and then do better still). Do the same for your children. If you have dessert at every meal, try limiting it to once a week, or on special occasions. If you have sugar-laden breakfast cereals (because, after-all, that’s what your kids see on television), switch to a whole grain cereal topped with berries or a banana. If you don’t have time for 20 minutes of moderate physical activity every day, try for three times a week—maybe a family walk after dinner rather than half an hour of TV.

Even with time, financial and work constraints, we can all find ways to make even the smallest improvements in our lifestyle behavior choices. By adopting a just a little better attitude, you not only do better, you set a better example, and your children learn by that example.
Keep in mind too, that just a little better isn’t just anything—it might just be everything.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Digging in the Dirt

This morning's harvest
I love digging in the dirt. It’s about as down to earth as you can get. The fenced garden walls crawl with morning glories and other flowering vines, and they are beautiful in the early morning light.  The gorgeous heirloom tomatoes, leafy greens, cucumbers, eggplant, varieties of squash, okra, beans, potatoes, onions, peppers, herbs, carrots, radishes, beets, daikon and more, assure us we will eat well. It’s hard to feel the ever-present daily stresses when digging, tending and nurturing.

But, then there’s the work.  And, the work to maintain our garden paradise means aching shoulders and backs, a lot of mud, blisters, broken fingernails, and time. It’s a lot of work. But, then there’s the harvest (yea!). And, then there’s the more.

You can’t have a harvest without the digging, planting, watering, thinning, weeding, and ongoing care. It takes constant attention and tending. It becomes a part of your day. You can’t ignore the weeds, the bugs and grubs (yuck),  the watering demands, or the ongoing day-to-day attention required to produce a fruitful garden. It starts as a collection of tender shoots, demanding attention, and you can’t pay attention part time or only when it’s convenient. If you only tended your garden on Tuesday and Saturday, it would wilt in the hot sun. It wouldn’t thrive and it wouldn’t yield the benefits you were after. If you ignored the weeds, they would overtake your harvest, and at the same time consume and steal the nutrients from the soil. 

But . . . at the same time, you can’t overindulge your garden. You can’t over-feed, over-water, or over-plant. There’s a balance that must be maintained for your garden’s health and productivity, not just this year, but for the years to come. A garden is, in its own way, a kind of wealth—and health. It’s a living thing. And, with all we put into it, the payback comes in multiples.

So, digging in to wellness . . . Can you hope to achieve your wellness goals with only a few hours of attention each week? Most likely “not.”  You have to plan ahead and you have to do first things first. You dig, you plant, you nurture, and then you are able to reap the benefits of your effort.  Believe it, your wellness is also a kind of wealth. And, it demands your attention.

Do you have a plan to grow your wellness? Sure, it’s a stretch, but think of your body as your garden. You don’t want to underfeed it, and you shouldn’t overfeed it, and you can’t ignore it.  You already know that  too much takes its toll, as does too little. Only with too much, you are working in reverse to achieve your goals. Too much, just as too little, means your garden won’t thrive.

You need to be active. You need to be attentive. You need to be deliberate. You need to be moderate and you need to be mindful. Your body needs to be a part of the process. Your body needs fuel, the right amount in the right proportion supplied by you, just as your garden needs nutrients supplied through feeding – the right amount at the right time. 

Whether you have a garden or not, you are a gardener . . . 
Are you giving your body the nutrients it needs? Are you giving it too much food? Are you giving it the attention it needs? Are you on the right track for bountiful wellness?