Op-ed: Tips to improve your physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional health
- John Lagimodiere | March 07, 2018
Indigenous people in Canada have the worst health indicators of the entire population. This is not shocking considering the historical trauma that First Nation and Métis people in Saskatchewan have faced. Dislocation from land, theft and abuse of children, suppression of language and culture and alienation from the economy that has led to widespread poverty.
Trauma impacts the brain and entire nervous system. Childhood trauma is also seen as the leading indicator of addictions in adults. And poverty finds people living in food deserts or unable to afford healthy food. This lack of proper nutrition makes people more susceptible to viruses and diseases like diabetes. Lots of challenges.
But there are ways you can help your health with minimal cost and there are simple things you can do to extend your life span and start feeling better physically, emotionally, spiritually and mentally. Here’s a few helpful tips that have seemed to work for me and those close to me.
Get thee to a counselor
Almost everyone has some trauma in their background. Some more than others. An important start to any health care campaign is to get your brain straight. And confront some demons. Try a counselor. Dump everything on them. Get out your pain. See how it influences you. Eats you. A good counselor can help you tame that beast and understand your self better. Helps you understand your addictions and how to better deal with them. That’s a big step.
Simple right? Kidding. I know how hard it is. Multiple quitter here. But after three days of hell, three weeks of little twitches and three months of not smoking, you will be fine. You won’t stink. You will be able to smell and taste food. Your blood pressure will drop and your lungs will start to recover and you will save thousands of dollars and extend your life.
Get thee to a doctor
Gentlemen, if you are over 40, go to the doctor and get your prostate checked. The procedure is simple and a little uncomfortable but oh so important. Men mostly die from heart attacks or prostate cancer. You can prevent or treat both situations if you catch the issue quickly enough. Be proactive. Over 50? Get your shingles vaccine at your next prostate check up.
Watch what you eat and drink
Avoid processed and fast foods. Don’t drink pop. An evening snack of a bowl of ice cream and a bag of chips is not a good thing. Replace those bad snacks with something lighter and healthier. Popcorn, maybe some nuts or raw veggies. Boring I know, but you won’t have heartburn in bed anymore.
Speaking of heartburn
This is for all the beer drinkers out there. Beer makes you puffy. They don’t call it a beer gut for nothing. It also messes up your digestion. If you drink lots of beer, I bet you have lots of antacids around. Now I agree, beer can be a wonderful beverage, but keep it to one or two after hockey and not a 24 pack on the weekend and watch those chubby cheeks and puffy neck fade away to reveal your true pre-beer beauty. (This advice goes for all types of alcohol, but beer is the worst)
Move it or lose it
How hard is it to walk two blocks? How about eight blocks? If you are really out of shape, start with two and work your way up. Move those bones. Complacency leads to obesity and diabetes. Get out there and find your activity. It doesn’t have to be the gym. It can be gardening, walking laps around the community or digging out the hockey equipment and skating with friends. Find an activity you are passionate about and do it. If you break a sweat, bonus.
I have a friend who had chronic pain from old sports injuries. Opioids suck and are addictive. His doctor prescribed him some medicine derived from cannabis and it stopped his pain and with no addiction worries. He raves about it. This new and emerging medicine can be used for pain management for arthritis, anxiety and to treat diabetes to name a few. This type of cannabis isn’t what the kids are smoking in the basement while they play video games, this is a significant advancement in access to medicine that offers hope to many with symptoms that ‘modern medicine’ hasn’t been able to help. Great opportunity for business too.
Avoid the rage
Quit reading the comments on Facebook on Indigenous news stories. Just quit. Don’t engage them. But where do they keep coming from…. they just keep coming! Who has the time those trolls have to drop hate? How? Oops, they got me going again. Just quit.
And love thyself.
Figure out who you are and own it. Be you and love it. That’s all that really matters.