RECIPE FOR YOUR HEALTH

Eat: a variety of foods; bright colored foods tend to have higher nutritional benefits; limit second helpings of dessert; holiday time is not the best time to ‘go on a diet.’ Be realistic.

Play: Include exercise most days of the week; be realistic; accept any physical limitations; adapt to those limitations while keeping active with what you are able to do.

Love: Emotions impact our well-being, for better or worse. Work at maintaining positive relationships;adapt an attitude of gratitude. Be more kind; show more understanding, practice forgiveness.

Drugs: Keep up to date on vaccinations; take prescription drugs as ordered by the physician; avoid drugs or substances that may be habit-forming. Drink more water.

Rugs: Remove scatter rugs from your home; falls are the most common cause of disability and death for people of all ages. Be mindful of hazards in the home and workplace; prevention is prudent.

Rest: Maintain a regular, regenerative sleep routine consistently. If you have chronic difficulty getting enough sleep, seek assistance from a physician who is a sleep specialist.

Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, just as it is well with your soul.
— 3 John 1:2

AS SEASONS CHANGE  . . . How does a person keep up?

Even before the leaves turn color, the end of summer is punctuated by the beginning of the school year for many people. Routines change, with bedtimes and homework for many, in addition to putting away the golf clubs and tennis racquets in anticipation of skiing and sledding and skating. For those who no longer manage family and school routines, there are still changes of the fall season. As children are busy with challenges and stressors of school, some people are facing an empty nest or job stress.  And then, on top of that, Pastor Samuelson has retired and we need to get used to the guy in the bow tie! Thankfully we have come to know Pastor Jacobson over the past several years, but now he is in a new role as senior pastor – and some people have anxiety about what else may change, with new leadership. Even positive and good changes cause stress and require adaptation.

It would be short-sighted to gloss over all life changes, at all times and in all places. There is age-related stress on those grade-schoolers learning to adapt to new teachers, perhaps new friends, new expectations – which also is true for college-bound persons as well as those changing or seeking employment. It is no easier for adults to make changes, but it is quite likely adults have had to make more changes as the years have gone by. Typically they have faced the challenges, have learned new skills (again), and have more experience with adapting to a “new normal.”

There are some guidelines to assist in integrating a new normal. Remember, no one can know everything! Accept assistance, accept that offer of support and understanding of difficulties, when the challenge may be physical, intellectual, or emotional. Give yourself time, assuring yourself (and/or others) that adjusting to changes and challenges is a process that takes time.

It may be helpful to realize and observe that not everyone wants to ask for help. Be proactive to offer a hand or an arm to support someone’s imbalance or uncertainty with vision changes, for example. Adapting to changes can stress any of us, which leads to the question of how to cope with stress. Even in the process of change, continue opportunities to do those things that you enjoy or that you know will relieve stress – enjoy doing or watching some fall sports, or take time to clean closets, basement, or garage.  Pace those activities, it’s not realistic to do all in one day! But also, celebrate your accomplishments with the enjoyment of a wood fire, perhaps an opportunity to roast marshmallows or make smores. Face the reality of coming winter by making positive plans. Examples of that might be to plan for a “getaway” to warmer weather sometime during the winter, i.e. “spring break.” Put reading materials in an easily-accessible spot, find puzzles that interest you and your family, make plans to share rides when needed, review your favorite recipes for soup and stock up the ingredients.

For all ages, it is helpful to tend to the following aspects of healthy living: 1) get enough sleep every night; 2) maintain a healthy diet; 3) keep brain exercises in your routine, from elementary school through late ages and stages of life; 4) volunteer and otherwise participate in community service or activities that you enjoy to keep social skills current, and you will find it enriching in all areas of life; and 5) maintain participation in our faith community, live with purpose, seek out time with other people.

May the peace of our Lord walk with you in all times and in all places, as the leaves change color.

DO I REALLY NEED A FLU SHOT?

The flu vaccine greatly reduces the risk of getting or spreading the flu. That’s the short answer.

Influenza, aka “the flu,” is not a simple illness. The symptoms typically include fever, cough, muscle aches, chills and fatigue. It may seem to be of less concern than what promoters claim, but keep in mind that there is a range of severity of each of those symptoms. Many of these symptoms occur with an uncomplicated upper respiratory illness or ‘just a cold.’ However true influenza has some not-so-subtle differences. A cold may come on slowly over several days of minor, annoying symptoms. The flu comes on rapidly, to the extent that most of those who have it can state firmly the date and time of the onset of symptoms, often described as “I was feeling perfectly fine until 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday!”

The best way to avoid the flu is to get a flu vaccine. The flu shot not only helps you avoid the flu, it also helps prevent the spread of flu from person to person. Even though you might not be at high risk of complications from flu, getting the shot lowers your risk of spreading the flu virus to people who are at high risk. Those at greater risk of complications include children under the age of 5, adults over the age of 65 and those people who have chronic illnesses.

Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd advocates for best health possible by sponsoring flu shots, given by the Minnesota Visiting Nurse Association. This year’s flu shot opportunity will be on Sunday September 16 between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and noon. The cost is $38, payable by cash or check; the Minnesota Visiting Nurse Association will submit insurance claims so be prepared to pay whatever co-pay might be required by your insurance company. Credit card payments cannot be accepted. 

Side effects of a flu shot might include mild soreness or redness at the injection site; that should disappear within a day or two. Serious side effects are extremely rare. Some individuals may develop flu symptoms after having the vaccine, however, the vaccine is made from “killed viruses” that do not cause influenza. It is also noted that for the first one – two weeks after receiving the vaccine, a person might feel achy and tired as the body ramps up its immunity,
as stimulated by the vaccine.

Questions about the vaccine should be asked of your physician. For general information, contact Dorothy Ellerbroek, parish nurse, at nurse@goodshepherdmpls.org.