The New Year’s holiday has come and gone and for some, so have their resolutions. For others the excitement and hope for what the New Year may bring is just getting started. After all, didn’t we just celebrate the gift of life in the birth of the savior just a few weeks ago? So what is it about starting anew and reaching new heights appeals to you most?
Good health and a well functioning body may not always be in the forefront of thought for most but when those areas become jeopardized, such reflections certainly become more prevalent. This winter seems to have brought an increased amount of illness to those that surround this writer including strep throat, bronchitis, (un)common colds, influenza, and sinus/chest infection. Some symptoms that have been felt personally include abnormal discomforts such as migraines, shortness of breath, chest pains, congestive mucus, muscular and skeletal body aches and insomnia, just to name a few.
It took a blast of electromagnetic radiation from an x-ray to locate the source of the problem subtly across my left lung being pneumonia. Unfortunately the solution seems to be more than the “apple a day” that doctors told us would keep them away. Holistic approaches have included Echinacea, Zinc, herbal teas, diffusers/vaporizers, essential oils, hot baths and chunky chicken soups. All of these approaches seemed to at best only temporarily put any symptoms into remission. It wasn’t until the big gun antibiotics were prescribed that any real healing could be accomplished. Due to the fact that lying in bed ill only has a limited amount of options to avoid going stir crazy, comparing and contrasting sickness vs. wellness into everyday life scenarios can help to pass this time, and writing this article of course. As such the following are either insights to be applied in the New Year or just the rambling thoughts of someone with a fever and cold chills.
Anything worth having in life requires a certain amount of work, including happiness. But how important is it to be happy in life anyway? “Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy” (2Nephi 2:25) Take time for self care to include activities as simple as finding a few minutes of quiet time each day to a more complex relaxation ritual such as taking an extended vacation. Are there things that used to bring you joy but you just don’t have the time do these things anymore? What unique aspect of life puts a smile on your face? Are you an academic that enjoys activities such as writing in a journal or reading a new book? Are you one who enjoys sensory pleasures such as petting a dog, smelling a campfire or experiencing a punk rock concert? Maybe you just need some time to be a kid by playing with your own kids, taking them to the park, or just jumping on the bed with them? Of course there’s always King Benjamin’s recipe for happiness. “And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God” (Mosiah 2:17).
The specific areas that can improve your life and your health are best determined by you. After all, aren’t you the best expert on yourself? If you were to be completely honest with yourself, what is missing from your life? Do you need to go to bed earlier at night, eat more fruit or pray a little longer, or more often for that matter? When is the last time you went for a walk or put your feet in a cool stream? How long has it been since you learned a new hobby? If you attend 12-step meetings, when is the last time you went to a new one, reached out to a newcomer or went back to a meeting you haven’t been to in a while? This is not to say that loved ones and significant others aren’t equally involved in improving quality of life. Spend more time alone with those you love. Write a love letter like you did in high school. Say “I love you” daily to your kids. Plan a vacation for the near future with your family or friends. Make extra efforts to meet up with good friends more often. Make a call or reach out to an old friend that you haven’t talked to in a while.
The New Year of 2014 can bring much peace and happiness into your life, or it won’t. You can sit and wait until your stress levels knock a few years off the back end of your life before taking any action. You can always wait until another New Year has come and gone to realize that opportunities have been missed. What will your blast of electromagnetic radiation on an x-ray reveal? Maybe it’s the realization that the kids are grown and gone, friends are nowhere to be found, or that you don’t have a lot of time left for the menial things in life. Just as pneumonia finds this writer eager with anticipation for the day in the near future to wrestle with my kids, there are those who find themselves in a similar rut where happiness seems more aloof than present. Be proactive in your quest since just as holistic remedies assist in the trials of winter sickness, any minor efforts may also contribute to your future happiness. Be diligent in this effort as complacency and a false sense of security can lead you to having cold shakes, while running a fever in the fetal position under your blankets, metaphorically speaking of course. In conclusion to this article but definitely not exhaustive to measures that can be taken, follow the admonition of Paul. “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” (Philippians 4:8).