When we think of health many times our thoughts go to what we are eating, how we are exercising or are we getting enough sleep. If we have been through a serious illness, we may be concerned about finding a cure or a way of not having it recur in our life or that of others.
Today though I want to talk about our mental health. Give our children and ourselves permission to say to a trusted friend or parent:
“I am feeling very sad.
My stress is getting greater than I feel like I can deal with.
I am frustrated with my situation.
I keep exploding in anger at people I love. “
Some would say it is not my personality to talk about those feelings. We know though that bottling them up inside ourselves can be dangerous not only mentally but also on our physical body. I remember some 25 years ago feeling so stressed that I literally felt as if I was going to have a heart attack. There were pains in the heart, faster pulse rate and an anxiety that was more than I could deal with. I went to the hospital, I was so scared.
I learned to talk about what I was feeling. I learned how to lean on others when I really needed to and to take better care of myself. So please – take the mental health of ourselves and our children just as seriously as you do the physical health. Doing so will help you to be a much healthier person and happier too!
While the consumption of healthy foods has improved over the last 20 years – the intake of unhealthy foods has also increased – actually outpacing the former. The lead researcher of The Lancet Global Health, 2015 – after studying the diet in 187 countries and 4.5 billion adults, has suggested that by 2020 75% of all deaths will be cause by non-communicable diseases. This problem could be greatly reduced by improving our diets.
When you combine this issue with 80% of young people not getting enough exercise, we can see how diabetes could very easily be inflicting 60-70% of all young people born after 2000 as they grow into adulthood. As parents and adults we want to take a close look at how we are working with our youth. Are we setting the example for them in our personal diet and exercise habits? Are we encouraging them to maintain great habits of their own?
What steps could each of us take to lead the way in good health?
Health is not a character skill, virtue or value. Health is not a moral or ethic that we live by. Health is so very important to us and our well being in body, mind and spirit. That is why reminding our students of the need to be healthy in all aspects of their life is a part of the Balanced Life Skills Way.
Where does this mind set begin? It begins with appreciating that we only get one body to work with and having respect for that body is shown by the way that we treat it. Are we eating the kind of foods that will nourish us? Are we exercising on a regular basis to stay strong, and maintain the elasticity of our muscles? Are we sleeping enough? That means are we getting 7-9 hours of sleep as adults and 10-12 hours for our children.
The focus with our children and students will be ‘time-traveling’ into the future – to be sure that when we are out of childhood and into adulthood, possibly with our own children, that we are healthy and able to give them good lessons in staying healthy.
What does a healthy mind, body and spirit allow us to do in our family life? With complete health what hobbies and recreation would you like to be able to do when you are older? How will health help you in your career? Finally will you be able to do more for others if you are healthy yourself?
We look forward to this month of reminders about health, for our students and ourselves.
Each month we will discuss a life skill with all of our students. This month the word is Health. This word will be defined in the following ways for our students.
Young students: Health means: My body is strong, my brain is sharp and I feel good!
Older students: Health means: Wellbeing in body, mind and spirit
Each age group has a worksheet that parents can use to continue the discussion at home with their children, and one for adults to allow them to think more deeply about the skill and how it applies to them. Would you like to receive the worksheet? Stop by our studio at 133 Gibralter Avenue in Annapolis, MD and tell us the age of your child. We will give you a worksheet and invite you to watch Mr. Joe discuss the word with the students in class. You can also follow our discussions here on this website.
If you would like to become a member of Balanced Life Skills, come TRY CLASSES FOR FREE. We are not your typical after school activity, in fact we are an education center, working with our students on physical skills along with empowering families with compassion, awareness and respect – creating a culture of peace – through the arts. We believe in every child and build their self – confidence. Balanced Life Skills takes part in community service and encourages each student to do the same.
I was shocked to learn that tooth decay is not as dangerous as the acidic drinks and toothpaste we are using.
On Thursday morning at the South Anne Arundel Rotary Club we had a speaker from Wooddell & Passaro Dental Group. Now normally this would not be something that I would worry too much about, but this presentation opened my eyes to a danger both to adults and to kids that I believe all of us need to be aware of. I learned:
- Sports drinks are worse for your teeth even that soft drinks
- Acid reflux can increase the amount of enamel decay, cupping and yellowing of teeth
- Dry mouth symptoms does not allow the saliva to do its job in protecting the teeth
Unfortunately our children are drinking more sports drinks than ever before and this not only is affecting their teeth but is also associated with poor bone health, diabetes and obesity. It is also easy to misdiagnose what is happening to your teeth and increasing the amount of brushing with highly abrasive tooth paste is contributing to the problem with disintegrating of teeth in children and adults.
What can you do? Get educated on the subject and the products that we use to clean our teeth and the foods that we consume.
- Limit the acidic drinks
- Use a straw when drinking acidic drinks
- Never drink acidic drinks when a dry mouth is present
- Drink water to rehydrate
- Wait one hour after drinking an acidic drink prior to brushing your teeth.
Would you like to learn more? I learned this information from the Wooddell & Passaro dentist practice in Davidsonville MD. If you would like to hear them speak on this subject, let me know and we will look into doing one of our Parent Workshop’s at Balanced Life Skills on this subject. Both Joe and James were great presenters and I know everyone would benefit from their knowledge.
Halloween is complete and all of our youngsters came home with more sugar filled treats in their bag than is good for them. Before you as a parent allow them to eat our normal “just one per day rule” – consider this about their health:
- High sugar intake causes blood sugar imbalances that lead to Type 2 diabetes.
- High sugar intake can lead to tooth decay, headaches & migraines, hypoglycemia and kidney damage
- High sugar leads to obesity. The body converts sugar to fat!
- Sugar is linked to immune system suppression and contributes to other diseases, like heart disease and cancer.
- Sugar has many names including: sugar, cane sugar, cane syrup, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, fructose, maltose, dextrose, rice syrup, agave, molasses, steevia, splenda
- Try not to exceed 100 calories a day of added sugar
- Try not to consume a food or drink with over 10g of sugar per serving
- Drink water instead of soft drinks and juices
- Check the label for sugar content per serving
If you have just way too much candy from the night of celebration, we invite you to donate the extra to our drive for Operation Gratitude. Balanced Life Skills will collect candy until December 2 and will be sending care packages to U.S. Military around the world. In fact our own Ms. Ariel has a brother who is serving abroad and will receive a package.