Pro-Active Aging & Chronic Illness
Balancing Total Health and the Holidays
Sorry, I haven’t written much for you lately. I’ve had a bunch of writing deadlines that tied me up. But I want to share some things with you about being an active ager with chronic illness and the Thanksgiving-Christmas-New Year holidays looming in our immediate future.
But first, I’d like to share a bit about my last post, “Halloween and the Encounters with the Unholy.” I see Christians practicing New Age, Wicca, and more. First, nothing else is compatible with our Christian faith. Second, but most importantly, I can’t help as a concerned Christian to warn others about the dangers of these practices. It’s critical to realize that demons are behind them—and they are very real. If it creeped you out like it must have for one of my Insiders, then good! It should! I can’t stay quiet about such things. I’d rather offend people than offend God. Ultimately, we must honor God with all that we do. In January, I will do a special workshop called “Redemption: Transforming Your Art/Sport/Practice to Glorify God.” It will be free, but registration will be required. Hopefully, you will find ways to honor God with what you do.
Being an active ager with chronic pain and fatigue, I find it more challenging to stay healthy now than at other times. In fact, I’d like to change to Pro-Active Aging and Chronic Illness Victors. When we become proactive, we find ways to meet our needs without disrupting others. But if we must advocate for ourselves, then we do. Also, when I call people with chronic illness victors, it means that we are indeed warring in a battle, but Jesus has the victory. Whether we get out of bed every morning, we have victory in Christ, if that’s all we can muster. But if we can do so much more, praise God, too! Every day is a new one to take care of ourselves and honor God with our holiday season.
Indeed, the holidays are not easy with chronic pain and fatigue after 50! But we can find ways to do so, even in winter with snow flurries and bitter cold. Winter causes many active agers and chronic illness victors to become sluggish, gain weight, and seek comfort foods. Suppose you have chronic pain and fatigue conditions. In that case, it’s even more difficult because lack of movement creates more pain, as does eating highly inflammatory foods. But don’t despair! Here are some ideas to help jumpstart your holiday blues:
- Count your steps. Use the health tracker on your smartwatch to get 10,000 or more steps daily. No smartwatch? No problem! Get a Fitbit or something similar.
- Get some exercise equipment that helps you stay active. Whatever equipment you purchase, keep your equipment simple and easy to use. If its too complicated, you won’t use it. For me, I’ve got an exercise bike with a desk. I can hop on it to ride while surfing the net, reading, or writing. You can do your devotions and prayer time riding, too. I also just ordered a Total Gym from Costco. I can’t wait to use it! The gym where I worked had the professional version, which I absolutely loved!
- Keep weights, bands, a mat, or suspension straps handy. Know what to do three days a week, and get three sets sprinkled throughout your day. You can also do my 3-10-3 Challenge! The video is old, but it’s still a good basic workout.
- Get a full spectrum light. Getting the full spectrum of light on dreary days helps reduce depression that leads to comfort eating and lethargy.
- Keep healthy snacks handy. Stock your fridge and pantry with healthy snacks you can easily grab when you have the munchies. Nuts without salt, low-carb & low-fat protein bars, fruit snacks, and low salt & fat popcorn are great options. I love to stock up and shop at Costco. I get plenty of fresh fruit and veggies to nibble on when I do.
- Cook from scratch! Stop eating out and eat in. If you stock up shop, you can make many healthy meals from what you buy. I always pick up fresh, lean poultry, produce, quinoa, brown rice, and potatoes. If I do pasta, I use ½ the amount of pasta with twice the amount of veggies! The pasta is a sprinkling, with veggies as the stars of the show.
- Keep Bible verses at various stations in your home where you exercise. You can set up a circuit workout throughout your house. Read the Bible verse, and then do your exercises for that station. Circuits and intervals work great for people with chronic pain and fatigue. (https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/exercising-chronic-conditions). Keep your weights and intensity low, working from 15-60 seconds, rest for 30-60 seconds, and then switch. Some groups recommend higher weight with lower reps, but my experiences personally and professionally disagree. I’ve ended up with excruciating pain and joints locking with high-weight-low reps). Find out what your healthcare provider recommends for you and adjust as necessary. Eventually, you will have the passages memorized.
- Play Christian music during your day. It helps reduce depression to listen to Christian radio or a playlist of your favorite Christian music while you go through your day. You can download great Christian exercise music from SpiritFit Music for your workouts.
- Get your check-ups and vaccines. Nothing ruins the holidays more than getting sick! When was the last time you visited your primary healthcare provider? Which shots do you need? I just got my shingles vaccine, part 1. I felt crummy the next three days, but I’ve seen the damage the shingles caused some of my loved ones and want no part! I’m also setting up a schedule to get my critical vaccines—those which are absolutely necessary. After that, I’ll consider the rest.
- Simplify gifting and decorating. You don’t have to make your home look like a Hallmark or Great American Family holiday set! Simple decorations stand out instead of causing overwhelm. Gift loved ones through online orders and e-gift cards. Be intentional and stay within your budget. You’ll stress less this way. I sorted through some of my decorations last year, tossing and donating those that no longer hold meaning or have become outdated. I’m also ordering gifts online to be shipped to family members.
Take time to reflect upon what God has done for you and what He has in store for you in 2024. And then consider how you can honor and glorify Him in all you do! Ephesians 2:10: “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”
If you need personalized help, please check these out and contact me. I will resume Healthy Lifestyles Classes in January 2024. ChiRho Flow is on break until January, too.
Many blessings to you!