Sheila Cusack, RN, BSN, Christian Brothers of the Midwest District

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Take The First Steps To Improve Your Health

Q - Sheila, what is one of your favorite quotes?

A - “You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” ~Martin Luther King, Jr.

Q - Why does that quote stand out in your mind in 2018?

A - I read this quote years ago, but when I was thinking about how I could support others in starting the year with success, it came to mind, again.

Q - What do you think is the hardest part of personal health goal setting?

A - Sometimes, taking the first step to be still, and assess our condition is a challenge. This is true of our health. The question is, if not now, when?

Q - How to you combat that barrier?

A - Instead of looking backward at negative behaviors, move forward with your dignity intact!

Q - What advice do you have on this topic?

A - The ability to lead a healthy lifestyle lies within you. You know best what will speak to your mind, body and spirit. Anne Lamott tells us, the movement of grace is what changes us and heals us, and our world. Move aside those negative thoughts that have chipped away at your efforts to be healthy, to make room for grace.

Q - I heard you say you have 4 strategies you'd like to share, what are those strategies?

A - I do, and I hope they are helpful to others as much as they are to me, personally:

Strategy 1: Does being still, first thing in the morning work for you? Try deep breathing: slowly breathe in to a count of 4, hold for 2 counts, then breathe out for 4.

Strategy 2: Keep pictures of the Mediterranean diet where you can see them each day. Carry them with you, if needed. Think color, on your plate, and adhere to it, throughout the day. At parties, if you wish to have a dessert, ask for a small piece, and savor it. This new healthy lifestyle is not punitive, but self-honoring. Mindfully, drink water each day. Hydration is all-important for your mind and body. Remember: the focus is kindness for your brain.

Strategy 3: Move your body. Whichever kind of movement suits you, do it each day for 20-30 minutes. Imagine the benefit to your mind, body and spirit. Walking may already be your favorite type of exercise. Imagine improved sleep. If walking is not an option, try chair exercises. Google chair exercises and tailor them to fit your life. Try them outside on nice days to benefit from fresh air!

Strategy 4: Sleep hygiene: Think rest and worthiness of rest; don’t cheat sleep. Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day. Your schedule may vary at times, but make this the exception, not the rule. Make your bedroom a place for resting, not stressing; no computers allowed. Nap early in the day, after lunch, for no more than 30 minutes. Don’t drink alcohol after dinner. Keep pen and paper on your nightstand and write down any nagging thoughts.

Thank you Sheila, you are the definition of Your Friend In Healthcare!