Our time together, while still being real and honest, is meant to be positive and encouraging in many ways. We want to strengthen our faith, family relationships, and spend time in the kitchen or craft room having a little fun. With that in mind, I want to encourage you today to consider The Five Aspects of Health. Please note–I am not a health professional or counselor and the following post is stated from my own personal opinion. If you have concerns for your health and wellness in any of the five areas, please make an appointment with a qualified professional.
Food For Thought
This post is actually being composed with the help of my daughter. I think today is their sixth or seventh snow day for the year! But it actually stems from some work she’s doing in one of her classes this semester.
She has a class titled “Healthy Living” this semester. The first week in the class she eagerly shared from their notes and reminded me, in a positive way, that there are five aspects of health that everyone should be taking care of in their lives. She shared these with me: physical, mental, social, emotional, and spiritual.
I just have to tell you how happy this made me! First, I am thrilled that they are teaching middle school students that there’s more to taking care of ourselves than just exercising and eating well, although these are extremely important, too. I am so glad that they are communicating to the young minds that there is a “healthy” factor that goes into our social relationships and interactions and taking care of our mental and emotional health is critical. But I was even more excited that they include spiritual health in the list of five.
We live in a diverse area with a range of recognized religions. In a public school setting, I can appreciate that no single religion is necessarily promoted, but the students can still learn about what spiritual health looks like and how our belief system is a foundation for the choices we make, both healthy and unhealthy, in our lives. I want my daughter to be hearing about the importance of spiritual health, not just at home and at church, but in a setting among her peers.
Now here’s my message to you: If kids can be learning about the five aspects of health and how to give themselves the best care, why can’t adults do the same thing? Yes, we know about exercise, nutrition, and medical checkups. We may even be getting on board with self-care and taking care of our mental health with moments of relaxation, positive affirmations, and spending more time in nature. But are you giving your social health nourishment? Are you seeking ways to improve your spiritual well-being?
Our spiritual health, in simple terms, has to do with our view or belief in God (or other higher power), our core value and belief system, and how we feel our existence plays a role in the world around us. The best way to begin taking care of your spiritual health is to first examine what your spiritual health looks like right now.
Do you believe in God? Do you believe you have purpose in this world? What is that purpose or role? What are your core values and priorities? Make a list or write it out in a journal. Then you can begin thinking of ways to align the rest of your life aspects with these beliefs. Visit a library or book store and find some books that address your values or ways to grow your faith. A more difficult step to take, but just as important, is to look at things that you need to eliminate from your life that do not fit well in your core values. I have personally discovered that getting rid of things that take away from my spiritual beliefs are just as important as adding things to my routine to grow my faith. Guilt will impact your emotional, mental, social, and possibly physical health if there are activities you engage in that are against your spiritual beliefs.
I hope today’s topic has at least given you a refresher on the different components of health to be caring for, especially if you didn’t realize spiritual health is just as important as the other four aspects of health. Balance is hard, I know, but the more balanced we can live, taking care of all our needs, the more joy we will find in our everyday experiences.
Admittedly, I’m not always good at taking care of myself. But most days I try and that may start with what I decide to serve my family for dinner. I work hard to pack healthy lunches for my husband and daughter and I serve mostly healthy dinners. I always say, though, that healthy dinners don’t have to be bland and tasteless and they certainly don’t have to be boring.
One of the best ways to add flavor to food, without added fat, is with spices. Entrees that feature vegetables are also good. I like to balance protein and carbohydrates in our meal. Today’s recipe uses these strategies.
Chicken Fajita Rice
- 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into thin strips
- 2 bell peppers, cut into strips
- 2 large onions, cut into strips
- 2 TBS olive oil
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp smoky paprika
- 1 cup dry long-grain rice
- salsa, guacamole, or avocado, for serving
Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add peppers, onions, salt, and pepper, cooking until just beginning to soften, about 5 to 6 minutes.
While vegetables are cooking, begin to prepare the rice. In medium saucepan, add rice, 2 cups of water, and a dash of salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to LOW and cover. Simmer for 20-25 minutes. Remove from heat and fluff with fork.
Remove cooked vegetables to plate or bowl; set aside.
Add remaining olive oil to skillet. Add chicken pieces, spices, and chicken broth to skillet. Cook 3 minutes and turn chicken. Continue cooking chicken, 2-4 minutes.
Add vegetables back to skillet and stir until everything is coated with seasoning sauce.
Serve chicken and vegetables over rice.
Top with salsa, guacamole, or avocado, if desired.