IMAGIne Winter Wellness – Week Four

Join Gloria Dei Parish Nurse Jill Stewart in our second annual iMAGIne Winter Wellness program. The program runs January 2 through February 29, and you are welcome to join at any time. Please email Jill to register. We explore a different wellness theme each week, and below, Jill discusses the themes each week.

Week Four (Jan. 23): Healthy Eating

Our focus this week is healthy eating! Try including more beans and legumes in your diet. This food group includes chickpeas, lentils, peas, dried beans, soybeans and peanuts,  economical, heart-healthy foods which have many benefits. They are high in vitamins, minerals, fiber and protein. Legumes help moderate blood sugar and reduce cholesterol.

Beans and legumes enrich the soil they are planted in, as we can nourish our community by giving back. At Gloria Dei we can make a difference by supporting Loaves and Fishes, Francis Basket, EveryMeal or help pack backpacks that will be shared with food-insecure children at Highland Elementary School.

This week’s challenges: plant some bean seeds and watch them grow; and be sure to try a meal this week that uses legumes or beans. You can use this recipe from the Gloria Dei Anniversary cookbook, Ardys Pertz’s Calico Beans. It is easy, versatile and always turns out great.

Week Three (Jan. 16): Serve

This week, we remember the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who preached from our pulpit in 1957. Dr. King’s message, “Paul’s Letter to American Christians” included the need to “live as Christians in an un-Christian world” and to treat one another with kindness and grace.

Discrimination and apathy can cause harm, but reducing disparities can lower disease rates. This benefits us as well our neighbors. Studies by the Mayo Clinic and others show that helping gives life meaning and boosts our own wellbeing. In caring and serving, we follow the example Jesus has given us.

This week, learn about Dr. King and other helpers. Think about living as a Christian in an un-Christian world. Show care for your neighbors through helping a charity, contacting your representatives, or becoming involved in Gloria Dei’s Racial Justice Committee.

Week Two (Jan. 9): Rest

Jesus said, “come to me all who labour and are overburdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28, The New Jerusalem Bible). I think we all know what it feels like to be weary or overburdened, whether the fatigue is physical, mental, emotional or spiritual. We can feel the lack of sleep in our bodies, and when it is lacking our mental and physical energy changes. The extended rest we get during sleep is a time for the brain and body to heal and be renewed.

Winter is a season of longer rest for animals and plants. Many people experience seasonal shifts in their energy and moods. As modern people we don’t always recognize that there is a biological basis for seasonal changes. Learn more in this article: “Tired, Hungry and Sad? Relax, you’re Hibernating.”

This week, try to get at least seven hours of sleep every night. Try to keep a consistent sleep pattern. Swap screens for reading a book before bed (you could check one out from the Gloria Dei Library). If you don’t sleep well or have seasonal mood shifts that affect everyday life, talk to a health care provider to learn more about treatments and management strategies that can help.

Week One (Jan. 2): Awe and Wonder

When I think of wonder and when I have felt awe, I most often think about stars, especially the way they shine when I’ve seen the night sky in the Boundary Waters or in rural western Minnesota.  God created the stars on the fourth day (Genesis 1:14-18) The Wise Men and other Seekers have been following them ever since. The broad expanse inspires a sense of wonder and is a reminder that I am part of something larger than myself. Stars connect us to everyone who has been on earth as well as those yet to come. This week, learn about the constellations. Every culture has stories about them.

Regularly experiencing a sense of awe and wonder can benefit health. It can boost immunity, lower stress, and fight inflammation even as it enhances a sense of well-being, as noted in: “What the Heck is Awe and Why is it so Powerful?

Wonder, like all creation, can lead us to find God just as the star led the Wise Men to Jesus. Where will wonder lead you this week?