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Caring for your mind and Body: The Nurse Perspective


                    By Donna J. Maniér, MSN/Ed, Faith Community Nurse


“In the morning when I rise, Give me Jesus”.  This song has always been one of my favorites.  My mother used to sing it in church and when I was asked to solo, it became one of my favorite songs to sing. It conveys a sense of peace in the early hours of waking when all is still in the house, a time to listen and talk to God and to reflect on life itself. 

This morning, my reflection turned to how we have and are surviving the long siege of darkness and sadness of the past year.  It is disturbing to note that many are suffering symptoms of depression and that those who were already having difficulty holding it together mentally, are experiencing exacerbations and in need of professional help.  This is not a substitute for your primary health provider, so if you are having problems please call your health provider or a behavioral professional who can advise and assist you.

Meantime, ‘back at the ranch’, recent reports indicate a rise in emotional/mental problems in many populations and our communities.  We have experienced isolation, separation anxiety, maybe depression, and for some, increased mental and emotional concerns this past year. This discussion, however, provided to help you maintain and care for your mind and body, keep you fit for as long as the pandemic continues, and realize for a future healthy lifestyle.

In high school, did you ever read the poem, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner who cried “Water, water everywhere, and nor any drop to drink”?  I never understood this poem until I started sailing, but those word stuck with me ever and now I understand water, water, everywhere and it became the reason to discuss water. I started questioning my daily water intake.  It has not been good!  So as of yesterday, I decided to be more aware of my intake and increase it to the point where I can see and feel the difference in my overall being.  Will you join me in this pledge to increase the amount of water/fluids we drink every day?

How much water do we need to drink to keep our bodies fit and well-oiled?  The body is approximately 60% water and there is no other liquid on this planet as important than water.  You can say, water makes the world “go ‘round”.  So, the reason why we need to stay hydrated is because we use a lot of water in our daily life.  Water is what makes our planet live and because everything you do uses water, let us look at how we are using it.

People who work out at the gym, run, or walk for exercise, use enormous amounts of water; sweating regulates the temperature of the body after and during exercise, so you must replenish what was lost.  The digestive system uses a lot of water – bowel movements need water to move along the digestive tract and softens stool to keep you from being constipated. Your kidneys are the filtering system and filters out waste in the body and prevents stones from forming. The darker the urine, the more concentrated or lack of water and if it has a strange odor, you are not drinking enough.  Check the color of your urine – note if it is clear, light amber, dark, bloody.  The color tells you if you are drinking enough water.  If it is bloody, stop and call your health care provider as that indicates a problem best addressed by your provider.

Best of all, water keeps the largest organ of the body, the skin, moisturized and helps stave off the signs of aging. Keeping yourself hydrated will make you look younger and too, adds mile to your endurance, strength, and power.  When I know I have a lifting or moving task in my home, I relax over a glass of cool water infused with fruit - lemon, lime and mint, strawberry and basil, or a favorite herbal tea bag to make it tasty, and then I am ready to accomplish my tasks.

Some smart ways to hydrate and help you enjoy the benefits of water:

Remember this if nothing else: H2O (water) is essential for sustenance.  Women should drink 11.5 cups/day and men 15.5 cups/day.  You may need to make changes to account for age, gender, activity level, and medical status.

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