Wellness and Balance; what does it mean to you? It can mean different things for different people. For my family and I it’s eating right, working out every day, daily prayers and ceremony, and striving to learn more every day. Like this year, both my wife and I obtained our Bachelor of Science degrees at 45 years old. Who would have thought? But we just made up our minds and did it.
As a Native coach and trainer for over 25 years, I think there is a movement going on in Indian Country. Our people want to be healthy, strong, and heal from our historically traumatic past. It’s finding the courage to step out, step up and say, “I am ready!” without fear of ridicule or being made fun of because you want to change. I know when I decided to get healthy at the age of 23, there were a lot of people who said, “you think you’re better than us, who do you think you are, you are nobody, it’s not going to make you any different, you will be back.” Well, I never went back. I feel too good to do that. In reality, I didn’t and still don’t believe I am better than them. I wanted what my ancestors wanted- to be a strong Native Warrior, ready to defend our people and serve our people in any way I could.
In today’s time, there are more drugs being sold and used, sex is seen on television and there is a general lack of respect. Alcohol is sold at every event and corner, and it’s all readily available for everyone. Social Media also places its negative footprint in our lives every single day. How do we combat that and become healthy in an otherwise, hostile environment.
You hang out with those that have the same goals and dreams as you do. You see, a dream is already real, but it’s up to you to go out and get it. It’s already a reality, but how bad do you want it? What sacrifices are you willing to make to change behaviors and thoughts and reach for the stars? The first is to hang out with people who have a like mind. They want to change, they want to be healthy, they want to be in balance.
Our family has several mottos that we follow. The best is, “Have you made your Ancestors proud today?” Every single day, when I leave the house, I pray that I can do that. I pray that if I make a mistake that it doesn’t hurt anyone and that I can learn and grow from it. I pray, that someday, when I reach the spirit world, that my ancestors can look at me and say, “Great job warrior, great job, you made us proud by serving and helping the people and we are proud of you.” Before I go to bed at night, I give thanks for the opportunity and I always ask myself, did I make my ancestors proud?
As you head into 2015, sit down and write down some goals for the year. No, I’m not talking about a New Year’s resolution. Write down some goals that you want to strive for. Healing only occurs when we open ourselves to it and we are honest with ourselves. What are you going to do differently in 2015, to make your ancestors proud? You can’t keep doing the same things you have always done and expect different results!! Take those first steps today to change your life and to make your ancestors proud of everything that you do. YOU CAN DO IT!!
About the author
“When I finally learned about forgiveness and letting go of shame and guilt, I started liking myself. It took years to embrace the concept of loving myself and I’m still working on that. What I learned in the process is that when I like and even love myself, I want to take better care of myself. Self care is now a part of my normal daily routine.” NWI Training Participant
For people working in Indian Country where the needs of the people are so demanding, it is critical to understand what self-care is and to incorporate daily self- care techniques into your work and personal life. Self-care is taking care of our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being. It’s doing things that make us feel good, make us feel special, relieves stress, rejuvenates us, energizes us and better prepares us for serving others. It’s not selfish to want to take care of ourselves.
“We can only give what we have.” If we are stressed out, burned out, angry, frustrated and even depressed, that is what we are giving back to the people we are serving or even to our own families.
Self-care techniques at the office can include regular breaks where we go outside, deep breathing exercises, stretching, going for a walk, eating with friends and creating wellness in the workplace.
Self-care at home might include reading, doing hobbies or crafts that we enjoy, taking time to sit alone, taking a hot bath, visiting with friends and family, exercise, meditation or participating in culture.
An established self-care routine takes practice. Keep working on it until it becomes a norm in your life. You are worth it!
-Native Wellness Institute
About This Blog
The Native Wellness Institute knows that wellness takes hold every day all over Indian Country. We invite you to tell us what is happening in your family, organization, tribe, or community. Send us a short article (1-3 paragraphs) with your activities, experiences or thoughts. Please include photos or videos and a little bit of information about you. We may edit some of the content if needed and then share it with our readers! Please send your blog submission to firstname.lastname@example.org.