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Balance the key to healthy life

February 28, 2012
By JOHANNA BOYLE - Journal Ishpeming Bureau ( , The Mining Journal

MARQUETTE - Work, taking care of the kids, taking care of elderly parents, cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, getting everyone to appointments and lessons on time - for many people, each day is so packed full of obligations and activities it takes a well-organized schedule and a shoe horn to get everything done.

But in between taking care of work and family, it can be hard to remember to take care of one more thing - yourself.

"For each of us it's different," said Deb Sergey, a registered dietitian at Marquette General Hospital. "We need to look at balancing all areas of our lives."

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Although we might encourage our kids or families to eat right and get exercise it can be hard to find the time to do the same for ourselves.

Sergey said diet and exercise are two things that need to be built into everyday life, the same as fitting in doctors appointments or meetings at work, to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

"I think taking a look at that and mapping it out on paper helps," Sergey said.

When going through your schedule for the day, make sure to include time to care for yourself, whether that is going for a walk at lunch, getting to the gym for a Zumba class or getting out for a run

Those times should be treated as any other appointment or meeting - don't miss them because something else comes up.

Making time for yourself, however, isn't necessarily just about exercise.

Sergey said planning to take time for yourself, whether it is planning time with friends, taking a bubble bath or just spending 10 minutes by yourself to meditate or organize your thoughts, is an important aspect to taking care of yourself.

Building exercise and healthy eating into your life, however, can be a big step toward a healthier lifestyle.

"Exercise is a huge one that I think people don't build into their lives," she said.

Carving out time for yourself can be difficult, especially if you are used to constantly putting others first. Sergey said, however, that making yourself a priority shouldn't be seen as selfish.

"You can't look at it that way," she said.

After all, if you're not caring for yourself, you can't take care of your other responsibilities and obligations.

In particular, Sergey said a positive way to start is to begin by addressing any outstanding health concerns you might have. For example, if you have diabetes, care for yourself by making regular time during the day to check your blood sugar or other steps that your doctor recommends to handle the condition.

"Instead of just denying there's a problem, check on those issues first," Sergey said.

Finally, besides taking care of your body by living a healthy lifestyle, take care of your mind and spiritual self as well by taking time to pray, if that is part of your belief system, or just to sit quietly by yourself for a few minutes every day.

"A lot of people find if they do find time for meditation, it revives them," she said.

Johanna Boyle can be reached at 906-486-4401.



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