Back to School Routine Brings Focus on Health
It’s that time again.
Kids are heading back to school; it is like a national wake-up call that shakes everyone back into a routine—regardless of stage of life. For health ministries, it is an opportunity to help congregations prepare and facilitate care.
Immunizations, annual vision and dental checkups.
Annual checkups, vision and dental screenings may be easy to remember this time of year, especially if children are straining to see the chalkboard or workloads increase for adults. But immunizations can slip through the cracks; many people do not remember when they had their last booster or tetanus shot.
Health ministries can assist by coordinating access to immunizations and helping parents with the process of gathering these records for schools.
Any time groups of people get together, there is a chance someone will get sick. Bacteria can stay active for up to two hours on surfaces, and when you think about the doorknobs alone that get touched in one day, it is surprising we are not ill more often.
Preventative measures are easy to teach: tips like washing your hands effectively, using your own supplies, getting enough sleep (at least eight hours), eating a healthy diet and taking vitamins, and daily activity. Together these practices preserve your immune system and protect you from catching that cold or flu going around.
Revisit healthy diet.
It is never too late to get back on track with eating habits: focusing on lean protein, whole grains, fruit, vegetables and healthy fats. Sometimes it is easier when your schedule is more defined.
Educating others to make healthier diet choices is critical, but perhaps an overlooked need is showing them how to plan and work healthy eating/cooking into busy schedules.
Get help/emotional support.
Everyone needs help now and then. It could be with homework; computer/technical, speaking or presentation skills; weight loss or fitness; stress management or empowerment; grief, emotional abuse, addictive behaviors or other forms of counseling.
Consider printing guides and other materials that consolidate various resources for your congregation. Perhaps inviting speakers for educational sessions and other partnerships would be useful at this time.
Make time to play—away from the computer. Get up and move!
The longer you sit, the more you put your body at risk for heart disease and numerous other health issues. A great deal of research has been published recently, along with tips for combating stagnation. Perhaps the most shocking revelation is that despite workouts, you’re still at risk—even if you do a 30-60 minute workout per day: uninterrupted sitting reduces life expectancy.
But you can dramatically reduce your risk by standing every hour. Walking to deliver something instead of emailing or calling. Take the stairs. Encourage outside play time and sports for kids. Find ways to keep your body moving all day. Set a timer to remind yourself to step away from your computer.
Sign up for the Let’s Move! campaign to receive free resources and updates for your health ministries programs. Download the Faith and Communities toolkit for free today and join others around the country in giving the gift of better health to each other.
Terra Hoskins contributes to the NEHM and NEAC blog on a freelance basis. Drawing from her background in sales, communications and Internet marketing, she helps organizations create an online presence and use the Internet to expand business. Follow Terra on her blog: http://terrahoskins.com/ and on Twitter: @terrahoskins.
* Photo by Damian Gadal