Anyone who follows my blog regularly will note that I typically focus on travel and how to do that with an aging parent. However, I came in contact with Peggy Buchanan, coordinator of vitality/wellness programming for Front Porch, and I felt compelled to share her thoughts on vitality and well-being as I felt her tips can help us all live longer, healthier lives and therefore be able to travel more! 🙂  Enjoy!

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vitality and wellbeing from Peggy BuchananPeggy Buchanan is the coordinator of vitality/wellness programming for Front Porch and serves as the director of fitness, aquatics and physical therapy at Front Porch’s Vista del Monte retirement community in Santa Barbara, Calif. Peggy has more than 30 years of experience in the health and fitness industry as an author, instructor/trainer and program developer. Her book Movin ‘n Groovin’ was awarded Amazon.com’s “Best Children’s Fitness Book” in 1998. She earned her master’s degree from California State University, Northridge in exercise physiology and has received numerous industry certifications and awards, including two honors from the world’s largest association for health and fitness professionals (IDEA).

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Our brains are a combination of rational and emotional processing centers and research suggests that there is a limit to how much each side of the brain can handle at a given time. When one side of the brain is “full” the other side tends to step in and take charge, even if we’d prefer it didn’t. Let’s say the rational part of the brain is consumed with processing a challenging and complex issue at work, there may be limited rational brain left when it comes to issues like deciding the appropriate foods to eat or when to exercise. The emotional brain will then move in and decide to eat a bag of Cheetos while zoning out in front of the TV.

Behavior changes are usually far more successful using a “Whole Person Wellness” approach as opposed to “going on a diet” or jumping on the “exercise band wagon”. Think about your overall lifestyle rather than your spare tire or your flabby thighs. Look at your “whole” rather than your “parts.” Ideally, all six dimensions of Wellness should be incorporated in your lifestyle: Emotional, Intellectual, Spiritual, Social, Vocational and Physical. Let’s look at each in more detail:

1. Emotional – Taking Care of Your Heart – Emphasize awareness and acceptance by managing feelings and behaviors. Through unconditional acceptance of self, you can begin to assess limitations, develop autonomy, and cope with stress. Seek out supportive people with whom to share your private feelings and difficulties. It is an excellent way to take care of your emotional well-being. Also, look for opportunities to have a good laugh at yourself.

2. Intellectual – Taking Care of Your Mind – Think creatively and rationally to develop a greater understanding and appreciation of oneself and others. Take classes, workshops or engage in cognitive stimulation games and puzzles.

3. Spiritual – Attending to Your Values and Beliefs – Seek meaning and purpose to help foster a strong sense of personal values and ethics. Consider meditation, religious studies or connecting with nature.

4. Social – Taking Care of Your Relationships and Community – Create and maintain healthy relationships. This encourages interdependence with others and nature, as well as the pursuit of family harmony. Get involved with friends, family, group activities and/or cultural traditions.

5. Vocational – Serving Others and Engaging in New Life Experiences – Engage in meaningful activities and set goals to meet new challenges. Try mentoring, volunteering or taking on a new hobby. These activities can be both personally enriching and a great way to connect with and serve others.

6. Physical – Taking Care of Your Body – Participate in activities for cardiovascular endurance, muscular strengthening and flexibility. By contributing to high-level wellness, you are taking care of more than just your physique. You are contributing to your long-term physical and mental health.

GREAT advice Peggy!  Thoroughly love her thoughts as I feel it was all do-able. Nothing here to esoteric or theoretical. My top two that I consistently neglect at #6 – the Physical and to a lesser degree #1 – I am darn harsh on myself and I need to let that go to de-stress. Which item above pushes your buttons? Don’t leave me alone in my neurosis!!  🙂

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About Front Porch

Front Porch is a not-for-profit support system for a family of companies that serve individuals and families through full-service retirement, active adult communities, affordable housing communities through CARING Housing Ministries and related management and development services. No two Front Porch communities are alike! Each community is as unique as the individuals who live in them. Front Porch active adult and full-service retirement communities offer a full range of options from independent living to skilled care, including assisted living and memory support in unique settings.