Harlem Word: Monique Hedmann, MPH, shares her 12 W’s of Wellness
Monique Hedmann, MPH, aka “Mo Flow” is an influential health and wellness advocate in the Northern Manhattan community. In helping guide us towards wellness, she has developed what she calls the 12 W’s of Wellness. On June 11, 2011, Monique gave an inspiring spoken word performance and shared her 12 W’s of Wellness at Staying Well in Harlem: A Wellness Conference and Fair Sponsored by the Harlem Health Promotion Center and Communities of Harlem Health Revival. Below, Monique shares her 12 W’s and asks you to share them with your friends and loved ones and to make the 12 W’s a regular part of your everyday life! Read below to learn what Monique has to say about each W.
The speed and gait of your walk at age 65 is a predictor of your life expectancy, so get started now! Walking is a low-impact form of exercise that has tremendous health benefits, including weight loss, improved heart and lung function, improved balance, and stress relief. It can also benefit your mental health by expanding the hippocampus, the part of the brain that facilitates memory. It is important to walk specifically for your health, and not just to get where you are going. Go to your local park, explore your neighborhood or a new one, and Walk It Out!
Hydration does tremendous things for the body and mind. We cannot function properly without an adequate amount of water in our bodies. Eight glasses a day!
Maintaining a healthy weight is a very key aspect of wellness. Oftentimes when people want to lose weight, they set unrealistic goals and give up in their efforts when those goals are not met quickly. It is important to remember that if you don’t seem to be losing a lot of weight, it may be because you are gaining muscle and losing fat! Set modest goals for weight loss, and attack those extra pounds one at a time.
Be a welcoming and warm person. Being welcoming to people and to new ideas attracts positive energy, and this will facilitate your wellness.
Try to make sure that you make wise decisions that will not be detrimental to your level of wellness in the long run. This wisdom applies to everything from who you date to what you put on your plate. Go with your gut–or seek advice from wise people.
Sometimes when things get hard, you need to just let it out. Too often when we are dealing with adversity in our lives, we try to be strong and not too emotional because we don’t want to seem weak, or we don’t want to embody anything less than the strength and power within us. However, it is healthy to have a good cry sometimes. Scream into a pillow if you have to! If you keep any negativity inside, it will eat away at your wellness.
Often in extreme heat or cold, our healthy eating and exercise habits are compromised. Also, many people are affected by SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), where they experience declines in mood in the fall and winter months. Plan ahead for ways to promote and preserve your health and wellness during extreme weather conditions.
Keep journals! If you are trying to change your diet, write down what you eat and how you feel after you eat it. Keep track of your physical activity. Write down what is going on with you at work or at home, in your relationship, or with your kids. When you write things down and look them over later, or let someone you trust read it – it really helps to put things into perspective.
9) Work and Weekend
Sharing your natural skills and talents is a very important source of wellness. There are few things more satisfying than a productive week of work. But when the weekend comes around… relax! Maximize and take advantage of your weekends as much as possible.
Do something fun just because – something you have always wanted to do. Take a yoga or dance class. Learn how to play the guitar, go sing karaoke, learn a new language, read a good book, try out a new recipe, go on a trip with your friends – whatever tickles your fancy! Enough of these types of activities can help you get your stress hormones levels back to normal so that your health can be optimal. You make time for what is important to you – so it’s a matter of evaluating your priorities.
Keep your finances in order! Often we see our money come in, and see it go right out. Pay yourself first! The minute you get paid, put some aside into your savings, or buy a couple of shares of stock. Money problems are one of the biggest hindrances to wellness. Also, there is research to suggest that the physical health of a community is correlated with its economic health. Thus, promoting our own physical and mental health can benefit the economic conditions of those around us.
12) WiFi and the World Wide Web
There is so much information available on the Internet that can benefit your health and wellness, so take advantage! However, it is important to remember that you must take everything you read on the Internet with a grain of salt and not believe everything you read. Educate and empower yourself, but also be sure to consult with health professionals. Eventually, telemedicine will become more widely available, so that people will be able to upload vital signs to a database and videoconference with nurses and doctors from home! If you are not computer savvy, take a class in your community. The people that are able to navigate the World Wide Web are those that will best be able to navigate the health care system and discover the many resources that are available for the purpose of promoting health and wellness.
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Walk It Out Official Website: http://walkitoutharlem.com/
Twitter Official Page: https://twitter.com/WalkItOutHarlem