July is Faith Based Health, Wellness, Nutrition, and Fitness Month! August is Clergy and Clergy Family Wellness Month
Rev. Natalie Mitchem, M.Div., Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
International Health Commission of the AME Church
The International Health Commission of the AME Church invites everyone to take a “Wellness Vacation in July and August. Eight years ago, the International Health Commission of the AME Church established July as Faith Based Health, Wellness, Nutrition and Fitness Month and August as Clergy and Clergy Family Wellness Month. Over the past eight years, the following partners have participated and supported in the July and August wellness promotion events: the American Heart Association, Association of Black Cardiologists, Prostate Health Education Network (PHEN), American Cancer Society, and Heart&Soul Magazine.
Summer time is the time for vacations. This year, we invite everyone to plan and take a “Wellness Vacation.” Too often we think of wellness, fitness, and healthy food choices as difficult or hard to maintain. However, the word of God teaches that we can renew ourselves in mind, body, and spirit. What we think about fitness, smoking cessation, healthy food, and rest can be a change for the better if we are “transformed by the renewing of your minds” (Romans 12:2).
Your “Wellness Vacation” can prepare for you any changes in Obamacare. It is a proven fact that making healthy choices can improve one’s health. When you improve your health you can reduce your need for certain medications. Instead of multiple doctor visits, you can make it an annual doctor’s visit where you and your doctor partner together on this wellness journey.
Make your “Wellness Vacation” fun. That starts with the right mind set. Jesus asked the man at the well if he wanted to be made whole. Make food choices fun. Instead of salt, use spices. Instead of fatty fried foods, try stir-fry meals, Indian food, sautéed food, and other new ways to cook and enjoy your favorite foods. As a Christian, you have given up a lot and made a lot of changes for Christ and your well-being. You can make changes in what you eat every day for your health and well-being.
In July and August, include activities that require movement. Make fitness fun trying hula hoop, dancing, skating, walking, yoga, or bowling.
Get some rest. Proper rest and sleep are important to fight disease and promote wellness for your mind, body, and spirit.
In addition to the “Wellness Vacation,” we invite all Episcopal districts, presiding elder districts, churches, and communities to host and plan a Wellness Weekend, July 29-30, 2017. During that weekend plan events, forums or information sessions, outdoor fitness, indoor fitness, stress reduction classes, mental health wellness sessions, nutrition classes, health and wellness classes, and a sermon on wellness. Visit our website www.AMEChealth.org and sign up to start an M.W.W. (Men Walking For Wellness Group) or Girl Trek, a walking program for women. Enroll in Text4Wellness and view the variety of wellness information available on www.AMEChealth.org. In August, clergy and clergy families are encouraged to spend quality time together along with taking a “Wellness Vacation.”