April Jeppson: Do you know about the 6 best doctors?

Published 8:45 pm Friday, July 22, 2022

Every Little Thing by April Jeppson

The six best doctors: Sunshine, water, rest, air, exercise, and diet. — Wayne Fields

There have been different times in my life where I’ve needed to access each one of these “doctors.” Sometimes I prescribed it to myself, but often, I didn’t even realize I needed this assistance.

April Jeppson

I remember my mother visiting me when my children were young. One of the first things she would do is open up the curtains in the morning. I would shade my eyes and possibly even let out an angry cat-like hiss as if the sun was hurting me. I’d tell her that it’s too bright, and she’d say you need some sun. She wasn’t telling me that my complexion needed a boost of melatonin, but pointing out the not so obvious to me. April, you seem sluggish and possibly a little depressed and sunshine will do you some good. 

I participated in a water challenge a few years ago. Take your weight in pounds and divide it by two. Now drink that many ounces of water a day. At the time, that meant consuming 110 ounces of water. When your body is use to only drinking two cans of soda and a bottle of water a day — it’s kind of a hard challenge. After a few days of choosing water over pop and making myself take sips even when I didn’t think I was thirsty, it became easier. Within that same amount of time, I could already see the benefits of upping my hydration. 

When I was in my 20s, rest was kind of a burden. You only live once, and I wasn’t going to sleep through it. In my 30s, rest often evaded me as babies were demanding my nighttime hours. I received some solid advice back then, “sleep when the babies sleep.” I tell you what, take a nap. The dishes, dinner and anything else will be there when you get up. I’m old enough now to recognize when my body needs sleep.

When my family first moved here, we had to stay at a hotel for over a month until our house was ready. We were a one-vehicle family with a 2 1/2-year-old and an infant. This meant that when my husband left for work, I was stuck at the hotel with two little ones. Even though I was nervous to explore this new town by foot and outnumbered, I knew I had to get outside. It didn’t matter where we went, I needed the fresh air. 

My entire life I’ve struggled with exercise. In high school it was easy because every day we’d have phy-ed or sports practice. As I got older, I found it difficult to commit to working out on a regular basis. I associated exercise with weight loss, and I needed to change how I thought about it. Moving my body felt good, it helped decrease my stress, improved my mood and ultimately gave me a boost of confidence. Now, if I’m having a rough day, I utilize this knowledge and I go for a walk or lift weights. 

You are what you eat, so don’t be fast, cheap or easy. Problem is, I enjoy that kind of food. However, when I eat better quality food, I feel better. Seems like a no-brainer, but honestly, all of these “doctors” are no-brainers. Such an easy way to take charge of our health and happiness and yet if you’re anything like me, you sometimes forget. So here’s my reminder. 

Albert Lean April Jeppson is a wife, mom, coach and encourager of dreams. Her column appears every Saturday.