By Carmen Rioja
Since each day represents new challenges to get ahead, the best bet in life is to be happy during our ephemeral passage through the planet, respecting the environment. And if we have any goal for the future it will be to leave this house better than we found it. Restoring the planet, respecting its substantial diversity, and understanding the grace of being alive as a sacred event will give us the strength to see and find new opportunities to constitute ourselves in a healthy society with strong individuals and having not only functional but creative interactions.
How can we find the perfect balance for a healthy life in all its dimensions? The path has already been traced and analyzed according to different cultures and at different times. Each context generates its own solution. You can choose to seek this balance from various philosophical or religious positions, but the truth is that practice makes perfect and experience in community and exchange of knowledge accelerates progress.
The World Health Organization defines health promotion as “a process that allows people to increase control over their health.” In other words, the art of healthy living requires that we learn to generate and manage our own tools both individually and in groups. Well, what better time to make this company our own?
From where we are, let’s find a way to create new habits that gradually replace less healthy practices. You can write in a notebook every day the changes you have made and the states of greater well-being that you can record, so you will know how you are progressing towards a fuller life–and why not have more fun at the same time!
In San Miguel de Allende and throughout Mexico there are fabulous markets full of fresh fruits of all kinds and assorted vegetables of different colors and textures, which are available for all budgets. In today’s world we must be very strict with our own hygiene when handling purchases and by disinfecting and properly cooking each ingredient. We must also be proactive in consuming what is good for the body: foods rich in nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. Going out to find fresh, local, fair trade ingredients is a fun mission. I particularly like visiting Vía Organica in Colonia Guadalupe and Mercado Ignacio Ramírez for the wonderful flower shops and fruit stands.
Eat deliciously. Health begins with what we put in our mouths. A simple beet boiled and sliced, with jocoque and hemp seeds, chopped parsley, vinegar or lemon, and Colima salt is most delicious as well as being healthy and easy to prepare. This same recipe works with other vegetables or fruits such as watermelon and is irresistible.
Take a class. The collection of virtual classes that have been generated and accumulated in recent months is truly extraordinary. I have learned more from Zoom in recent months than in my last face-to-face visit to the Guadalajara Book Fair! And on top of that, the entire Guadalajara Fair reached my email via entire packages of information, conferences, and good recommendations. You just have to search the websites of these organizations for their videos to enjoy them.
Read a book. We all need time with ourselves and I have found that spiritual health is deeply linked to inner peace and the right to read. Choosing a book and reading it is an exercise of freedom that we should always practice. This week I got the book Family Tree by Margo Glantz, one of the country’s strongest female voices. She will be speaking at the San Miguel Writers’ Conference and Literary Festival. You can still sign up and support a good educational cause.
Walk with companion. We are fortunate to live and to be surrounded by natural landscapes that are breathtaking. Look for a companion to walk with and discover the mesquite forests on the banks of the Laja River, or go for a walk to a small town like Cabras to enjoy the view of the dam from the heights. I am planning a trip to Mexico City to visit the natural corridors of Ciudad Universitaria and the Los Dinamos forest. There are always places to go, but if you are going to visit a park check the schedules and restrictions for Covid-related safety measures.
Sing a song. Health has everything to do with happiness. Learn a new song and sing along. In recent research on Alzheimer’s, the disease of memory loss in older people, musical memory has been found to be more durable than other memories. This is why they recommend exercising your memory with melodies and lyrics that you really enjoy. So sing in the shower, in the car, and wherever you go. See you soon!
Carmen Rioja (1975) was born in northern Mexico and spent her childhood between the cities of Sabinas, Coahuila, and Monterrey. She likes to write stories or poems and throw them in bottles into the sea. Rioja has published the books La Muerte Niña and Rojo 43.