Health & Wellness in 2022

By Kathy Knotts, Managing Editor

It’s such a cliché: The only thing we have is our health.

But it makes so much sense, doesn’t it? When everything else is going well, poor health can stop us in our tracks. When you are sick, nothing else matters but feeling better.

(Even worse, being sick as a mom—who takes care of you then?)

I can remember worrying about a feverish baby, a vomiting toddler, and then the petri dish parade of illnesses my two sons brought home with them once they started school. Thankfully those run-of-the-mill illnesses are mostly in the past. Until 2020 arrived.

The pandemic turned a way-too-bright spotlight on our physical health. We witnessed healthy people get very, very sick. I have a friend in Texas who was so wiped out by long-COVID that she had to quit her teaching job because she was too exhausted and breathless. Sadly, a friend of ours in Mississippi died after contracting COVID. Just this week, I read of a fourth grader in Anne Arundel County who died after contracting the coronavirus. Our health matters.

Taking control of our health is something anyone can do. And it can be as simple as making a doctor’s appointment, getting a vaccine, taking a walk most days of the week and putting more vegetables on your plate each day. We are talking about some of these steps in this week’s Health and Wellness issue.

Diets usually come into the picture this time of year. I no longer make weight loss resolutions—after decades of doing exactly that and getting back to the same place. But I do vow to eat more fruits and veggies, find a way to get some enjoyable movement in my day, and go to sleep at a decent hour. It was a joy to write about the anti-diet movement in this week’s feature story. I agree that it’s time to move beyond “clean” foods, and moralizing food choices. Choosing to eat a calorie-dense item does not make you “bad” and you don’t have to “earn” food with workouts.

Vegetarian and vegan diets always seemed like extreme choices to me when I was younger. Yet, I can now appreciate and respect the varied reasons someone chooses to eat only plant-based foods. Vegans are passionate spokespeople and also create some of the most beautiful food photography I have ever seen on social media. And I respect that it doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing situation. Meatless Mondays could be something I see my family embracing in 2022. I know that it is certainly better for the environment and probably for my grocery bill. And there are so many tasty options in Chesapeake Country now.

While we are talking about health, let’s not overlook how important our mental health and well-being is. Writer Susan Nolan brings us some quality tips from area counselors on how to fight the pandemic depression that has settled in.

Enjoy this week’s issue, then take a wellness break and get outdoors and build a snowman.