Is ‘wellness’ just a state of mind?
“Wellness: the state of being in good, physical and mental health.”
— The Merriam Webster Dictionary
A local church in Geneseo recently sponsored their annual “150 Family Garage Sale.” Always on the lookout for a bargain I found myself in a long line at the church.
Maria asked me why I was leaving the house so early since it was about an hour before the opening of the sale. Although I had never been to this particular event before I thought it would be good to get there a little early. It proved to be a smart move. Maria joined me later and, upon seeing the length of the line at that time, she acknowledged the genius of my decision.
Far being it from me to say- “I told you so.” So I simply replied- “With age comes wisdom.” Those words also reinforced that adage.
While in line I struck up a conversation with a young gentleman who was a fellow retiree in the field of education. As it turned out he and I worked at different schools in different locations at the same time. That constitutes instant bonding in my book.
After I introduced myself to him he stated that he has read this column and enjoyed it. I modestly responded with “That make two of us”.
Upon hearing this Maria posed a question to the man that she has often asked in jest, “How do they let him get away with writing some of that stuff?”
Once again, calling upon my vast source of wisdom, I explained that this column has been included on the “Wellness” page of this fine newspaper (kiss, kiss) for over eight years and that most of my subject matter during that time has fallen within that topic- at least with my expanded definition of “wellness.”
Borrowing from the Merriman Webster definition above I have tended to interpret the phrase “mental health” loosely, which is an accurate description of my mental health as well.
I believe that there are several activities in the Geneseo area that promote the physical and mental health of our residents.
And that’s why I have an inclination to write about them
In fact, the very garage sale that we were participating in is one example.
This event assists many people- college students, recent buyers of rental homes, and even collectors of antiques- in purchasing items at a very reasonable price. The buyers make out because of the low prices, and the sellers make some money in the process for their self-proclaimed excess. And the whole transaction benefits the environment by promoting recycling and reducing waste in our landfills.
This improves the overall mental health of a lot of people. Think about it.
Another such example of improving wellness over the past few weeks is just a few hundred yards from this year sale.
A project across from the Geneseo Post Office and all along that area of Route 20 has been underway to help beautify that stretch of road.
Volunteers and members of the Association for the Preservation of Geneseo (APOG) are repairing a long, 3-foot tall wall made of large stones.
This wall extends all the way around the perimeter of the “Homestead”- an old estate owned by the descendants of one of the founders of Geneseo- the Wadsworths. The wall has been in a state of disrepair for quite some time.
And APOG has stepped up to the plate to help.
According to its website, the purpose of APOG is to preserve, improve, and restore the places of civic, architectural, and historic interest to Geneseo, Livingston County, New York and to educate members of the community to their architectural and historical heritage.
This project they have undertaken fits that purpose. And it not only embellish the property, it also secures the area and reinforces the architecture of the estate.
And who benefits? Who feels good about this? The answer is simple- the owners, the people who drive and walk by and the people who volunteer to preserve and beautify this historic site.
If you drive further up the road you will find a large grocery store. For the last few years it has advertised a freeze in prices for some of their food items. In addition, in the interest of the health & wellness of its shoppers its pharmacy has been advertising free prescription drugs that target high cholesterol as well as simple infections.
Directly across the road, there’s another large department store which allows volunteers to “ring the bell” at Christmas time to raise funds for the Salvation Army.
Now I have always agreed that my parents didn’t raise an ordinary fool. I know that some of these efforts are geared towards increasing business, but, the fact remains, they are also good for the overall well being of residents by serving their needs at little or no cost to them.
Up the road from these stores is a golf course that constantly allows organizations to sponsor tournaments for the benefit of others. From the Chamber of Commerce to the Arc of Livingston County to countless others, many people have had their lives and well-being improved. One such tournament has been the annual challenge between the Rotary and Kiwanis service clubs.
I was proud to have belonged to the Geneseo Rotary for six years. This organization, along with Kiwanis, is made up of volunteer members whose sole purpose is to sponsor projects that benefit others.
I appreciated the camaraderie I experienced among Rotary members and between Kiwanis members. And I enjoyed the projects we worked on together as well.
In fact, I was once asked the difference between Rotary and Kiwanis. I explained that, if a member of Rotary was to quit and join Kiwanis, that would increase the average intelligence of each club.
It was always in fun, right guys?
But, whether it’s the elimination of polio, the promotion of clean water in other countries or the improvement of our area parks, or the support of the local college and high schools. These two service clubs are at the forefront in improving the wellness of the area people.
And there are many other ways that wellness can be promoted in our area. There are those who go hungry from time to time because of poverty. There are those who’s educational needs aren’t being met at local schools. And there are those who just need some positive reinforcement from time to time.
You, too, can have a positive on other’s wellness as well as your own. Join Rotary or Kiwanis or any other service club and volunteer at least a year of your extra time.
Get involved with your church to support their programs that benefit others.
Donate to local food pantries even if it’s just ten or twenty dollars a month.
Get involved with your local government to protect your environment.
Ring the bell at Christmas time.
Leave a quarter in the parking meter as you are about to leave.
Pay for the person in front or in back of you at the grocery store.
Get involved with your local school to promote services for students with disabilities.
Set a goal to say at least one positive thing to a co-worker or neighbor.
Or just say a prayer for a friend, family member or a person who doesn’t exactly see eye to eye with you.
All of these improve one’s quality of life and promote general health & wellness.
And they even make you feel good about yourself and reinforce your purpose in life.
Lou Lombardo is a NYS Licensed Massage Therapist, nationally certified and certified in orthopedic massage. He is an approved provider for continuing education courses through the National Certification Board of Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork. For questions, comments or more information you can contact him at (585) 734-2200 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.