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Taking Care of You: Advice from Mister Rogers

By Martha Michael

Mister Rogers and Wellness

Image Source: AngelUS

Nearly everyone admired the advice of the late Fred Rogers, the iconic host of PBS children’s television for decades. His gentle voice telling each of us “you are special” made us all want to live in “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.” Among the uplifting ditties he sang to the camera was “I’m taking care of you.”

As it turns out, that was healthy inspiration.

An article on the Ferris State University website points out how important self-care is to your overall wellness, which involves choosing the kinds of behaviors that refresh and recharge you, resulting in a balanced lifestyle.

The article defines wellness as:

  • A practice that directs you toward a healthier, more responsible life
  • Integrating your body, mind, and spirit
  • Accepting yourself now to lay groundwork for a future self
  • Making daily decisions that lead to where you want to be
  • Organizing your personal growth in a wise and productive way

Physical Wellness

You don’t have to live in the “Neighborhood of Make-Believe” to experience physical wholeness. We all want to feel good, and it’s a lot easier when our body’s systems are in sync. Ideally, you get regular exercise, nutritious food, and routine healthcare.

A weekly visit to a chiropractor provides you the focused attention to your physical condition that propels you to make informed decisions about your wellness practices. Holistic and non-invasive, chiropractic care is a natural way to help correct damage done by unhealthy habits as well as assist in aging more gracefully. Regular spinal adjustments can increase body function while also treating physical challenges that come with conditions such as scoliosis, arthritis, back pain, and recurring headaches.

And if nutrition is your weakness, consult your chiropractor to help you make adjustments to your diet, as needed. After a physical examination, your practitioner may suggest an appropriate exercise program for you to increase your cardiovascular strength, muscle tone, endurance and flexibility.

Social Wellness

A trip on Mister Rogers’ trolley took you to meet characters such as King Friday XIII and Mr. McFeely, who modeled the harmony you create when you make positive contributions to other individuals in your circle. Various relationships, from friendships to marriage partners, dovetail to create your social network, and your goal is to interact comfortably with others. The beauty of a healthy social existence is the impact you can have on your community.

The website of University of California, Riverside describes a healthy socio-ecological model in which your wellness is impacted on multiple levels -- intrapersonal, community, institutional, and public policy. On the macro level, laws and policies help define characteristics of social wellness, while families, work groups and friendship networks are some of the factors that play a part in creating a system that gives you the circle of care that you need..

Social wellness contributes to the welfare of others, while also offering you the benefit of satisfaction in pursuing and maintaining a harmonious environment. It’s an example of the symbiotic relationship between self-care and care for others.

Emotional Wellness

There has been, perhaps, no one on television as adept as Fred Rogers at illuminating the importance of emotional well-being in children. Through puppets, actors, and inanimate objects, he tackled subjects ranging from competition to war, underscoring the principle that emotionally balanced individuals can express feelings and validate those of others.

Learning to manage your emotions is an important part of healthy living. The Ferris State article says that positive self-esteem grows out of emotional wellness and fuels your ability to make decisions that are formed from an integration of your attitudes and behaviors. One of the goals is to accurately take note of your limitations and cope with stress.

When you practice an unhealthy level of concern for others, it could be that you’re codependent, says Shawn M. Burn, PhD, in an article in Psychology Today. Some of the signs of codependency are:

  • Unhealthy tendency to rescue
  • Boost your self-esteem through extreme self-sacrifice
  • Enter and stay in lengthy, high-cost caretaking relationships
  • Unproductive, unhealthy helping behaviors

"The greatest gift you ever give is your honest self," Mister Rogers said.

The star of the most inviting neighborhood for children gave us a message of love, forgiveness and kindness, which is a recipe for a caring person; serving others out of your own strength and confidence is what being a good neighbor is all about.

Mister Rogers would be happy to hear that you are taking care of yourself.

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