James Cruthers, MS, CSAC, ICS
- Clinical Substance Abuse Counselor
- B.A. Psychology, University of Wisconsin – Stout
- M. S. Program in Community Mental Health, Southern New Hampshire University
I have been working in the area of behavioral health, specifically substance abuse, for over 30 years. Helping individuals develop a sustained program of recovery from alcohol and other drugs of abuse included helping them identify and process relapse triggers that could otherwise easily derail them from their recovery path. One of the areas we worked on was ‘life balance’, which to me truly is the key. I have been an observer of people all my life and this goes back quite a few years prior to my clinical work. I witnessed a real sense of peacefulness and calmness come over people as they worked to develop and maintain balance in their life between so many obligations, including family, work, and outside interests to name a few. I also saw the negative effects of stress on their lives when they stopped focusing on this balance or when things outside their control intruded in on their lives.
What are your tips/advice for healthy eating?
Eat foods as grown! Food is fuel for our bodies and our bodies need quality fuel to function at their best. If we put substandard fuel in our vehicles they do not perform well and the same applies to our bodies.
We also need to learn to be mindful about eating. It becomes so easy to attempt to multi-task while we are eating but the food then becomes the secondary focus, which makes overeating so easy. Simply taking three deep breaths before we eat can help us be mindful about the food we are about to eat. Are we eating for physical hunger or emotional hunger? Are we eating out of boredom? Do we recognize how healthy food makes our bodies feel compared to unhealthy food? These are just a couple of questions we need to ask about our food choices.
What are your tips/advice for active living?
“Move.” Healthy movement along with healthy food gives our bodies the best possible chance for positive results. Part of living a balanced life requires movement and there are so many positive activities we can engage in that will help our bodies…and our minds! Taking a walk, taking the stairs, taking the dog for a walk (most dogs like fresh air as well) are all good ways to stay active. We don’t need expensive exercise equipment or a gym membership to stay active.
What are your tips/advice for life balance?
Years ago a friend told me, “There are 24 hours in a day. I sell eight hours of my day to my employer, need about eight hours of restful sleep, and that leaves eight hours in a day to do the other things I need to do, such as buying groceries, mowing the lawn, eating dinner with family, etc.” His point was well taken. We need to be mindful as to how we spend our time. Ask yourself the following question, “Do the activities I engage in recharge my battery or drain my battery?” When I care for myself, I then truly make myself available to the people I care about – not the other way around. Set a goal for every day.