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Making wellness a priority
Donna Krug

A meme is an idea, thought or piece of information that is passed from generation to generation through imitation and behavioral replication. A meme can be life changing for sure. One I saw recently resonates with the work I do as an Extension Educator. It said, “If you do not make time for your wellness, you will be forced to make time for your illness.” That is a powerful statement and a perfect segue to the message I want to share during National Wellness Month.

At my recent Extension Agent update, a team of five educators had returned from a study trip to Greece. It was amazing to hear stories of their visit to a Blue Zone in Ikaria, Greece. There are five recognized Blue Zones in five locations around the world where a significant percentage of people live a healthful life into their 90s and even 100. Through interviews and immersing themselves into the culture for a period of time, our team learned about nine healthy lifestyle habits shared by people who have lived the longest.

1. Down Shift – Improve your overall wellness by finding a stress relieving strategy that works for you.

2. Purpose – Wake up with purpose each day to add up to 7 years to your life.

3. Plant Slant – Put less meat and more plants on your plate.

4. Wine @ 5 – Responsibly enjoy a glass of wine with good friends each day.

5. Family First – Invest in spending time with family and add up to 6 years to your life.

6. 80% rule – Eat mindfully and stop when 80% full.

7. Move Naturally – Find ways to move more! You’ll burn calories without thinking about it.

8. Right Tribe – Surround yourself with people who support positive behaviors.

9. Belong – Belong to a faith-based community and attend services four times a month to add 4-14 years to your lifespan.

You will hear more about the Power 9 when the 2020 Walk KS program rolls around next March. But for now, let’s focus on making small changes. Don’t try to do the entire list in one week. Focus on one suggestion at a time. So, let’s talk about the first one – Down Shift. Find something that helps you relieve stress. Those of you who know me well can probably guess that a bike ride would be my first choice to relieve stress. Thankfully it has worked to bike commute to work on most days the past few years and that can provide 48 minutes of exercise into my day. Other stress relievers for me include sitting down and playing the piano for a few minutes whenever time allows, or hand stitching a quilting project.

Consider ways to make wellness a priority in your life in the weeks ahead! 

Donna Krug is the Family & Consumer Science Agent with K-State Research and Extension – Cottonwood District. Contact her at 620-793-1910 or