With so much media attention focused on health care, we may also want to consider self care.

Maybe you are someone who never even thought about this topic before and are wondering, "Just what is self care?"

We all know health care involves having a doctor — or several — on board for when we get sick. We get a doctor's diagnosis and then follow up with pharmaceutical prescriptions or their recommendations for more invasive treatments like surgery.

As boomers, when we get to be age 50 or 60 or older, we may have some working knowledge of the alternative or complementary services accessible to us, like massage, acupuncture, chiropractic or yoga.

We may already be practicing preventative health methods to assist us in remaining vital. But still, far too few us spend no time or energy considering the health of our "whole self" — our body and mind and emotions.

Do you take good care of your self?

You may say, "Sure, I joined a gym. I try to get there two or more days a week."

Or you may think, "Since I take a daily multivitamin, I'm all set."

Or, "I stopped smoking, and that was huge."

Or, "A few years ago I saw a counselor for a couple of sessions."

Certainly, any measure to help our body and our mind is commendable. But as we age, we need to pick up the pace of caring for ourselves. This is the time in life to focus on how we feel and to figure out how can we feel better.

If you are depressed when you look in the mirror and are not happy with what you see, do something about it. You may have to spend some money to manage it, but if it raises the spirit, it may be money well spent.

If you notice your energy is not what it once was, there are things you can do to help yourself. You might make a resolution to change your diet, getting rid of those foods that offer no nutritional value and are full of empty calories or add on the extra pounds.

You might start taking vitamin supplements to boost energy. More vitality and a raise in spirits are sure to follow when you begin an exercise program. If you discover forms of exercise that you actually enjoy or can easily tolerate, you will be much more motivated to continue moving on a regular basis.

When the weather changes, do you get sick a lot, catching every germ that passes by in your general vicinity?

If so, you need to pump up the immune system. Even if only for a period of time, try eating only healthy foods, adding appropriate supplements, exercising regularly and getting solid sleep.

If, like the majority of Americans, stress is your problem, you absolutely need to learn to relax more. Explore how to meditate, have a weekly massage or practice yoga or tai chi, all of which will make a big difference in bringing you more peace of mind.

Self care asks that you take charge of your mental, physical and spiritual health, rather than ignoring it or handing it completely over to someone else. Hopefully, you know yourself better than any other person, and so, you are in best position to be your own caretaker.

Ask yourself, "If I don't assume that responsibility, who will?"

Angelena Craig of Newburyport is the director of The New Aging Movement and a professional-level yoga instructor. Visit her website at www.thenewagingmovement.com or e-mail angelenayoga@verizon.net.

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