Welcome to 2020.
We never really know what it will feel like to be in a new year, especially a year that seems so official and monumental until our toes are firmly hitting the pavement and walking into it. And now, here we are.
Advertisers have long been asking the already cliché questions: Will you see clearly in 2020? Will you have 20/20 vision?
I don’t think any of us really see what a year will hold until we are fully immersed in its joys, its challenges, its pains, and its victories. We don’t know how our health and the health of our loved ones will fare- but we do our level best to care for ourselves and others- even without all of the facts. We do our best to anticipate and preemptively supply what our bodies and our souls and our spirits need to thrive.
This issue is dedicated to that quest. We want to be equipped to be healthy in 2020.
“Health” isn’t a passive state or a reading on the scales. Like so many worthy aims, it takes focus and a good deal of effort at times. It goes far beyond our blood pressure reading and our frequency at the gym. All of these are components that form part of the picture, but are they enough by themselves? Like putting on armor, we “suit-up” for healthy lives by making all sorts of decisions that impact our lives and the lives of those around us.
Wendi Shackleford chose to stay in Anchorage 30 years ago, not knowing that she’d leave an indelible mark on the police department and how cases dealing with mental health issues would be handled for years to come. Daniel Shepard’s feature on Wendi this month shows us that one person can shift tides to equip a whole team of people to better serve others who are struggling with health challenges. In a similar vein, Linda Shepard encourages readers in her piece to take extra steps to add mental health first aid to our repertoire of go-to resources for emergency situations. Mental health issues touch Alaskans daily, and care for them should be just as regular and thorough as any other ailment.
Like most folks in northern climates, our mental health surges when the sun begins to stick around longer each day. We are starved for the warmth and brightness of the sunshine during these short, January days. In his customary fashion, Frank Baker’s article on sun-seeking guides us up into our local mountains to find the much-needed sunny spots to revitalize our winter-weary souls. Meghan Wotring gives us a broad-scope approach to balanced, healthy living as a homeschool parent, but also as an adult genuinely seeking to address more than popping vitamins and eating kale to be healthy. She tackles strategies for prioritizing physical health, mental and emotional health, and spiritual health. I think she’s on to something here.
And lest we forget, our bodies were designed to MOVE! Kaylene Johnson-Sullivan reminds us of the value of getting outside and moving during the wintertime to lift our spirits and let the anxieties of life melt away. Cara Walsh Dorman echoes this sentiment, albeit by showing how practicing music can calm and refresh us far more than any electronic device could do. Dru Stinson has another review: The Nutcracker by Ballet West. The Anchorage Concert Association still has many shows left this season. And finally, Frank Baker writes about the importance of using common sense to steward our bodies with preventative measures as much as we can.
I hope that after reading this month’s issue, you’ll seek out ways to pursue better health, both for yourself and those around you. I hope that you’ll be reminded that the vitality of our lives touches our mental health, our peace, our emotions, our social interactions, and our spiritual lives, as well as our bodies.
I, and the rest of us at ECHO Magazine, sincerely wish you and those you love, thriving, robust health in 2020.
Editor, ECHO Magazine