St. Anthony Messenger

You and Your Health: Being a Homebody

Woman looking out the window

We stop going out to dinner, shopping, or attending Mass because our medical problems embarrass us or it takes too much energy to leave our homes. Many of us suffer from “social inertia” during the bleak, gray winter or rainy spring days. Sometimes we just don’t want to leave our houses. In snowy weather, it’s hard for us to get around. Why should we go out? We can watch Mass on television.

Depending on our physical limitations, staying at home might be a necessity. But for many, not going out can have a serious effect on our physical, emotional, and spiritual health. People isolate themselves for a variety of reasons: the death of a loved one, retirement or illness. Sometimes we intentionally reduce our social networks to include only close friends.

Keeping Social

The words, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Mt 18:20), are profound. Our churches offer communal worship, social organizations, and volunteer opportunities.

Many have parish nurses and wellness programs offering support groups, help with driving to medical appointments, and lectures on spirituality and health. Parishes can be just what the doctor ordered for those seeking spiritual completeness in hearts burdened by health problems.

The liturgical translation of our response says it all: “The Lord be with you.” Our response: “And with your spirit!”

Get Out!

Dr. Ileen Craven, MSN, RN, PhD, a nursing faculty member at Roxborough Memorial Hospital in Philadelphia, says, “Human beings are social animals. We thrive on spending time with others. We must have people in our lives we can spend time with and feel we can rely on. Support is vital. For physical and mental well,being, humans must connect to one another.”

We can volunteer. The Corporation for National and Community Service found that volunteers live longer and have higher functional ability, lower rates of depression and fewer incidences of heart disease. Support groups offer social interaction with people who have similar interests or challenges. They can build new friendships, too.

Community centers, public libraries and colleges offer movies, book clubs or photography and cooking classes. Hospitals offer lectures and volunteer opportunities. Learning new skills can enhance our lives. You might not learn how to make wonderful Italian pasta or pen the great American novel in your class, but you’ll have fun and meet new people in the process. Taking care of the whole person can bring peace into our hearts.

May the peace of the Lord be with you. And with your spirit!

Handy Tips

  • Check out what your parish offers: nursing consultations, prayer groups or Scripture series.
  • Volunteer at a local nonprofit organization.
  • Join a support group like Mended Hearts or Cancer Survivors Network.

Next Month: Do Something!

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