Promoting health and well-being


By Lindell Joseph

We have been observing and navigating sheltering at home for a long period, financial compromise, unrest, woundedness and a deep sense of injustice. As a result, many of us may be prone to developing a poor outlook, eating excessively, and not exercising. This may jeopardize our individual health status.


The COVID-19 public health crisis, compounded by nationwide public pro­tests, contributes to ­un­heal­thy habits and troubling mindsets. So what is a mindset? It is sorting out what is going on and deciding what we should do about it. With these current challenges, our mindsets may be grim, but we need to refocus and engage in intentional acts to enable a positive mindset and constructive actions.

Here are two examples of intentional acts that enable positive mindsets, healthy eating and unity:


Example 1: Jan Miller tries to engage her spouse and son by planting raised vegetable beds in their backyard, playing table tennis, running, biking and doing Pilates, a physical fitness activity.

She posted a “5-2-1-0” evidence-based prevention framework on the family’s refrigerator. This is a visual reminder to do the following daily: eat five or more servings of fruits and vegetables, reduce recreational screen time by two hours, participate in one hour or more of physical activity, consume zero sugary drinks (while drinking more water and low-fat milk).

Focusing on the small but important actions we can do to change ourselves for the better results in formed habits under our control that accumulate over time into healthful living and respecting our bodies as temples for God.

Example 2: Last summer, the Garden Ministry planted a salsa garden at St. Patrick Parish in Iowa City to build community and eat healthy. Members of the Garden Ministry either planted, pruned or harvested the produce. We hosted a salsa demonstration during which Maria Lourdes Hernandez demonstrated Mango Salsa, Pico de Gallo and Salsa Roja. We were able to learn how to prepare healthy meals directly from our gardens. Even though we are not currently meeting, many of us have recipe cards to create our own.

Striving to attain health through our body, minds, and spirit are intentional ACTS for Christian lives. Here are some healthy habits and Scriptures for reflection during turbulent times.

Healthy Habits #1:  Positive mindsets

• Focus on the aspect(s) of your life that is/are going well. This is called practicing gratitude and will center you on what is good and positive as a way to overcome being overwhelmed.

• Doing things for others will help you create positivity in your own life. We get love and a sense of community through giving love and doing for others.

Scriptures #1: Positive mindsets

• Psalm 125:1, Those trusting in the Lord are like Mount Zion, unshakable, forever enduring.

• Psalm 136: 1, Praise the Lord, for he is good; for his mercy endures forever.

Healthy Habits #2: Unity and love

• Healthy families have fun and build positive memories together.

• Use Zoom and engage in storytelling with your parishioners.

Scriptures #2: Unity and love

• Psalm 133:1, How good and pleasant it is, when brothers dwell together as one!

• 1 Corinthians 12:14, Now the body is not a single part, but many.

Call to Action:
1.  Visit iowahealthieststate. com/resources/individuals/5210/  to obtain a 5-2-1-0 framework for health prevention activities.
2.  Download salsa recipes at to create healthy alternatives.
3.  Read our parish publication listed in the reference list.

Joseph, M. L., Juarez, R., Miller, J., Rodriguez, y, Rhodes, A., Elson, J., and Stanik-Hutt, J. (2019). Developing Healthy Habits: A faith-based interdisciplinary action framework. Nurse Leader, 17(6), 488-404.

(Lindell Joseph, PhD, RN, FAAN, is a nurse, professor, and director of the MSN/CNL program at the University of Iowa College of Nursing. She is a parishioner of St. Patrick Parish in Iowa City and is married to Hector Guadalupe. They have a daughter Geneva Guadalupe. Lindell also is a lay Carmelite who co-chairs the Healthy Habits Ministry at her parish.)

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