Love and Life

Nina Ha and friends at the AIS Cancer Center in 2015 offering love and support to someone going through cancer treatments. 

Growing up, I remember riding my bike around the block for hours on end, only stopping to visit a neighbor or play in my friend’s backyard. We mostly just made small talk. However, I knew that if I ever accidentally hit my sister on the head with a golf club while our parents were at work, I could run over there for help. In case you’re wondering, my sister is fine. Hypothetically, of course.

When I became a mom, I had no idea how tough it could be to take care of a family, maintain a clean home, cook (or attempt to cook in my case), stay on top of the kids’ schooling and keep everyone happy. With two toddlers back then, I was so mentally foggy, physically exhausted and emotionally drained.

One afternoon, I found myself saying out loud, “I need a break.”

Without missing a beat, my rambunctious little girl said, “Me, too. Where are we going?”

I had to laugh and explain that mommy needed a few minutes to herself. I wish I had accepted kind offers from friends to watch the kids while I ran errands or went on a date with my husband. Instead, I let my ego get in the way, trying not to inconvenience anyone while clinging to the illusion that I could do it all myself.

Our mental health affects all aspects of our lives. For emotional, psychological and social well-being, physicians recommend we get plenty of sleep, stay physically active and, most important, admit when we need help. Reaching out to friends, family or even health professionals helps us maintain human connections, which is one of the key factors for a long and healthy life.

We all have an innate longing to be included, accepted and loved for who we are. Life can be full of joy, wonder and beauty when we have friends to lift us up after a bad day, pray with us when it seems all our dreams have fallen apart or simply hold our hands during cancer treatments.

Let’s make 2018 the year we take better care of ourselves, physically and mentally; really get to know our neighbors; and create a community of love with a little help from our friends. 

Opinions expressed are those of Nina Ha.

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