Spotlight On: Kate Crary
Institute for Health Policy and Practice
Year Started at UNH: 2011
What does health mean to you?: Health, to me, is simply recognizing and celebrating your worth by taking care of yourself in whole, as well as the people you love. While working towards self-health concerning mind, body and spirit, is key, taking care of and increasing the health of those around us is what true well-being is all about.
What do you do to make a Healthy UNH?: I work in Concord, and contribute towards a Healthy UNH by promoting healthy practices in my workplace. I use the stairs instead of the elevator (I work on the 4th floor), I go for walks during breaks, and I encourage my colleagues to join me whenever possible. I believe that a Healthy UNH extends beyond the campus to our professional partners; what better partnership to foster than a partnership of health?
How do you stay fit?: I was a landscaper for over a decade; I enjoy building things and working out of doors. Any time I can exercise while connecting to nature makes me more relaxed, focused, and at peace. I have learned that exercise isn't rocket science: if you don’t like it, you’re probably not going to keep doing it long term. So, I've learned to build exercise into what I love in a way that I enjoy. Right now, I’m trying to teach myself to “enjoy” running by bringing along my 6 month-old blue-tick coon hound puppy.
Do you have any tips for eating healthfully?: I love food. LOVE IT. For me, it’s all about portion control, cooking from scratch, and trying to remember that my body is both a machine and a temple. It’s not something to be critiqued. It’s something to love and accept. Before I make a questionable food choice, I think about those two metaphors. It’s helped me make much better choices, helps me to learn to love my body more, and boosts my self-confidence. The higher my confidence, the better I eat!
How do you find motivation to stay healthy?: My biggest motivation comes from my parents. We were a very close family, and I loved them dearly. Unfortunately, they passed away last year. Both were 60 years of age. I know that if they could speak to me now, they would want be to be as healthy as I possibly can be for my son. They would want me to pass along to him the knowledge that he, too, is a temple.
Have you made any tangible improvements to your physical or mental well-being by making positive changes in your life?: Yes! Before coming to work at UNH, I quit smoking. I had smoked for a number of years. Once I started to think of my body as a temple and a machine, I knew I had to quit. Not only are the health benefits of quitting smoking almost too many to count, the accomplishment helps to motivate me in other areas of my life. Every time I feel like I can’t accomplish something, or begin to doubt myself, I take a deep breath. When I feel the oxygen fill my lungs, I think, “I quit smoking. I can breathe. I can run without getting winded. I beat an addiction. I can do this; I can do anything”.
Anything else you would like to add?: Perhaps the most important aspect of health, to me, is loving yourself. Love who you are. Love what you look like. There is only one you, and you are awesome, and worth the hard work of being healthy. Once you start to embrace yourself, adopting healthy practices is a natural next step!