You might laugh — but at the tender age of 27, even us young folks can feel the march of time beginning to wear us down.

The creaky bones, the depleting energy, the generous growth in the general stomach area.Yes, my older friends, even people in their 20s have to be careful about how they take care of themselves.

Luckily for me, I came from a family with a mother who prioritized healthy, homemade meals from day one and parents who pushed us through every outdoor sport imaginable in the dead heat of Houston summers. I still haven’t forgiven them for that last one.

However, we can all agree our priorities slowly shift with age toward nourishing our bank accounts, relationships and responsibilities rather than adequately nourishing our bodies.

So, with that in mind, I have upped my commitment over the last few months to caring for myself in a way my mom would be proud, using (noticeably less committed) tactics to natural healing and recovery.

1. Head to the kitchen

Yeah, guys, it’s OK to learn how to cook for yourself!

Nothing is more daunting than getting next to a stove and having to make something edible out of a bunch of discrete parts. But thanks again to my mom, I was around the kitchen constantly as a kid, watching her put together delicious food that was shaped by experience and choosing healthy options.

My mom’s biggest boogeymen were salt and sugar — also two ingredients linked closely to diabetes and heart disease — and cooking from scratch gave her the complete control over the product that you just can’t get at a restaurant.

Of course, people always worry about the time involved, but healthy, simple meals can be put together in 30 minutes flat if you take a little time on weekends or the day before planning your attack.

My favorite go-to is a simple roasted chicken breast with tarragon, cumin and orange slices with thyme-roasted fingerling potatoes. It takes a bit to prepare, but the highlight is you can drink beer while it cooks!

2. Sleep better

I have never had an issue with sleeping, but many do.

My mom had the kids in bed every night at a stable time every night and up at a stable time every morning. That’s a surefire way to feel rested each day.

My experience with good sleep as an adult is first to destress — whether that be with exercise, meditation or reading — and separate your sleep space from you living space.

What I mean is, get the TV out of your bedroom and reteach your body to fall asleep when you lie down. I accomplish that by reading before bed and slowing the mental faculties down before closing my eyes.

Countless studies link diet and sleep to healthy living — even more than vigorous activity — so cherish your sleeping time if you can get it.

3. Enjoy the small things

This is the part of the column that becomes a make-your-own-adventure. My mom loved reading, hiking and expanding her “human capital,” as a professor of mine once called it.

Whenever I can, I like to go out to Hancock Springs Free Flow Pool in Lampasas with a book and a towel and lay in the sun (and wear sunscreen, mom, if you’re reading this).

I find that the big adventures can be few and far between as you age, but little moments are achievable and equally important.

So I suggest you find your happy place and go there as often as you possibly can.

What’s the use of good health if you don’t enjoy it?

Kyle Blankenship is city editor of the Killeen Daily Herald and interim editor of the Copperas Cove Herald. Contact him at or 254-501-7567. | 254-501-7567

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