South Central WI Archive
  • Northeast Wisconsin
  • January 2010
Written by 

What is most important in our culture today? — How should we be spending our time and energy?

These are not easy questions and there are too many responses to count. With the holidays right around the corner, many would choose from the following list of wants versus needs: the latest and greatest, biggest and most cutting edge technological marvels (iPhones, bigger screen TVs,), bigger dream homes, new top-of-the-line cars, boats, vacation options, trendiest toys, latest fashionable clothing and accessories, diamond special of the season, shoes, and on and on.

We live in a very competitive, materialistic society. Some competition and reward for effort is expected in the wealthiest nation in the world. We all dream of owning some of these things. We want to be feel successful. Rewarding ourselves validates the hard work we do and the sacrifices we make.

I believe in moderation. It’s really OK to buy a used car or some other repurposed item. Don’t be so hung up on “keeping up with the Joneses.”

During November and December, much time is spent in our ever competitive world in researching, shopping, comparing of makes, models, designs, pricing online, in papers, magazines, and to own or give the best money can buy. This can turn into added stress and sometimes poor decision making.

How about taking care of our health, both physically and mentally so we can get through the holidays without the excessive weight gain and feeling so stressed out?

How are we treating those around us? Acts of kindness, sharing, spending time with family and friends seem more important to me than having the latest whatever it is.

Take time for yourself. Think about what you are eating and how you are exercising. There is no excuse for not carving out some time, even minutes a day, for wellness and re-energizing. Walking, yoga, meditation and relaxing for 10-minute interval training sessions, a little light weight training, and stretching can do wonders and make a difference in how we feel about life.

My response to the title questions would not be so materialistic. I believe in empowering others to feel like they’ve accomplished something, anything. That’s a real gift to give and to receive.

Ellen Utter

Ellen Utter, certified Pilates, PiYO and yoga instructor, teaches a Yoga Balances Pilates class at Raw Materials Wellness and Learning Center, 408 E Wilson St., Madison, about 3 blocks from the capitol. For more information about the class, visit Ellen can be contacted by calling 608-334-3774, emailing [email protected], or visiting and

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