Your Personal Wellness Journey Part 2
You might not think that personal wellness is a topic worth revisiting. I am here to tell you it is. Particularly now, when there is so much conversation about your healthcare and where it is headed.
About a year ago, I posted a brief article about personal wellness from the perspective of a life-long health care worker. (read it here: https://physicaltherapytucson.com/healthy-lifestyle/ )
One of the things that keeps coming back to me is the extent to which we allow others to decide our personal healthcare. You may think I am talking about insurance plans and legislation, but I’m not.
Think for a moment about the decisions you make every day about what to eat. It is your body and it is completely up to you what you put into it. Do you stop at that fast food place for lunch? Do you retire to the company breakroom and eat leftovers you brought from home? Do you alter your decisions change based on how you feel, what preparations you made, and how much money you have? Of course you do.
What if you are diabetic, have celiac disease, or food allergies? You take all of those things into consideration too, right? Let’s not forget how you eat differently if you’re training for a competition, recovering from a competition, or trying to lose weight.
What Do You Mean?
I can see you nodding your head and saying, ‘what’s your point?” I was hoping you would ask that. For those of you who already see the parallel I am about to reveal, just bear with me a moment.
You use the information you have about your body, its preferences, and your own resources to make decisions every day about what you eat, how often, and how much. I doubt that you check in with your health plan before you decide these things.
What if I told you (meme here) that, to a great extent, your overall personal wellness is not so different?
Each day, for instance, we start out based on whatever sleep we got the night before. If you slept well and feel rested when you woke up, then keep doing whatever it was that led to that good night’s sleep.
For those who didn’t have that experience, consider what led to the tired morning you faced. Stay up too late? Too much caffeine? Was it noisy or too hot in your room?
There are a lot of issues that can lead to poor sleep. I only mentioned a few. Most of those issues are decisions we make without thinking about them. (I am the first to admit that there are a few things outside our control, but this article isn’t about that.) What if you planned your bedtime and the time just before it so that you were better rested when you awoke? What if you did that every day and treated your sleep like an important medical decision?
It isn’t that ridiculous. Research has been done that shows how improved sleep can better a person’s overall physical and mental condition.
You Have To Move It, Move It
If better sleep can improve your life, what about more purposeful movement and exertion? Popular research says that even older adults should engage in 20 minutes a day of exercise. TWENTY MINUTES….of a twenty four hour period. And it doesn’t even have to be all at once! Five minutes here or there throughout the day will make a difference too.
Being active isn’t easy for some of us. We spend so much time in our cars and in front of televisions and computers. We over-commit our free time, or don’t have much to begin with. I am familiar with all the excuses…because I have used most of them.
I don’t have time.
I can’t afford a gym membership.
I don’t have a workout partner.
It’s too hot.
My (insert body part here) hurts.
While any of those might be true, they are obstacles and not deal breakers. Consider that, just like getting a good night’s sleep, being physically active leads inevitably to better health in general. Exercising IS a part of your health care. It is also, like your sleep schedule, utterly your choice and your responsibility. Not Blue Cross, or Medicare, or Donald Trump, or your employer.
It’s Up To You
You are the one person who can do more to affect your health care outcomes than anyone else. Eat smart, make restful sleep a priority, and exercise.
Your insurance company also doesn’t need to approve your decision to see our physical therapy team ahead of time. In fact, they don’t need to approve at all if you choose not to use them. Just like deciding what to eat, you can decide to seek out our experts in physical medicine to help you move more efficiently and with less pain.
More mindful self-care now is in your hands. Make an appointment to see our experts for an evaluation if you aren’t sure where to start, have obstacles to overcome or want to minimize pain.