Recently I’ve had some time to reflect on how we view our health and wellbeing. Certainly, as I’ve gotten older and have begun to think more about my own health as well my clients, I wonder how we prioritise what’s important to take care of.
Let’s face it, if we are not at our best then everything else suffers. Suffering is a relative term but has implications for our mental clarity, relationship quality, sleep, exercise and work effectiveness to name a few.
So how do we ensure we are at our best or at least strive towards perfection? Of course, life is full of ups and downs and we can only control what we can control. I’m always talking to my clients about 4 key elements to overall health and wellbeing; Physical Health (my field of expertise), Mental Health (we are all on this spectrum from chilled to stressed out), the Bio-Medical system and for some, Spirituality. One important understanding is that dysfunction in one system can create symptoms in another. An example is where a high level of stress creates tight neck muscles and leads to the onset of headaches or living in a prolonged state of stress deregulates your immunity to make you susceptible to illness. If you were to have the headaches treated, you may get temporary relief but it will continue to return unless the underlying stress is addressed.
One of the challenges as a health practitioner is to consider the bigger picture and trying to understand the underlying causes for the presenting symptoms. Simply looking at the area of pain for example, can be misleading and like chasing ghosts.
So back to the car analogy and how we prioritise our health. For some this is one of the most important considerations and for others taking themselves to the doctor or eating healthy nutrition is to be avoided. The average spend on annual car maintenance, not accounting for repairs, would be in the vicinity of $400 – $800 depending on your car. Add to that normal wear and tear on brakes, tyres, transmissions etc and over a 3-year period, you could be talking $1000 – $3000+ just for maintenance. If you spent that on your own health, would you consider that an expense or an investment in keeping you at your best? Worth considering as that investment could come in so many ways not just a check up from the Doctor. Other examples could include massage, good nutritional advice, a mindfulness course, any fun new exercise or a visit to your friendly physiotherapist. After all, if your back is knackered, you’re not going to enjoy that awesome car anyway! All that is required is a change in mindset and a decision to be pro active about our health and not reactive. Our medical system is designed to help us when things have already broken. Disease and sometimes injury is a spectrum of slow deterioration to the point when symptoms present. Why wait? Instead optimise your health, function and ultimately your happiness. In a completely unselfish way, I would be pleased to see a society that didn’t require doctors or physio’s anywhere near as much as we do.