The need to take responsibility for our own health and wellness is an essential requirement that our lives are asking us to rise up and meet. The incidence of disease – particularly heart attack, stroke, cancer, chronic lung diseases and diabetes – has reached epidemic proportions in most countries around the world. These diseases are often particularly costly to the individual and healthcare systems because of their chronic nature.
Being well requires a balanced lifestyle that offers us what we need to manage the unavoidable ups and downs of stress in our workplaces and in our personal lives. We need to be well-nourished on all levels…physical, emotional, interpersonal, behavioral, mental and spiritual. We may need to address unmet needs in each area and take time to engage in satisfying activities in each of these areas in order to build resiliency and balance. We need to renew our own energy in order to be active, effective and creative. This renewal provides us with the necessary resources to meet the demands of our families, workplaces and busy lives.
Lifestyle diseases are strongly associated with, and causally linked to, four behaviors: physical inactivity, unhealthy diet, tobacco use and the harmful use of alcohol. Up to 80% of heart disease, stroke and type-2 diabetes, and over 33% of cancers could be prevented by modifying these behaviors. However for this to happen there are significant challenges to be overcome. An initial step is that we accept responsibility for our mental and physical health and well-being, making needed baseline lifestyle changes (including seeing our family physician for a good check-up and recommendations no matter what our age).
As we attend to our needs in these areas, we build our immunity to stress. Like taking lifestyle “vitamin pills”, we build health and wellness and prevent “dis-ease” and illness.
- When have you last seen your MD for a comprehensive physical check-up?
- What are you currently doing (at home, at work and elsewhere) that already provides you with an enhanced sense of balance and peace of mind?
- Is there an area of your life that you recognize needs your attention?
- What initial steps can you take to make a lifestyle change for good?
- Are there other choices you can make that would bring more wellness into your life?
- Consider seeking professional input (Doctors, your EFAP service, healthcare professionals, workshops, good reading) to build success and a support network prior to, and during your wellness process?
New Year’s resolutions often die speedy deaths (80% don’t make it past February) because there is not enough resourceful preparation and planning time taken prior to our decisions to take action. Perhaps for this coming year you might start thinking and preparing and planning that change now!