Well in to my fifth decade, I’ve been extremely fortunate with my physical health for most of my life, so the diagnosis of multiple health conditions in 2020 completely blindsided me. Having said that, I hadn’t been doing my health too many favours in the lead up to that wrecking ball. Physically or mentally. Like so many of us, I thought I was invincible. Sure, I’d spent the time at the GP seeking prescriptions for asthma and topping up the travel medications, but for the most part I was pretty ignorant about the medical profession. With no intended criticism to GP’s, I probably held a bit too much faith in them.
Here in Australia, a General Practitioner, or GP, is your first point of contact for most health concerns and when you’re feeling generally, unwell. They can treat a wide range of health conditions and will sometimes direct their studies into an area of specialisation, such as women’s health. Your GP’s job is to assess your current health concern, prescribe medication as necessary and, when required, refer you on to a Specialist in whichever field you need assistance and generally work to keep you out of hospital. Simply put.
In an ideal world, your GP would take a holistic view of your physical and mental health, offering continuity of care while considering your complete health history. Sadly, this type of doctor/patient relationship seems to have been eroded by ‘the system’ over the years but that’s a story for another day.
However, in my busy mind, I assumed, probably due to the incredible PR machine behind the industry, that they were, in fact, an incarnation of you-know-who. And they are, without doubt, lifesavers. But, they can’t perform this important role without proper input from us, their patients. As long as we are still breathing and conscious, we should be able to properly share the detail of our complaint and by doing so, take ownership of its outcomes.
If we can do that, we are in the driver’s seat of our own health story. If we are in the driver’s seat, we should understand that we can only delegate, not abdicate this position.
This then enables us to further examine our needs and obtain additional complementary, or functional, health support as needed. Or, even, take steps to reduce our dependence on our medical partners and treat our bodies, and minds, with the respect they so richly deserve.
In many ways I lost my way with personal responsibility when it came to my own health. I knew antibiotics, for example, were not a great option and to be used sparingly and only when absolutely necessary. Outside of that I started to lay responsibility in the laps of my overworked medical professional who were prescribing medications that perhaps provided relief, rather than a cure, but still I happily gobbled them if they were offered. Did they solve things? Of course not! Not always. Because I wasn’t taking responsibility for myself.
I’ve always known that it takes a lot more than a tablet, medicine, gel or spray to fix health problems but only recently fully committed to the concept of taking a holistic approach to health. Bring it on!
Here I’m sharing my tips for taking better care of our bodies and therefore, owning our own health journey.
Diet – What we put in, is what we get out – simples! Be sure there is the colour of the rainbow in every meal. Can’t get me enough colour on my plate.
Ditch toxic habits – Cigarettes, vapes, alcohol and illicit drugs serve you no good and embracing them is one of the worst things you can to do to your health.
Movement – No need to run a marathon but daily physical movement will keep everything lubricated and mobile, which is especially important as we age.
Strangle the Stress – Seriously, stress is poison for the mind and body. It’s important to be aware of your emotions. Take care of them or they will make you sick.
Sleep – I can’t say it enough. Sleep, sleep and more quality sleep is essential.
The point is, the buck stops with us. We need to own our own health journey by taking good care of our physical and mental health if we are to live happy, healthy and, hopefully, long lives. It’s why I started this website. To help women just like me, and you, to be empowered with information to take control of our own health journeys.
We should all consider incorporating an annual health check up with a complementary e.g. naturopath, health practitioner alongside your friendly professional GP. Better yet, choose an integrative, or functional, health professional who will take a truly holistic approach with you.