It is much easier to maintain health than it is to recover from an illness. People are busy and often say that healthy behaviours are not a priority; they simply do not have the time. Unfortunately, if you don’t have the time to maintain your health, you’ll likely be forced to make the time for illness. Which would you prefer?
I have spent 10+ years watching countless patients come to the ER with chronic lifestyle-related illnesses, most of which are preventable. They end up waiting long hours because they are not emergency cases. They either do not understand the healthcare system or they realise they have nowhere else to go.
Not all walk-in clinics have onsite doctors; some require appointments to be made the night before. Not everyone has access to a family doctor. Those who do can wait a year or more for an appointment because the doctor’s caseload is huge. Then there’s the follow-up consults with other medical services that can also take months to organize unless you happen to be an urgent case. Then possibly pharmacy visits, etc. It’s a very time-consuming process.
While I applaud hard working and devoted healthcare workers, we simply do not have the resources to continue as we are. We’re short staffed. We’re underfunded. We’re burned out. We don’t always get a break, whether that’s to eat or simply go to the bathroom. Equipment breaks. But, we are doing the best we can with the resources we have and yet, we still often feel like we haven’t done enough.
What we, as a society, need to do is start focusing on prevention. We need to encourage healthy behaviours to improve our quality of life well into our later years. This way we can avoid all the unnecessary extra time spent in hospitals, clinics and doctor’s offices. We can use those services sparingly and only when necessary.
Instead, we can use that time to enjoy life. We can spend more time with loved ones and friends. We can go on a trip. We can learn a new skill. We can experience a new type of cuisine. We can run a marathon; whatever it is that makes life enjoyable for you.
Making small adjustments today can make a world of difference a few months/years from now. Are you getting enough exercise? Are you getting enough sleep? Are you eating healthy meals regularly? Are you managing your stress levels? Are you creating meaningful relationships? Are you making time for leisure? These are all things to consider for overall health and wellbeing.
Still feel like you don’t have time to make a health a priority?
Health is not the absence of disease. Health is a state of optimal wellbeing.
What does health mean to you?
Let me know in the comments!
The next Healthy Habits program is set to begin in May. Click here for more info.