Since my dad’s surgery I’ve been thinking a lot about how to take better care of myself. On the one hand, I’ve come to realize that regardless of how healthy I am (or think I am) some things are totally outside of my control. However, I still believe that we should all be the CEOs of our own health. This means that there is no greater advocate for your own health than YOU.
Note: I am not, in any way whatsoever, saying that you should turn into Dr. Google. Nothing should replace the interaction between you and your physician.
For me, being the CEO of my own health means…
- Breaking a good sweat 4-5 times a week for at least 30 minutes
- Including both cardio and strength workouts in my weekly plan
- Ensuring that my diet includes a variety of different foods, including whole grains, fruits and veggies, beans, tofu, organic dairy, etc.
- Eating the good stuff every now and then. Personally, the good stuff always amounts to dark chocolate and goodies with dark chocolate in them.
- Drinking lots and lots of water every day.
- Never missing my routine annual exams with the primary care doctor, the OBGYN, the dentist, and the optometrist.
- Going in to each of these visits with questions/concerns written down on a piece of paper just in case my memory fails me
- Knowing the results of any blood work/tests that are performed. I’ve learned from my mom to always follow-up and ask for a hard copy to be sent home. Some doctors say no news is good news and leave it at that, but as the CEO of my own health, I’m not satisfied with that answer.
- Knowing what the results mean. I always ask questions about where in a given range my numbers fall, what the normal is for my age and weight, if there is room for improvement and how to improve, etc.
- Going to the doctor when something just doesn’t feel right. And I’m not talking about colds, minor aches and pains and things like that. I’m referring to symptoms like shortness of breath, rapid weight loss, reoccurring pain in a given area, etc.
- Knowing what certain symptoms mean. For example, because of my dad’s surgery, I now know the signs of a heart attack like the back of my hand.
- Taking all of my medications on time AND knowing the side effects of each.
- Knowing my family’s medical history. I now have a pretty good handle on the health of my parents, sister, grandparents, and aunts/uncles.
- Not only memorizing my family’s medical history but practicing prevention. I refuse to believe that just because my dad and all his siblings have diabetes my sister and I are destined to be diagnosed with it as well.
- Talking to my doctor about preventative measures (additional tests, blood work, screenings, etc.) and other ways to reduce the risks.
Mental and emotional wellness
- Carving out some daily me time to read, meditate, etc.
- Staying connected with my good friends via text, email, phone calls, etc. And also hanging out with local friends whenever possible. Friends are just good for your soul!
- Going on date nights with Vishnu.
- Moving just for the fun of it – leisurely walks, dance-a-thons in our living room, stretch sessions while watching TV
- Practicing mindfulness whenever possible
- Taking every chance I get to give back to the community. For example, my workplace is holding a winter clothing drive and a canned food drive through December. I plan to go through all of our winter clothes this weekend in search of stuff to donate. And I also plan to pick up extra food items during my weekly grocery run.
Please note that this is not an exhaustive checklist for how to be healthy. Remember, I am NOT a medical professional. These are just some of the ways I chose to take control of my health. My way isn’t necessarily the right/best way, so I highly recommend you talk to your healthcare provider to come up with some of your own action items.
The point I am trying to make is that at the end of the day YOU know your body the best (physically, mentally, emotionally), and it’s ultimately YOUR job to take care of yourself.
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I want to thank you all again for all the loving comments and emails about my dad and his recovery. I am SO happy to report that he is doing really well! The other day my mom was complaining about how he doesn’t sit still. In fact, she was afraid to leave him home alone because he was getting in and out of bed every five minutes. I think they were able to quench his thirst for movement by going on a 10 minute walk around the neighborhood yesterday afternoon. Oh daddy-o!