Thoughts and such like.....
Were you ever told as a child, you need to be more responsible?
Or 'Why can't you take responsibility for what happened?'
Responsibility comes with being an adult. - as we grow we take on more responsibility, in our work, for our families, for this task or that and sometimes we take responsibility for our health, sometimes, but not always, and it seems not often enough.
Last week I heard that for the first time in decades life expectancy in the US has stalled and more Americans are dying younger. According to a number of news reports men and women in the US now have the lowest life expectancy among the high income nations. In December 2017, Money Watch reported that previously women lived 8 - 10 years longer than men, today US women are also closing the gap and now their lifespan has narrowed to four to five years. And that takes us to responsibility!
We all rely on our healthcare system, where ever we live to help us when we fall ill, however, how many of us can depend on ourselves for our own self care - particularly when it comes to what we put into our mouths, and how we treat our bodies? The same Money Watch article called the US a 'plus-size' Nation. Self care is not an indulgence, rather it's an investment into our longevity, and a longevity that will allow us to enjoy life to the fullest. How can we care for well for others when we neglect ourselves? And what are we saying to others about how they can treat us, if we don't treat ourselves with respect?
I'm very thankful to live in a country that has a great healthcare system, however I think that it enables us to be somewhat complacent in our self-care. We should be responsible for some of the healthcare ills that beset us. I grow angry at those I see who have had a heart attack or cancer, and continue to smoke, or pay little attention to their health. I've never been one to purchase fast food, in fact my children say, the only time they were able to eat from a fast food diner as kids, was if the diner was raising money for the hospital in which I worked! I despair of people who fill their shopping carts with sugary, processed cardboard when we live in a place where there are so many fresh fruits and vegetables - I do get some funny looks as I smell the tomatoes, strawberries and other items but oh, they smell so wonderful; light, fragrant and so good!
Fifteen years ago I was diagnosed with chronic fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis and a host of other unpronounceable diseases. I had a choice to accept the diagnosis and go with the future outlined by my physician, taking an immense amount of medication along with their side affects. And for a while I did. I mourned the me that was, the would be athlete, the person who could party late into the evening and bounce up again the next day... and then I changed... I thought why should I accept that I will not be able to do certain things, that I will have to live with pain.. and I began to read, understand and accept some of the limitations... I changed my diet, and continue to tweak it, I began to exercise again, and once in a while to accept some of the limitations. I took responsibility for my health, can't change it, but I did, and continue to do my homework, I'm constantly looking at how I can improve my health, not waiting for the physicians and their magic pills to sort me out, I'm not going out with tubes and pulling a machine, not me ... I'll be dancing and creating chaos!
I believe we should all be responsible for the health of our bodies and minds... have those chips, but eat those in front of you not two packets - forgo the burger and fries each week, try them, if you must, once every couple of months. Buy a new vegetable or fruit, google how to use it! Let your taste buds adventure.... Open your senses... eyes to view new foods; nose to smell new scents; ears and hands to the new sounds and feel of different foods and, most of all mouth to taste new flavours.... Go crazy, and buy something you have never heard of... and make a new dish, invite your friends over to try it!
In a chaotic world, where we often may feel despair and out of control, we can control, how we treat ourselves, our bodies, and in turn, our minds. I believe I am responsible for my health, not my doctor, not the healthcare system - they are part of the toolkit that I use if and when I need to, but I have other tools too... yoga, meditation, walking, family and friends who care about me, and most importantly my own curiosity and determination. It is my responsibility to ensure I have the help I need, but also to keep my body in the best place it can be at this moment in time. What about you - what have you done for health and yourself today?
Maeve O'Byrne's Blog