I find myself easily distracted this time of year. It’s mid November, and in my mind I am planning a Thanksgiving gathering with friends and family. Then I am fast forwarding to the smell of a fresh Christmas tree, the lights that will decorate the house, and the joyous feeling, the spirit that surrounds December and the new year.
The fact that the stores already started toting holiday decor the day after Halloween, and the Hallmark Channel is already airing cheezy (but so addictive) Christmas movies, doesn’t help my distraction factor. I am in holiday planning mode.
This got me thinking…
We plan for Thanksgiving, Christmas, birthday parties, vacations, our kid’s after school activities, and even our work week, but we don’t plan for our own health.
You know the saying, “prevention is key”, but in my line of work, it often takes a health emergency for someone to actually seek my services. I hear a slew of woes:
- “I was diagnosed with (put major medical diagnosis here), and my doctor says that if I don’t change what I am doing then I will probably die in the next couple of years.”
- “My anxiety has gotten so bad that my (significant other) said he/she will leave me if I don’t get help.”
- “My (insert diagnosis) is so bad that I have used up all my sick days at work and I worry about losing my job.”
- “My friends avoid me now because I am too tired / emotionally unavailable and keep declining their invites.”
Why does it take something major to happen for us to actually DO something about our health?
Here are the excuses:
- I am too busy.
- I don’t have the time.
- I don’t have the money.
- It costs too much.
- Insurance doesn’t pay.
- I don't have insurance.
- I would rather have/do ____________.
- It is too hard to change my diet / lifestyle / habits.
- I need something quick and easy.
- The kids need all my attention.
The truth is, when you use these excuses, you are basically saying your health just isn’t a priority. And for some it isn’t. And that is ok. But most people I know don’t want to be sick, don’t want to feel like crap or emotionally overwhelmed, and don’t want to leave this earth prematurely.
Saying your physical and emotional health isn’t a priority is backasswards thinking. If you aren’t healthy, you can’t work to make money, you don’t have the energy for family, and you are spending more money to now fix the problem.
There is a really, really, good reason that in case of an airplane emergency, you are instructed to put on your oxygen mask first and then attend to your child. If you aren't conscious, how in the heck are you supposed to help your loved ones?
What is the cost to not buying into prevention or nipping things in the bud before they get out of control?
1. You actually end up spending more $ in the long run.
- co-pay at doctor’s visits
- extended therapy sessions
- lab work bills
- pills, etc.
2. You actually end up spending more of your time focusing on your health problem.
- doctor’s visits
- extended therapy sessions
- lab work
- attempts to self-medicate
- trying different pills or supplements, etc.
3. Your stress level increases, which in turn, just adds to your poor health.
- Avoidance and procrastination suck a lot of energy!
- It is exhausting carrying around emotional baggage all day long.
- You are just too tired and don't get anything done, which = anxiety.
4. Your family suffers.
- If you don’t feel well, or if you are emotionally overwhelmed, you are unavailable to your kids, your spouse, and your 4-legged babies.
5. Your social life suffers.
- If you don’t feel well or are emotionally pre-occupied, you isolate yourself from your friends, you turn down parties, dinners out, and recreational activities.
So next time when your inner voice says to you, “you know, you should probably deal with _________________ before it gets worse”, you may want to listen.
Is it time to rearrange your priorities?