November, 2015

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A Call to Wellness; Add more years to your Life!

Mary Wanjau in training

A call to add life to the days of our lives.

We aspire to have long life – many, many days on earth. How does one ensure that indeed each numbered day is abundant, enjoying great health outcome each moment?
Often when someone mentions the word health, our minds quickly drift to disease and illness.
Adding life to our days and improving our health outcomes requires us to perceive our health holistically;
As a complete state of physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. The ability to lead a “socially and economically” productive life hence; perceiving health as …a resource for everyday life (WHO, 1986).
It was not so long ago that we all ushered in the New Year. Some of us were fortunate to do this in pomp and color, some of us ushered in the year 2015 amidst challenging circumstances. It is now six months into 2015, this far you have come.
Of the over 180 days into the year 2015, how would you describe your health status- , your physical health? Mental health? Social well being? Financial well being? Amidst your everyday circumstances do the decisions you make everyday encourage actions that promote your health holistically?
As Health practitioners, we endeavor to engage in health promotion initiatives in pursuit of enabling people to increase control over, and to improve their health. A good number of these initiatives include Health education on various diseases and areas of health. However, I am persuaded that indeed what really makes the difference is when one receives the information AND takes ACTION in response to the health message, despite and in spite of one’s life’s circumstances.
For instance, to help us reflect on this. Let us consider the area of nutrition; balanced diet.
To date, how much information do you have about healthy eating, how many times has someone spoken to you about the importance of a balanced diet? How many times have you read about the importance of a balanced diet?
Compare that to the number of times you take a balanced diet within a day? A week?
How does this compare?
The Call to Wellness seeks to balance this out. Seeks to see that everyday finds you striving to translate health information that you have acquired over time into everyday actions that result to improved health outcome.
Still on Nutrition; number of meals you should have in a day -
• Picture this; it is a Monday morning and wake up 30 minutes late. You had a wonderful but tiring weekend and you did not hear the alarm ring. You have a list of things to do within your morning routine as you prepare to leave the house to attend class, get to the office ;either in business or employment.

Your list of morning chores includes taking a shower, preparing your clothes, shoes, items you need for the day, taking your breakfast. If you have school going children you prepare them for school and so on.

On this particular Monday morning when you have woken up late, which activity from the list above, do you quickly do away with to save up on time?

Further, on that morning activity list is taking breakfast on the list?

• Or, you are employed and it is a particular Friday, end of month, several reports require to be handed in before you leave the office. You have several client meetings booked back to back. That notwithstanding, your boss calls you in for an impromptu departmental meeting that is a must attend. Ordinarily, most of us have a lunch hour allocation often between 1.00pm to 2.00pm.
On a typical day as the one described above, what are the chances that you will take a moment to have your lunch for the day?
Having health as a priority in our everyday lives is the goal. This should be the goal of each one of us in all areas of health; in the physical, mental, social and financial.
In physical health, we consider each of us could be at different levels of health but the challenge is to ensure that every moment, you do all you can to;
1. Prevent diseases through healthy lifestyles, vaccinations
2. Detect diseases early long before signs and symptoms occur through regular medical screening
3. Promptly seek quality medical attention when an ailment does occur – as soon as signs and symptoms present. Early detection and treatment of disease promises better health outcome.
4. Comply with treatment and care for any disease that has been diagnosed. Embrace recommended lifestyle changes, psychological support from medical team, friends and family.
There is room for all of us to embrace the Call to Action at the respective stages we are; whether in prevention of disease or compliance to treatment for a specific ailment in support of continued good health while already on treatment.
This concept is applied to all the other aspects of health ; budgeting to prevent financial strain, careful balance between work and life, nurturing relationships to promote social wellbeing, reconciliation with others to mend relationships, managing stressors in our lives, psychological support to help us cope with stressful situations and support our mental well being.
This is a higher calling and takes deliberate effort. To each of us, the secret and the challenge is to ensure that each day finds us striving towards good health. Ensuring that amidst your busy schedules, pursuit of good health is a priority to you. That indeed is The Call to wellness.