It’s important for all of us to look after our health, especially as we get older. This is something that we all know, but do we all act upon it? Hopefully we all have regular check-ups, try to eat well and exercise. How often have you had some annoying pain or small physical setback, such as a cramp or stiff joints, and just tried to ignore it while you go on with your life?
It’s something that we’re probably all guilty of. These minor complaints that are relatively easy to live with, can develop into more serious conditions if left untreated. In the long run they may even become life threatening.
Take time out
Part of the problem is that even though we’re all encouraged to stay healthy, we’re also encouraged to work hard and to push through. No one likes to be seen complaining about minor aches, pains or sniffles. Even though we’re feeling rough, we put a brave face on. We go to work as usual and make an extra effort to manage, while congratulating ourselves on our toughness, dedication and stoic resilience.
Hard work is good, but self-care is essential. The fact is, that if gone unchecked, these minor problems can develop into more serious complaints that could cause you to be out of action for a while, or even leave you permanently hindered. It’s better to take some time out now to recover from that cough, cold or aching back, rather than persevere and see it turn into pneumonia or a crippling injury. It could last far longer than it would have taken to get back to full health, if the problem had been treated immediately.
Listen to your body
Listening to your body is an important part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. There are many “silent killers” out there that do not noticeably have any symptoms, but that nevertheless can cause real health problems if they’re not addressed. Having a high cholesterol level is one example. This can lead to a hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis) as well as increasing the risk of a heart attack or a stroke. The only way to find out for sure if you have a dangerously high cholesterol level is to have a lipid panel test from a qualified tester such as at https://www.healthtestingcenters.com/lipid-profile. If you have a family history of high cholesterol, smoke, are overweight or suffer from diabetes then you may be at risk. Diet and lifestyle changes can reduce the amount of cholesterol in your body.
Stress and mental health
There is a lot of stigma and taboo around mental health and many of us are embarrassed to ask for help when it all gets to be too much. Physical problems are a lot easier to recognize and identify, but “in the mind” is too often taken to mean “imaginary” or “not real”. In fact, mental health issues like depression, stress and anxiety are extremely common and can lead to serious consequences if we don’t take the time to deal with them.
It’s also worth remembering that the body and mind are far more closely linked than we often consider. Physical ailments can have psychological causes and vice versa. Physical exercise can help to counter stress, anxiety and depression, while counseling and medication from your doctor are also available. Meditation is a great healer also. The important thing is to recognize the problem, and talk to someone about it. Mental health issues are not a sign of weakness but a natural reaction to a stressful world. Thankfully there is an increasing amount of help available.
So if you’re feeling run down, suffering from a cold or a persistent cough, or if your body aches and doesn’t move so well as it should, ask for the time off to let it get better. Carrying on is sometimes the worst and least productive thing that you can do in the long run. Your body can often heal itself, but it needs to be given the time and the resources to do so.
Even if you feel basically okay, listen to your body and what it’s saying to you. Is there room for improvement? Keep an eye on your diet and your lifestyle, especially in terms of how much sleep and exercise you’re getting. You may feel okay now, but again you could be building up problems in the long run. Take care of the small things now, and the bigger issues will hopefully take care of themselves.