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Do you want to prioritise your health but feel you don’t have neither the time nor energy? By taking a closer look at how you’re spending your personal resources, like your time, energy, attention, and money, you can find the best way to use your personal resources for health.
Learn how to review your personal resources and find out what changes would improve your health, while still working in your life.
Prioritising Your Health
We all know we should be prioritising our health, but hand on heart, most of us struggle with making our health a priority in a world where we are stretched thin, being pulled in many different directions.
We feel stressed, from our jobs, making sure our family is taken care of, managing our money, and a thousand other things. In fact, in a poll undertaken of YouGov in the UK in 2018, 74% felt so stressed they have been overwhelmed or unable to cope.
The same study showed that 46% ate too much or ate unhealthily, 29% started or increased their drinking and 16% started or increased their smoking, all due to stress. And of people who had felt stress at some point in their lives, 32% had had suicidal thoughts and feelings.
Chronic Health Conditions
Stress isn’t the only thing impacting our health, almost half (45%) of Americans suffered from at least one chronic health condition, where a chronic health condition is consider a physical or mental health condition that lasts for at least a year and requires ongoing monitoring or treatment.
Even if we are not part of those 45%, many of us have health conditions that lasts for weeks or months, or that we suffer in silence, and it’s therefore not included in the statistics.
Sickness Absence Rates
We don’t know how many people are unwell at any one time, but looking at sickness absence rates for employed people in the UK over the past 25 years, it has gone from over 3% to 1.8% in 2020.
Absence rates are not a great measure of how healthy people are. We have all gone to work when we’ve felt unwell, and the rate of ‘presenteeism’ is likely to go up as a larger proportion of workers have the option to work from home.
What we can say that most of us feel unwell from time to time. Some of us often, some of us only occasionally. What we can also agree on is that the lives most of us live today are not optimised for health. They are optimised for being a productive person contributing to society, taking care of the family and generally prioritise others rather than ourselves.
How to Become ‘Healthy’
What is Health and is it Right to Prioritise My Own Health?
The World Health Organisation says it best:
Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.
The enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being without distinction of race, religion, political belief, economic or social condition.WHO
Let’s break this down:
- Health is complete physical, mental, and social well-being
- Health is not only absence of disease
- It is your human right to enjoy the best possible health
Prioritising your health is not egotistical, it should not be far down on the priority list, prioritising your own health is a human right.
It can still be difficult to focus on your health, but deep down you know it’s the right thing to do. You know that when you are healthy you will be better at your job. You will be able to be there better for your family. And you will enjoy all things in life more when you do so from a state of good health!
What is Healthy Living
But what is healthy living? Does that mean I have to be a boring person only eating rabbit food? Or become a gym bunny? Off course not. There isn’t one way to become healthier, but there are a number of things that scientists agree, by making them a priority, will increase your general health.
- Eat Healthy: Eat more vegetables and real foods and limit processed food, food high in added sugars and alcohol. Read More: What is Healthy Eating? 4 Foods that are Healthy to Eat and 5 to Limit
- Move More: Movement (and exercise) will improve both your physical and mental health significantly. Read More: 25 Benefits of Moving Your Body More You Need to Know
- Sleep Well: When you sleep your body get a chance to repair itself, including your brain, and will make you function better both long and short term.
- Manage Ongoing Health Conditions: Take care of yourself when you are unwell. Seek help, take your medicine and follow the advice of your healthcare provider. Rest until you’re feeling better.
- Limit Stress: Look at your priorities in life. What can you change to live a life more in line with your values? Read More: The Inner Work to Do to Achieve Your True Goals
- Social Relationships: Having good relationships will improve your mental health, your physical health, and even your risk of death!
You already knew you should be doing all this, right? We all know we should eat well, get our sleep and go to the doctor. But we don’t. So how can we make other priorities? How can we use our personal resources for health?
What are Personal Resources in Health?
What are our Personal Resources and how can we use them in health management?
Your personal resources are the resources you as an individual have access to. These are:
- Money and other possessions
These are the resources that you personally have, and that you can use to make your health a priority.
You can make time for the healthy habits. You can pay attention to the different aspects of your life and use energy to make the needed changes. Finally, you can decide to trade less of your time, energy, and attention for money, or you can decide to trade your money to buy back your time, energy and attention.
Not sure where to begin? Let’s explore how you can use your personal resources for health.
How to Use Personal Resources for Health
How you use your personal resources ultimately decides how you live your life. When you decide how you spend your personal resources you are building the framework of your life.
- What are you spending your time doing?
- Where is your energy going?
- What do you pay attention to and when?
- How much effort to you put into making money, and what do you spend it on?
Most of us are not very mindful in how we use our personal resources. We get stuck in habits like working too much, spending nights binge-watching Netflix, scrolling social media or having a drink or two too much.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. We can choose to change. We can decide to make different priorities and focus on what will make us feel better, be healthier, in the long term.
Personal Resources and Ongoing Health Conditions
If you have an ongoing health condition, to manage this condition needs to be a top priority in your life. You may not be able to be cured, but we can always make the best of a bad situation. It’s not easy, and you may need to do some inner work to do the motivation to change, but it is worth it.
- Make time for your health condition: Make sure you go to your appointments, take your medicine, do your exercises, or follow the required diet as recommended by your healthcare provider.
- Spend energy on improving your condition: Change is never easy, and it’s even more difficult when we are not healthy. Explore where your energy is going and how you can divert it into managing your condition.
- Pay attention to your condition: We don’t always get all the answers from our healthcare provider. Many conditions have an individual component. How does it impact you? What make you feel better? Feel worse? What can you learn from your own body and mind and how can you use those learnings to improve?
- Consider how money can be a tool: Would it be better for you to work less or change industry? Can you adjust your spending to make this possible? Or would your life improve if you spent money on something like a cleaning service, saving you the time and energy to do it yourself?
How you best use your personal resources to manage your health condition is just that, personal. You need to figure out what works for you. How you can best use what you have in a way that makes life the best possible for you.
Personal Resources and General Health Management
Even if we don’t have an ongoing health condition, most of us could feel a lot better, be a lot healthier, than we are today. We can eat and sleep better, we can move more and stress less, and we can all spend more time, energy, and attention (and money) on quality time with our loved ones.
Remember, prioritising your health is a human right.
Consider how you are currently doing in the different areas of health. Do you know that you could be eating a lot better, or that you don’t usually get enough sleep? Start there!
When making changes it’s important to not try to do too much at once. It will probably just make you more stressed, and take a lot of time, energy, and attention without leading to sustainable change.
Instead focus on one thing you want to improve. Consider what one or two changes you could make to your daily routine that would improve this and focus on making this change.
Can you swap your sugary breakfast cereals for porridge with fruit?
Is it possible to walk or cycle to work?
Can you schedule a weekly call with your best friend?
Focus on making these small changes, and once they are ingrained in your life, it’s time to make another change! By making many small changes over time, they accumulate and lead to bigger changes quicker than you think!
Use Your Personal Resources for Health
We can’t just wave a magic wand and feel better. We will not become, or stay, healthy if we don’t make it a priority.
To be healthy we have to use our personal resources to support that health. We need to be intentional and prioritize. And we need to take action.
What is one action you can take today to promote your health? To make your health a priority?
Making and breaking habits are great tools to learn. The Molecule of More explains the science behind why some habits feel a lot stronger than others – the power of dopamine. Lieberman, M.D. is a professor and vice chair for clinical affairs in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Sciences at George Washington University – but don’t let that put you off! This book is very accessible, scientifically sound and is a must read if you feel addicted to any of your habits, finding it challenging to change them.
For more tips, go to the Resources for Personal Development page.