Albert Schweitzer once said, “I’ll tell you a secret. We doctors do nothing. We only help and encourage the doctor within.” How can you help your body be its own best doctor? Commit to making 2009 a “Year of Wellness.”
Start by creating a personal plan for change:
- Take inventory: Determine what you are already doing well, and what you might improve.
- Write it down: Put your intentions on paper, and place the paper where you can see it.
- Prioritize: Tackle things that will have the most impact first.
- Start slow: Break the process into pieces and do one thing at a time.
- Set a date: Decide when you are going to begin making changes.
- Enlist assistance: Ask others to help you get where you want to go. Though you may be your own best doctor, your healthcare provider is still a critical resource. If you’re not sure what changes you’d like to make, consider giving each month a specific health focus.
Here’s a suggested calendar:
January: Body Basics. Set goals, learn about healthy weights and BMI, and set a goal for maintaining a healthy body weight.
February: Heading the Heart. Heart disease is the number one killer of American adults. Find out how healthy your heart is by taking the online “Risk Assessment”
March: Eat Sleep be Merry. Hippocrates said, “Let food be your medicine.” Each of us
requires slightly different proportions and quantities of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and high quality fats. Calculate your personal nutrient needs during National Nutrition Month, at www.mypyramid.gov. March 3-9 is National Sleep AwarenessWeek. Most Americans get far less than the recommended eight hours of sleep For sleep-related suggestions, visit www.sleepfoundation.org.
April: Combat Cancer. Cancer is the second leading cause of death in American adults. Get up to date on your cancer screenings during National Cancer Control Month. For more information on cancer screening options, visit www.cancer.org.
May: Spotlight on the Spirit. When our spirits are well, our bodies enjoy equilibrium.
Attend to your spirit during National Mental Health Month.
June: Strive for Home Safety. Do you live in a “Home Safe Home”? Download a “Hands-On Home Safety Checklist” during National Safety Month from www.homesafetycouncil.org.
July: Fun in the Sun. Still on that June safety kick? Make the rest of your summer a safe one as you: – Protect skin with hats, lightcolored clothing, and SPF 15 sunscreen – Protect eyes with UVA- & UVBblocking sunglasses
August: Giving it your Best Shot. When was the last time you thought about shots? Obtain vaccination information during National Immunization Awareness Month, by visiting www.cdc.gov.
September: Conquering Cholesterol. Do you know your cholesterol levels? Healthy adults should have a cholesterol test every five years after the age of twenty.
October: Being Aware of Breast Cancer. Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in American women–and the reason that October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. For more information, visit: www.nbcam.org
November: Deciphering Diabetes. More than 20 million Americans have diabetes, which can
lead to problems such as heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, blindness, and impotence.Take the “Diabetes Risk Test” during American Diabetes Month.
December: Happier Holidays. Want to keep your holidays happy? Remember that it’s not about what you buy, it’s about what you give–and the best gift of all is you! Instead of spending money, spend time. Arrange low-cost activities, such as ice-skating and caroling, with those you love. Organize potluck dinners and the exchange of simple, homemade gifts. Be grateful for your blessings, and remember to share with those who have less abundance in their lives.