Do you regularly check in with your body to assess and monitor your health?
As a naturopath, once I have worked with my clients to address the underlying issues which brought them to me in the first place, our focus shifts to ongoing monitoring of their overall health and wellness on a periodic basis. This is what I call active management of your physical wealth.
Many of us put a lot of time, money and effort into our financial wealth but overlook the importance of our physical wealth. So you might budget, have a savings plan, cancel the credit cards or have investments which you diligently monitor on a regular basis BUT do you check in with your body to assess and monitor its performance?
Did you know you can pick up early clues as to your physical “wealth” by reading your body’s “bank statements” in relation to immunity, sleep, energy, fitness, mood and more?
In my opinion, there is not much point in having financial wealth if you don’t have the physical wealth to really enjoy it.
You use your body every minute of every day so it makes good sense to invest in it.
So, what simple things can you do to check your physical wealth (I mean health)…..
I encourage you to spend just a few minutes every month or so to check in with these critical aspects of your overall health. They can tell you a lot about how your health is tracking.
Check your sleep patterns…do you get enough sleep or are you running on sleep debt? Do you have difficulty sleeping? Do you wake up tired? Do you snore?
For most people, the recommended sweet spot for sleep is between 7-8 hours of good quality sleep (including REM and deep sleep). Sleep is vital for energy, mood, immunity, weight management, heart health, memory and cognition.
If your sleep is not great start with 9 ways to improve your sleep.
Energy and fitness
You should have enough energy to enable you to comfortably get through the day’s activities and do the things you would like to do. Yes, there will be days that are tougher than others but they should be the exception rather than the rule.
So, do you need to take naps (or would you if you could)? Do you struggle to stay awake in meetings/presentations or in front of the TV? Do you get to the end of the day or week and just collapse onto the couch? Do you rely on caffeine or sugar to keep you going?
Do you avoid exercise or get puffed walking up a flight of stairs? Has your fitness declined in the last decade?
There is no denying that your fitness and energy may decline with age but you have the potential to slow the rate of decline and we know that those who are physically active reduce their risk of many diseases including heart disease, diabetes, depression and colon cancer. They are also less likely to have falls. And they can participate in life rather than “watching from the sidelines”.
If you are always feeling tired perhaps one of the hidden reasons why you are tired might apply to you.
Do you know what you weigh? Has your weight changed in the last 5 to 10 years? Has your body shape changed (are you carrying more weight around your abdomen? Do you know your waist circumference? Is it less than 94cm if you are male or 80cm if you are female? Is your waist/height ratio greater than 50%? (Your waist measurement should be less than half your height).
Being above your healthy weight may increase your risk of developing diabetes, heart problems, some cancers, hormonal problems, fatigue and arthritis. The sooner you change the trajectory of your weight if it is increasing, the better.
There are many reasons why you may not be at your healthy weight, here’s eight of them.
One in 7 Australians will experience depression in their lifetime and one in four will experience anxiety. These are significant illnesses which are sometimes not given the attention they deserve.
Are you happy generally? Are you satisfied with how your life is going? Do you have enough resilience in the “account” to cope with life’s hiccups or do you get upset, depressed or anxious. Do you use (need?) alcohol or other substances to help you cope?
For many suffering from depression, anxiety or simply low mood or mood swings there can be something else going on, which, if addressed, can make a huge difference to your mood.
Read more about the causes of anxiety or the causes of depression or download the DASS21 self-assessment tool. This is one of the tools I use to monitor the progress of my clients when we are working on their mental health.
The quality of every cell in your body depends on what you eat and how you digest it.
So, how do you know if your digestion is letting you down? Do you frequently suffer from digestive issues like indigestion, pain or bloating? Do you avoid certain foods because they don’t agree with you? Could you be more regular with your bowel movements? Do you experience loose stools or diarrhoea on a regular basis?
There are many causes of dodgy digestion and quite a few things you can do to start improving it.
No-one wants to be getting sick all the time. Good immunity enables you to resist at least some of the bugs going around and bounce back when you do get sick. It’s a sign of your overall resilience.
So, does your immune system have enough in the tank to ward off infections or do you succumb to every bug that is going around? When you do get sick, do you recover easily and well or is it a real struggle? Do you have a particular immune vulnerability whether that be in the lungs, throat, sinuses or perhaps digestive system?
Want to improve your immunity? Dip into these tips.
How do you look?
Take a good look at yourself in the mirror. Do you “look healthy”? Is your skin prone to acne, rashes, redness? Do you check for moles or other new spots? Are your nails weak or deformed in some way? Is your hair healthy or falling out? How do your eyes look? Bright and clear or dull or bloodshot?
Pay attention to any changes that may be happening. They may be early warning signs that your health is going off track.
If you are a menstruating female, is your cycle regular? Do you experience pain, PMS or heavy bleeding? Your menstrual cycle is your monthly report card which tells us something about your overall health.
For men, how is your libido? Do you experience any erectile issues? Have you noticed a decline in mental or physical performance or a loss of motivation? These can be possible clues to a decline in testosterone. Here’s some more info on men’s health and hormones.
Examinations, testing and screening
When was the last time you had some blood tests done? Do you know your blood pressure, blood glucose, cholesterol, kidney or liver function? When was the last time you had them checked?
Are you due for a prostate exam or a mammogram or pap smear? When was the last time you had a dental check-up?
I always ask to see copies of any pathology testing that has been done and I compile a spreadsheet so I can monitor trends and patterns over time. Don’t just take your doctor’s word for it that everything is normal. Ask for copies so you have a history. Take ownership of your numbers and let’s not wait until they are “abnormal”.
Where to from here?
So, you have done your review of your health status…how did you go? Are there some signs there that maybe your physical wealth needs a bit of attention?
These things are unlikely to miraculously change of their own accord. You need to take action!
Just like your financial wealth, there is a lot you can do yourself (starting with reading some of the links contained in this blog). If you haven’t had any pathology testing done for a number of years, that is also a good place to start i.e. a general health check up with your GP.
But if you really want the best outcome it is worth investing in professional advice to identify where you could make some changes and to help you with a plan of action. A naturopath who takes the time to get to know you, your lifestyle, your biochemistry and who can develop a tailored, workable plan to optimise your physical wealth can be a real asset and a valuable member of your trusted team of advisors.