What if you earned a bonus every month that you did not come into the doctor’s office or buy a prescription?
Would you feel more compelled to stay healthy?
I’m a firm believer that the best healthcare is preventative care — doing everything in my power to stay vibrantly healthy and not get sick. And I’m proud to say I’m doing pretty well. In fact I can’t even remember the last time I went to my doctor for something other than a check up.
This wasn’t always the case.
My young adult years were plagued with some illness or another. Within weeks of starting college I came down with mononucleosis. Long Vermont winters lead to pneumonia and frequent bouts of bronchitis. Sniffles, plugged ears and a general feeling of “blah” were commonplace. I seemed to catch every bug that was floating around.
Everyone who’s moved away from home to attend college knows how challenging those first few years of complete independence can be. This freedom we so desperately craved can quickly become overwhelming and lead to disastrous health.
The main culprit? Sleep deprivation! Oh and the endless plates of unhealthy foods we gobble in a hurry in between never ending activities. Yep college habits are seldom healthy ones, and bad habits are not easy to get rid of.
Fast forward a few years after moving to sunny Southern California. Things are pretty good. I have a job I love, working at an video editing company, my boyfriend, soon to be husband, has moved out to LA and we spend most of our weekends outdoors. We discover scuba diving, rock climbing… Fun, healthy activities that bond us together and keep illness at bay 🙂
Then I decide to step out on my own and launch a freelance career. And before I know it I’m working around the clock on one show or another — 12, 16, 18 hour days.
I don’t know when they started but one day I realize I was suffering from the most debilitating migraines. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. But there is no such thing as down time in the ever so glamorous entertainment industry. It is a world ruled by deadlines and those deadlines have to be met at whatever cost.
By the time I turned 30 and wanted to become a mom I wised up a little and decided to start my own company. A company governed by a different set of rules — Mine. We took regular lunch breaks, away from our desks and enjoyed wonderful conversations around our dining room table. My babies had their nursery on site so I could take breast feeding and bonding breaks. And I had a firm out. If my clients wanted me to stay past 6 pm they incurred strict overages. Endless days were not productive days and my clients quickly learned to respect and appreciate that I work far more efficiently and was far more productive when those rules were adhered to.
Life was pretty good but those migraines never left me. I battled them for 20 excruciating years, pushing past the pain by focusing on work or my beautiful girls… But I could only do that for so long before the pain overwhelmed me. My health was degrading in other ways as well but the migraines are what I could not escape.
Except… when I was engaged in outdoor activities with my family. During those times I was mostly fine.
Hint: Physical exercise and sunshine are good for your health!
Cat scans, MRI’s, blood tests and all sorts of other labs were the norm. How grateful I am that my husband works for a health company and we have an exceptionally good health plan!
Fast forward again, this time to today — I’m forty nine years old and the healthiest I have ever been! I look forward to getting up in the morning and savoring every part of my day. And yes, for the most part I am now migraine free! As I venture into the lovely stage of life known as menopause, I now get a small migraine around the time of my menses but those migraines are nothing like the ones I use to suffer from.
I cannot tell you how amazing it was the first time I realized I was mostly migraine free!
I was having lunch with a dear friend who’d moved out of the country. He’d started as one of my clients and knew how much I suffered then. When he asked “how are your migraines going?” I froze… I could not remember the last time I’d had one! It was the most exhilarating feeling in the world!
Yes! I’d finally conquered my migraines!!!
Two major changes along with other smaller ones that were much easier once those big changes took place.
The first change — I gave up gluten. I never would have guessed how one small change like that could have such an impact on my health but it was monumental!
The second change — I changed my sleeping habits. For longer than I can remember I’d been a night owl. As a Chinese and Political Science major in college I had no time for sleep. As a young editor I’d often be cutting away into the wee hours of the morning. As a young mom, I’d finally get a little “me” time after the babies were in bed. The hours between 10 ad midnight were my favorites. They were mine!
Until I discovered the magic and infinite beauty of the early morning! The morning quiet is rich and invigorating! It fills me with a desire to live fully the day that lays ahead.
When I decided to insist on getting to bed by 10pm everything changed.
I made changes to my eating habits and had time and energy for exercise. I became more productive and yes, my health, physical and emotional, improved drastically!
I do not know a mom who does not deal with sleep deprivation but I assure you, if there is one things you must insist upon it is a good night’s sleep. A restful night is the foundation of good health! You cannot make healthy decisions if your mind is muddled and you are just “existing”, stumbling almost like a robot through your day. This is a topic I feel so passionate about I’ll be writing a lot more about it in the next few weeks.
Health is about habits. And when you are able to make those habits your own you reap the most glorious benefits.
Imagine this …
* No “sick” doctor visits this month >> You earn a $50 bonus
* No Medications purchased >> Another $50 bonus
* Annual health exam >> $100 annual bonus
* Annual mammogram or thermography >> $100 annual bonus
* Weekly exercise logged >> $25 monthly bonus
* Weekly healthy meal plan logged >> $25 monthly bonus
Wouldn’t this be an huge incentive to stay healthy?
While we may not be there yet, I am encouraged to see healthcare companies like United Healthcare focus more and more on preventative care.
Preventative care includes services such as routine check ups and special screenings to detect possible illnesses before they progress too far. They also include nutrition and fitness tips. Ways to minimize stress and maximize health.
If you have ever participated in their monthly dares at wedareyoutoshare.com you know that UHC has a library of articles and videos that offer all sorts of tips on staying healthy.
And of course you are invited to test your health knowledge for a chance to win on of three $400 Gift card when you play one of their dares. That’s a little bit like getting rewarded for staying healthy no?
So head on over to wedareyoutoshare.com and play along 🙂
This post is sponsored by United Healthcare. All opinions are my own.
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