Am I biased? Absolutely. I’m a co-creator of this site. But, at the very least, my bias is one that serves both you and those around you; after all, how can you take responsibility for another individual’s wellbeing when you are unable to do the same for yourself? And you should be doing what’s good for yourself—it’s your life! For all we know, the one and only!
Egregious use of exclamation points aside, I think you agree with what I’m saying: that health is good, and that you deserve to be healthy. The concept is simple, but so hard to achieve. Why is it so hard? After all, the message is out there —eat less fat, more vegetables, exercise 30 minutes a day, etc. The public health folks have done such a good job in that regard that even the amoeba in this country know what to do to maintain good health. And yet, there’s the obesity epidemic, diabetes is on the loose, the constant complaints of the “blah’s”… hmmm… maybe the message, e.g. the what, is not enough. So how about the how? As in… how can I be healthy? How can I incorporate more vegetables into my diet when I’m too tired to shop for groceries post-call? How am I supposed to exercise when my med school loans are mutually exclusive with a gym membership…and I’m tired post-call? In sum, how can I make changes to my life that make me a healthier person? The answer to these questions is: there is no one answer. That’s the kicker. You have to learn how to apply the what, in a way that works for you.
It’s a lifetime adventure, my friends. But I’m hard-pressed to think of any one more important. You need your health to be a happy, productive you, let-alone do what you signed up to do… help others with their health. And in this vain comes the good news: flowing from your daily pursuit of the how will come an increased understanding of your patients’ how—because at the end of the day, your patients are just fellow human beings doing their best to stay healthy & happy, too. So no more pat advice—practice what you preach and your ability to guide others toward health will arise from a whole new level.
And, oh yeah, you’ll be healthy, too.
I hope I’ve convinced you to join the ride. It’s not an easy one, but those things that are most important never are. (Pause for moment of reflection). So please read some “Staying Healthy on the Wards” blogs, and respond with some comments & blogs of your own— what seems like common-sense advice to you might help a fellow student or resident you’ve never met, but who is sharing your journey. We’re in this together, and we can solve this together. That’s pretty cool & pretty great, in my book. And remember, the medical system, at the end of the day, is only as great as we are.
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