You’ve heard the adage, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” It’s true! This year commit to carving out “me” time—a proactive step toward personal health and wellbeing; a holistic approach that encompasses the whole person—body, mind, and spirit. To ignore any aspect of your essence is to deprive yourself of heath. This comprehensive approach emphasizes cooperation with the body’s innate ability to heal itself.

As humans, we are multidimensional. We operate from physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual dimensions simultaneously. For whole health to occur, we must learn how all these aspects interact and affect our overall health. Healing comes from within. But it can be initiated from an outside source. Many conventional doctors approach health from an integrated point of view; osteopathic physicians (DO) and naturopathic physicians (ND) are two examples.

The Mayo Clinic tells us, “Complementary medicine has never been more popular. Nearly thirty percent of adults report using complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). Conventional doctors are embracing CAM therapies, too, often combining them with mainstream medical therapies—spawning the term ‘integrative medicine.’”

One of the roles of an integrative physician is to help discover the root cause of health concerns to assist the body back to its natural state of homeostasis—the ideal balance between all major parts of our being. Their approach to wellbeing incorporates the use of conventional, natural, and complementary modalities to assist us in achieving our personal health goals.

Health and healthcare are matters of vital concern to most people. Not surprising, the health of our families and our communities affects virtually every aspect of our life—personal, social, and economic included. Good health throughout life and the availability of healthcare that is safe, reliable, and affordable is an aspiration that cuts across all economic, political, academic, ideological, race, age, and gender demographics.

It’s often said that the United States has the best healthcare in the world. We have a much to be proud of in a country where millions of professionals have dedicated their lives to bettering the health of others. We have thousands of facilities and a determined spirit of improvement in the private sector, and our colleges and universities continually bring us new ways to help and heal.

As we’ve progressed as a nation, we’ve found ways to ensure that millions of people have access to medical care through the workplace or government-sponsored programs. As a bighearted people, we have established charities and countless organizations dedicated to health and healthcare causes. And for much of our history, the American spirit has been perceived by the rest of the world as that of a people of benevolence and unfaltering strength and endurance.

But as we look to the future, we see a dimmer picture. Our nation faces overwhelming challenges in health and healthcare. As a people, we are living longer, but the health of individuals—regardless of age—isn’t improving. In fact, it’s deteriorating. The health and productivity of our communities are being drained by chronic illnesses such as high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, Alzheimer’s Disease and other Dementias, arthritis, asthma, cancer, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), and Cystic Fibrosis.

Today, tens of millions of people who live in the United States have no health insurance from any source. Those who do have insurance find the price tag soaring beyond their means and the cost of the care itself is climbing at an unsustainable rate, straining government, business, and family budgets beyond the breaking point.

What can we do? It starts with proactive self-care; with taking personal responsibility and preventive measures so that we don’t find ourselves in need of preventable medical intervention. The most basic foundation of a healthy lifestyle is planting your stake in the ground and determining to ingest things that are for your highest and best good. In other words, things that are positive, uplifting, constructive, and healing. Hippocrates said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”

It’s important to note that ingestion isn’t only the intake of foods and beverages that we put in our mouth to fuel our bodies. It includes what we put in our eyes—what we consume on television, on our computers and laptops, and what we read digitally or physically. It includes what we put in our ears—what we listen to on the radio, gossip in school or the workplace. A decision for a self-care lifestyle isn’t short-term. It doesn’t have an end date like a diet. Instead, it’s a lifelong commitment.

In addition to what we ingest, some of the other basics include a consistent exercise routine that encompasses the whole person such as tai chi, qigong, or yoga. Ample sleep; plenty of fresh water; breathwork, and time set aside daily for the specific purpose of going inward—meditation or prayer—is vital. And treatments on a regular basis from health practitioners to prevent illness and maintain good health. Modalities might include reflexology, acupuncture, therapeutic massage, aromatherapy, reiki, or cranial sacral therapy.

Self-care, it begins with you.

Laurie Buchanan, Ph.D.
Board Certified by the American Association of Drugless Practitioners, Laurie Buchanan, Ph.D., is a holistic health practitioner, transformational life coach, and author of Note to Self: A Seven-Step Path to Gratitude and Growth. Her next book, The Business of Being: Soul Purpose In and Out of the Workplace is due out in July 2018. Learn more at TuesdaysWithLaurie.com.