Integrative Health Advocacy: Form and Lead Your Own Wellness Team
Feb 03, 2017 01:33AM
By Debbie Morgan
What is missing in our current health care system that can inevitably affect the state of our health? It is personal accountability and integrative health advocacy. That means taking ownership for our health and healing by being empowered, educated and proactive. Advocating for our health involves responsibility, commitment, and the ability to develop an action plan to proactively pursue our wellness goals. Gone are the days of walking into the doctor’s office and expecting them to “fix” us. If we or a loved one are sick and tired of being sick and tired, we can change that. We are living in exciting times with more information, education, resources and modalities available to us. It is up to each of us as individuals to pursue optimal health by taking control and becoming our own health advocate.
Advocating for our health is one of the most important investments we can make in ourselves. We cannot assume anyone else has our best interests in mind because no one knows our mind, body or soul better than we do. We must be involved, we must advocate, and we must be the CEO of our health. This is a difficult and heartbreaking lesson for anyone who has lost a loved one. If we are personally navigating the health care system for ourselves or for a loved one, we become keenly aware of the need to be an advocate or seek the services of one.
We need to begin to think about health as we would think of a large purchase. Research options and look into what is working in relation to health concerns. Ask questions and get a second, third and/or fourth opinion. We need to see ourselves as a whole person, not just moving parts; we are more than a heart, a lung, or a feeling of pain or depression. We need to listen to the body and follow our intuition!
Give permission to take control of our health care. Approach the health and wellness journey from a place of calmness to allow clarity. Having a clear understanding of our current health allows us to begin to formulate an action plan. This clarity allows us to retain information when we are talking with prac-
titioners about our current health diagnosis, recommended treatment plans and options. It allows us to better understand our current health and begin to focus on changes we are planning to make.
Creating a wellness team is key. We must decide who it is we want to work with on our healing journey. The team should be integrated, consisting of holistic and conventional practitioners who support our wellness goals. While pursuing healing, we will want to work with practitioners who will assist us in getting to the root cause of our ailment, illness or concern for improved health.
Begin to integrate the approach to wellness. What does this mean? Integrative health is taking the best of conventional medicine and the best of holistic medicine and modalities to receive the best optimal health benefit. Research all available options. Keep in mind that true healing is getting to the root cause, not trying to resolve symptoms that have occurred as a result of the primary cause of our “dis-ease”.
Ask questions, be confident and seek answers. Always ask for copies of records to be sent by mail, digitally or in person after a doctor’s appointment, testing, imaging or lab work. Get them, read them and understand them. Keep them organized and readily available for personal reference or a medical practitioner’s questions.
What can we do today to improve our health?
Nutrition: Fuel the body to run effectively. Are we eating well? Make the next thing we put in our mouths a healthy choice that will provide vitamins, minerals and healthy nutrition.
Exercise: Do what is enjoyable, and what fits schedule and lifestyle. Most importantly, do what feels good. Exercise with others, use music, take the dog for a vigorous walk or play with the kids. Just move!
Stress reduction: We live in a fast-paced world with many expectations and responsibilities. Yoga, meditation and walking in nature are great. So is listening to favorite music in a relaxed setting.
Compartmentalize and prioritize: We need to give ourselves permission
to be human and unplug from the chaos around us.
Play: Have fun and do what makes us feel good. Enjoy and recharge.
Sleep: Make sleep a priority; our bodies and minds need this time to function properly. While we are resting, our bodies are still working to keep us going strong. We need sleep to heal.
Stop smoking: This is a no-brainer. With every inhale, we damage our cells.
Alcohol and caffeine: Eliminate both if possible. If elimination is not doable immediately, begin to reduce intake.
Forgive: We need to forgive ourselves and others.
Times of illness and disease can be overwhelming and terrifying. Integrative health advocacy is a must. Working with an advocate to assist us in navigating our wellness journey can bring the clarity, empowerment, education and assistance needed to take control and develop our health and wellness action plan. It’s time for each of us to become the leader of our own wellness team.
Debbie Morgan, MA, CiPP, is the owner of Integrative Health & Advocacy, LLC. Its mission is to support, educate and empower people to take control of their health and happiness. Connect with her at IntegrativeHealthAdvocacy.com and [email protected].