There are two conflicting messages about how to live life ‘well’. One states that we should live every day as if it is our last, trying new things, making once-in-a-lifetime memories, and taking risks (whether that means going skydiving or having an extra slice of chocolate cake on a lazy day).
The other advises that we live each day intentionally, focusing on bettering ourselves and creating a lifestyle that follows the rules of greater health and vitality (drinking eight glasses of water a day, exercising regularly, and eating consciously) so that we can live longer.
The reality of everyday wellbeing includes a balance between the two. Listening to your body and treating yourself with kindness, but also focusing on holistic wellness – mental, physical, emotional, spiritual, vocational, and relational. The best way to do this is by investigating and enacting personalised, preventative health practices.
Personalised healthcare recognises that each of us has a unique body, mind, and experience of life. We have very specific needs, which require us to go on our own bespoke health journeys.
This approach dismantles the one-size-fits-all model of the Western medicine ideology (viewing health as linear, static, and generalisable), and instead considers a whole range of factors to diagnose and treat patients. These include genetics, environment, lifestyle, predispositions to illness, and reactions to medicine.
What’s more, personalised preventative medicine focuses on protecting and promoting wellness before a decline in health. Instead of treating something reactively, this philosophy promotes proactivity. As Benjamin Franklin once said…
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."
The benefits of this approach are manifold:
- We are able to make informed decisions about our health.
- We are more likely to follow health advice when we feel more knowledgeable and in control.
- Maintaining can be more affordable than addressing illness.
- There is a reduction in trial and error, as individuals come to know their health precursors and act accordingly.
There are multiple ways that you can pursue personalised prevention and begin to enjoy the benefits of living life well…
- Learn about yourself
There are a number of tests or screenings that your doctor can conduct to help you create a personalised health routine. These include things like DNA testing; checking for food allergies and intolerances; and even personality profiling, among (many) others.
- Be mindful of what you eat
We all know that our diets impact our health, and that properly nourishing our bodies can lower our risk of certain diseases, including heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and osteoporosis. Try to avoid over-processed, chemical-laden foods, and eat fresh and whole meals that are filled with fibre and antioxidants.
- Get physical
Exercise has been proven to improve overall physical wellbeing, ward off cognitive decline, boost immunity, and increase quality sleep and mood. Try to find a space outside on a sunny day to take your physical activity to a new level.
- Count sheep, not calories
Try to create and protect a regular bedtime schedule. You could enlist the help of a number of different devices to help you track your sleep and investigate insomnia triggers. Sleep hygiene is an integral part of regulating your body clock and improving your overall wellbeing.
- Activate zen mode
Our modern lives can be overwhelming, and stress can mount and lead to a number of health issues. Carve out time in your busy schedule to breathe, listen, assimilate, and centre yourself by introducing things like meditation, yoga, Tai Chi, and mindful creativity into your lifestyle..
- Remove toxins
Try to refrain from tobacco and excessive amounts of alcohol. The intake of these substances can lead to significant health issues, and cutting them out of your life before they impact your wellbeing can prevent the onset of chronic illness.
- Ward off the nasties
As we have learned from the Covid-19 pandemic, it is so important to wash up and be conscious of germs. Wash your hands frequently, and consider keeping some trusty sanitiser on you at all times.
- Protect your skin from the sun
Here comes the sun, doo-doo-doo-doo… Here comes the sun, and I say, it’s alright… If you are wearing sunblock, that is. Although the sun's rays are a blessing to keep us warm and light up our days, it’s important to remember to lather up and reapply as soon as the protection wears off to prevent the onset of certain illnesses.
Don’t be afraid to take an honest inventory of where your current lifestyle is leading you on your health journey. It’s never too early or too late to start becoming the most vibrant version of yourself!