DON’T IGNORE THE LITTLE THINGS
- KEEPING AN EYE ON YOUR HEALTH -

When it comes to our health, most of us are on the lookout for big things.

We often worry about high profile diseases and while we definitely encourage everyone to keep an eye out for serious symptoms, we also need to watch out for the little things.

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Because sadly, it doesn’t take much for a little thing to become a big thing. And although we’re fortunate to know more about how our bodies and minds work than ever before, and have access to the best advice on staying well, the fact remains that many of us take our health for granted.

Admittedly this has changed in recent months, and one positive to come out of the pandemic is that on the whole we are more aware of little steps, such as hygiene, that we can take to care for our health.

However, it’s also true that as life continues to throw curveballs at us, odds are our health will begin to take a backseat again. Seemingly bigger worries, such as our jobs, seeing our families, and generally living our lives frequently eclipse our health.

We should say that there is absolutely nothing wrong with focusing on your job, doing chores, seeing family, or anything else you might be doing. In fact, most of these things are essential to our wellbeing, and definitely need to be part of our lives. The trouble arises when we get so caught up in these things that we don’t have time to attend to our health.

As a result of all the pressures placed on us, it’s easy to miss or dismiss little niggles about your health. You put the aching shoulder down to using a computer all day, or the gurgly tummy down to something you had for lunch and carry on with your day. But these little niggles are signs that your body needs attention, and if we ignore the little things we risk them becoming big things, and the bigger they get the harder they are to address.

STRIKING THE BALANCE

The key, as with anything, is getting the balance right. However, achieving the right balance is only possible if you have time to check in with yourself. You are the person who knows your body best, so ultimately it’s up to you to keep an eye on your health and keep that balance. 

We know it’s not as easy as it sounds. Most of us are being pulled in a hundred different directions at any one time, so finding even a minute in a day to stop and check in with yourself can feel impossible. But it is important, and it’s certainly worth doing, and not just to keep yourself healthy and well; although that’s obviously important, it’s also worth remembering that our health affects others. 

The obvious example is if someone falls ill with a cold, they might pass that along to someone else, and cause them to fall ill. However, there are other ways our health (or lack of) can impact others; if you’re a parent, manager, or leader your behaviour might set a bad example for others. We all have relatives who refuse to visit the doctor, even when they really need to, and that behaviour can lead to others adopting the same attitude. 

Another way your health can impact others is if you fall ill and they have to care for you. In many cases there is little you can do to prevent falling ill with serious conditions. In this instance our health is largely outside our control. And it’s likely that your loved ones will have no issues with offering care if you do suffer from a serious health emergency. However, there are things we can do to limit the risk of minor illnesses, and prevent ourselves having to rely on others. Caring for our health also means that we can be there for others when they need us.

GETTING INTO THE HABIT

When it comes to health the old adage that ‘prevention is better than a cure’ is absolutely true. The best way to care for our health is to take action before major problems arise. As we mentioned above, some health issues simply cannot be predicted or prevented. However, that doesn’t mean that steps can’t be taken to limit the risk, and increase the chances of sustaining good overall health. 

The key is getting into good habits. Daily habits are the backbone of good health. These can be very small things like stretching every day, getting enough sleep, eating balanced meals, drinking enough water. There are also less frequent actions that will help, such as getting regular check-ups, attending routine screening appointments, visiting relevant specialists on a regular basis to maintain your physical health. 

The other important thing to remember is that health is not the same for everybody. What your body and mind need will not be the same as your best friend, your mum, or that fitness specialist on the internet. This is why it is so important to regularly check in with yourself – every day just take a minute to explore how your body feels, and what’s going on in your mind. If something doesn’t feel right take that as a sign to make an adjustment.

The important thing is knowing when something is small and can be dealt with yourself, and when you really do need professional support. Sometimes you won’t know for sure, in which case it’s best to check with a professional.

But overall, the more you get to know yourself, your body and your mind, and the more attention you pay to the little things, the easier it will become to maintain your health no matter what life throws at you.

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