By Dr. Jamie Huysman, LCSW
While more and more men and boys have embraced caregiving, childcare, and other roles traditionally left to women, we still have a way to go. Most of us are still very stubborn when it comes to taking care of our health and wellness. That’s why, along with Father’s Day, June is also Men’s Health Month.
Health is a commodity that we often take for granted until we have no choice but to pay attention! Despite a great many of us still haven’t gotten it into our hard heads that self-care is not a weakness; it’s a strength. And it’s important.
If truth be told, it’s important for the same reasons that older adult men DON’T take their own health and wellness seriously. “I have a family that depends on me,” “I don’t have time for that,” “I’ll do it next year,” “Nah, I’m fine, it’s just a little pain,” and a myriad of other excuses.
Even adopting a ‘healthy lifestyle’ is no guarantee that you will remain or truly be in good health. Self-care requires that we have regular check-ups and tests to determine functionality before problems arise.
An ounce of prevention IS worth more than a pound of cure these days. With our current, mainstream, medical culture based on curing disease and not the prevention of it, we need to advocate for our health to make it work for us. Medicine is evolving but not quickly enough to meet the needs of our aging population.
The integration of previously designated ‘alternative’ practices, such as acupuncture, massage therapy, and even mindfulness has been a huge step forward. However, being and staying healthy is up to us, and requires that we make time to utilize any and all preventative opportunities available.
Stress-reduction is crucial to our overall wellness. Stress is known to produce an overwhelm of chemicals and reactions in our brains that can manifest as serious physical issues over time.
Making time for ourselves, our families, our friends, and other things that make our lives worth living should be enjoyed whenever possible. There is truth in the adage that “All work and no play, makes Jack a dull boy.” The real truth is that it can also make him a very sick one!
Get a yearly check-up with a doctor you can speak plainly to that will listen and give you choices. For your sake and that of those who depend on you, take time to laugh, to love, and to live your best life.
Dr. Jamie is a popular keynote speaker, media expert, and author. He co-authored the acclaimed “Take Your Oxygen First: Protecting Your Health & Happiness While Caring for a Loved One with Memory Loss.” Dr. Huysman writes for Caregiver SOS, Connections, JoanLunden.com, Huddol.com, and blogs on PsychologyToday.com.
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