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Staying Healthy to Mitigate Medical Intervention
It’s always important to stay healthy, and never has that been more important than now. On top of the physician shortage that is expected to come in the coming years, healthcare workers are already short-staffed thanks to numerous factors, including the impact of the pandemic. Because of this, gaining an appointment with a physician will prove more than challenging.
Other than going to the doctor for serious medical problems, it may be best to find ways to avoid going too often, especially if you want to avoid over-burdening a burnout healthcare field. When it comes to recovery, however, one of the best ways to avoid medical intervention is consistent steps that keep you healthy and spiritually sound.
The Coming Physician Shortage
By 2032, it’s estimated that nearly 122,000 physicians will leave the medical field. If you’ve already experienced long wait times to get into a doctor’s visit, you may not be surprised to hear this news. What is surprising, however, is that these wait times will continue to worsen due to the following reasons:
- The population of people over 65 will grow the fastest over the next 20 years. They have the greatest need for medical care and services.
- Nearly a third of current doctors are approaching retirement age. Those numbers will be difficult to replace.
- Chronic disease is on the rise. Some of these diseases, such as diabetes, can be attributed to obesity rates that are expected to rise an additional 50% within two decades.
As doctors and others in the medical field cope with these complications, it’s best to find ways to cope yourself, especially if you’re on the road to recovery. Fortunately, this can be fairly easy if you prioritize preventative care.
How To Protect Your Health
Preventative care essentially entails taking care of all facets of your health, including your mental and physical health. When it comes to recovery, preventative care can also help you on your journey to staying mentally and spiritually intact. Although healthy habits can be hard to instill at first, they’re fairly simple in principle and are proven to benefit you in the long run, especially if you’re trying to mitigate further medical intervention.
1. Clean Out Your Diet
One of the biggest contributing factors to your health is your diet. Processed foods, saturated fats, sugar, artificial flavors, and dyes can lead to obesity, type 2 diabetes, and even cancer. Although it’s important to reduce your consumption of unhealthy foods, restrictive diets aren’t the answer either since they rarely point towards a healthy and sustainable change in your nutrition.
Instead, change your everyday eating habits step by step. Add in foods like fresh produce, lean proteins, and whole foods. You can also make better food substitutions. For example, replace sugary soda with flavored club soda.
2. Stay Active
Eating right is just part of the equation to becoming healthy. Regular exercise with a mix of high- and low-impact activities is often recommended 3 to 5 times a week for adults.
Be sure that you are choosing appropriate exercises for your weight and current activity level. Walking or swimming are good ways to start for most people.
Last year we saw that a disease could trigger lockdown measures. If this happens again, plan to stay active at home. Be sure to have regular physical activities you can do there, such as working out, yoga, or even cleaning and gardening.
3. Hydrate Well
Drink enough fluids to stay healthy. Dehydration can cause numerous health problems, including migraines, constipation, and weight gain. It can even impact your cognitive abilities.
For adults, signs of dehydration include:
- Fatigue and dizziness
- Extreme thirst
- Less urination
When choosing liquids to drink, choose water or drinks low in sugar, caffeine, and other additives. Those liquids can also help you process the junk foods in your body.
Finally, be sure not to drink too much water. Finding the right balance is the key to hydration safety.
4. Create Stress-Reducing Routines
On top of taking care of your physical health, it’s also important to prioritize your mental health. Everybody has stress in their life, yet few people plan to manage it. Some people may only take steps to address stress when they’re at their breaking point which can be unsustainable if you’re looking out for your long-term health and recovery.
Some stress-reducing actions you can take include:
- Daily prayer or meditation time
- Listening to relaxing music
- Deep breathing exercises
- Keeping a daily gratitude journal
5. A Good Night’s Sleep
Experts say that adults need at least 7 hours of solid sleep per night. What they don’t always mention is that a good night’s sleep requires a bit of planning.
Create a bedtime routine to help your body sleep:
- Avoid eating and drinking, especially sugary, spicy, or caffeinated products that can keep you up.
- Stay off your devices or use a blue light filter. Light from your smartphone and computer can disrupt your sleep.
- Don’t watch, read, or listen to disturbing or action-packed stories that can get your heart racing.
Finally, you should make sure that your sleep environment is both dark and quiet. If you work at night and sleep in the daytime, you might consider getting room-darkening shades. For those who wake up frequently, you might want to get a white noise machine to stay asleep.
6. Stay Motivated
Recovery from addiction and mental health challenges requires motivation to stick to your treatment plan.
One of the best ways to stay motivated is to find your “why.” Who or what in your life brings out the best in you? That can be loved ones, like your kids or your best friend. You can also find your “why” within a personal goal like finding a job or career that makes you feel purposeful and rewarded.
Motivation can also come from within, such as personal pride in getting through a difficult day. To feel the full effects of internal motivation, list your motivations and be sure to remind yourself of them daily.
What To Do When You Need Healthcare
All these steps can improve your physical and mental health. However, they are not a guarantee you will not need acute care at some point. If you do, you should get help from a medical professional.
For example, addiction to substances such as nicotine or alcohol can also develop into gastrointestinal illnesses like GERD. If lifestyle changes are not helping, you may need medical therapies to deal with this problem. While some of these are available over the counter, others require a prescription and a visit to the doctor.
Thanks to the pandemic measures, many physicians are now offering telehealth services. They see their patients via video conferencing to keep everyone safe. Seeing a professional who understands your struggles via teleconference will help you to avoid dependence on these medications.
Pandemic lockdowns in 2020 saw a rise in the need for telemental health support. That’s why today, many mental health and recovery support professionals are also available online. These remote services work very well alongside your existing treatment plan for additional support.
Staying healthy can mitigate your need for medical intervention while supporting your journey to recovery. Take these steps to protect your health but be sure to engage in additional health services and support when you need them. When you do need help, look for telehealth options to stay safe.