That whole “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” maxim? It’s actually true.
I feel like I can say that with some authority because it has repeatedly proven itself true in my own life. Without getting into too much boring medical detail, practicing yoga just two to three times a week (and sometimes not that much, if I’m being totally honest) brought my blood pressure from borderline high to marathoner low. Like, Chanel-pumps-for-$10 low. It also helped wean me off medication that had nasty side effects—and entirely cleared up the problem I was taking the pills for in the first place. Oh, and that running monologue I had in my head—the one that screamed loudly those days I had a lot to do and I couldn’t possibly do it all—well, that’s calmed to a dull roar.
A few years ago, I had a minor surgery and then tonsillitis three times in a row. I was sick for the first six months (six months!) that I dated my now-husband. Now, the only doctor’s appointments I go to are to check up on the baby (due any day now!).
But, and this is important: I do not have it all figured out yet. Not by a long shot. Balance? Ha! Relaxation? Riiiight. A Zen-like attitude? Hardly. And I usually come about my wellness discoveries after I’ve been miserable for a while. Forehead slap.
Take last May, when I was stricken with morning sickness. Like, can’t-get-off-the-couch, can-only-eat-Saltines, praying-to-die nausea. I figured, “Well, this is what happens when you have a baby.” And then, at about 14 weeks along, a well-meaning soul said to me, clucking her tongue, “Wow, and you’re not better yet?” Cue the running monologue, elevated blood pressure, and insta-stomachache. No, I’m not better. Should I be? Is something wrong? Is this ever going to END? I remembered a LivingSocial acupuncture deal waiting for me. I frantically called the clinic that afternoon and cried to the soothing ladyvoice on the other end of the line. She fit me in that afternoon.
Needles went in, I fell asleep. After waking, I went home and ate a pork chop. And mashed potatoes. Quite an upgrade from Saltines and Laffy Taffy. The next day I got ready for work like this morning-sickness business had never happened. I had a few more treatments after that, and left them all wishing I’d thought of it earlier.
That’s the deal with wellness. Instead of getting to the panicked point of no return, you have to be proactive. And that’s hard, especially in a culture where we tend to wait until it’s so bad we can’t get out of bed, or a few symptoms have turned into a full-blown disease. We have a hard time ponying up cash for massage, acupuncture, or gym memberships when maybe the investment doesn’t seem necessary or sound—or budgets are extra tight.
I may have finally learned my lesson. I’ve been proactive since the morning sickness ordeal, and hired a doula team to help me get through labor, delivery, and those first rocky days back home. Just hiring Amber Kay and Nicole Stecker (you can read about them at birthnerd.com and RockYourBirth.net or find them at Blooma) made me feel empowered to make the best healthcare decisions and opened my eyes to a wide range of holistic options.
That “invisible” investment pays back in dividends: increased energy, less stress (which means less disease), better sleep, a better attitude. Every year I recommit to taking care of myself (and now, another being). It’s my hope that this month’s section and the feature “Wellness Survival Guide” will give you the tips and tools you need to get started on getting well—soon.