Health care is a right we all have and can exercise at any point we choose. It’s a lifelong practice that can move and shift with whatever we’re going through. It’s ultimately in our hands, and it hinges on how we treat these bodies we’re born with that are inherently intelligent enough to seek out health.
Yet these days, the words “health care” call to mind a system, a medical authority, and a place we wrap our concerns in heavily for the future of our well being. The word ‘care’ starts suggesting that we don’t know how to engage in this action ourselves without outside intervention. The word ‘health’ takes on the reputation of being scary, regimented, and outside our control. Put together, what could be a couple of words that are empowering toward a vital and self-supportive life become instead a possession of society and mainstream medicine.
Do you feel like it’s time to reclaim these words for ourselves? Health care isn’t just an institution we go to, or legislation that we and politicians endlessly vote on and argue over. It happens, or doesn’t happen at home, from the moment we open our eyes to wake up each morning.
Personal health care has also become focused on a boot camp-style practice of eating and exercising perfectly, constantly swayed by advice from fitness gurus and gluten-free recipe blogs. Not everyone relates to this way of getting healthy, but it’s all the rage in bestselling books and among celebrity fitness experts. Slowly, the idea of health care can get crowded out of people’s lives by what society and mainstream opinion defines as health.
Health, simply put, is treating yourself well and being there for yourself—no matter what you go through. Unlike society’s message to just paste a smile on it, even when you’re feeling anything but happy, true health care is about allowing other reactions and emotions to exist when they come up. It’s about letting yourself be who you are no matter who’s around. And it isn’t fueled by guilt, fear, or the drive for perfection.
When you open your ears to the health advice being given out there in a casual and nonchalant manner, underneath the matter of fact tone you may find a message that is demeaning. It is one that points out your supposed deficiencies and demands of you perfection and perpetually high and unmet expectations. Is that real health care?
If the words “health care” are too loaded for you, just remember this simple phrase for better health: Less is more. We are constantly told to do and be more more more, when we can use our innate potential for health by keeping it low key, relaxed, and easy.
Most of all, health is a skill you already have. So you can reclaim health care for yourself. It belongs to the individual who wants to live his or her own life. It’s something you deserve and can take ownership of.