Recently, I called Bottom Line Health with a simple request. I asked if I could expand the focus of my blog beyond menopause, to discuss and unpack the many, many aspects of women’s lives that may be affected by menopause, but are not directly related to menopause. Women’s lives today are impossibly complicated, and I wanted to be able to speak to that. Fortunately for me (and I hope for you), they agreed.
I made this request, in part because of what was happening in my own life. This was three days after a terrorist attack in New York City…one day after my father’s business partner died…one week after my son passed out and ended up in the Emergency Room…and about three hours after I decided I was done talking about hormonal fluctuations.
It was also five hours before I spoke to a brilliant friend making documentaries about life-changing topics, four hours before I missed seeing my dear friend, author and inspiring speaker give a talk, and two hours after I saw a regular New Yorker helping an elderly woman across the street, reminding me of the human spirit and how truly kind the world can be.
In other words, it was a typical day. The world was spinning and I was on it, a working mother doing my best…a working doctor engaged in taking care of patients and trying to effect change in people’s lives…and a human being struggling to make sense of it all. Life was happening. And happening. And happening. And I realized that I had much more to say, beyond the impact of hormonal fluctuations.
In fact, I wanted to shout out. I felt compelled to do something more. Instead of shouting, I called Bottom Line Health. And so, we enter a new chapter—this blog is no longer simply about the menopausal dance. It is about the dance of life, and how to guide and lead rather than simply follow.
So where are we and what are we doing? As of today, I have been in practice over 15 years, working seven days a week while parenting an 11-year-old 5th grader. I have written two books, done hundreds of lectures, and nearly completed an application for a Ted talk. I am seeing 10 to 15 patients a day—yet, somehow in the past year, all that seems like just a drop in the bucket because the world is changing in massive and confusing ways, and nowhere more so than in the world of health care. So let’s talk about that.
Health care has changed in unfathomable ways since the days when my father and his associates were in private practice together. Today, doctors are subjected to pressures my father never knew. Patients are subjected to skyrocketing costs and health care largely dictated by insurance companies. And now, in the wake of changing laws that most of us don’t understand, we cannot be sure of what level of health-care opportunities and coverage any of us will have in the coming year. Will our deductibles be impossible to meet? Will our premiums be unaffordable? Will we be denied coverage? There are many unanswered questions right now.
I cannot predict the future, nor can I explain the coming changes because I don’t know what they will be. But I can tell you this: There is one thing you can do in the face of all this change, stress and unpredictability, in both health care and life itself. You can protect your own physical and mental health.
And you must. Staying healthy is no longer a luxury. It is a necessity. Wellness used to mean saunas and spas, baths and candles, but today, wellness is essential. Preserve it, or actively move towards it, because if you don’t have good health care in the future, then what you will definitely need in its place is good health.
- Eat well.
- Manage your stress.
- Make time for yourself.
- Make good decisions as an investment in your health future.
You may not be able to control your future health insurance premiums or access to affordable care, but you can control how you choose to live your life. The healthier you are, the less you will be subject to an unpredictable and sometimes frightening system. If you don’t need health care, you will experience freedom. And if you do, you will be in the best possible shape to get through any health crisis with strength and fortitude.
It’s not just our health-care future that is unpredictable. This is a time of stress for almost everyone. I see it all around me. I feel it, walking down the streets. People are on edge. They are worried. They are overwhelmed. Self-care is absolutely crucial right now, so please, please, as a gift to yourself and your family, make self care and wellness your priority for 2018. None of us know what is going to happen tomorrow, but as long as you stay grounded in your purpose and hold on to what is really important in this life, you will get through it.
Having spent my life trying to change lives by creating dialogues about stress, obesity, hypertension, cholesterol, blood pressure and heart disease, not to mention navigating the modern world as a woman, I am telling you that changing your focus and your perspective can change everything about your life. #Livefromtheheart by prioritizing health and vitality. Prevention is no longer a fun pastime. It is essential.
This coming year, get your blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugars, and body mass index checked. Ruthlessly evaluate your lifestyle choices such as alcohol consumption, smoking and sleep. Pay attention to the impact of stress on your life, your heart and your mind—and do something about it, to make it better and easier to manage.
The world will keep spinning, and we will still be on it. It takes the earth approximately 23 hours, 56 minutes, and 4 seconds to make a complete revolution. That’s one day. A whole planetary revolution just for you, to decide what you are going to do with your time, your life, your choices. Write them down. Live them. And live to see many years to come.