There has been a lot of talk over the last few months about the changes many in government want to make to the way in which Americans receive healthcare (or don’t). Some scary numbers have been announced and it’s natural to worry about how you will keep yourself healthy if the current bill being debated ends up passing.
Here’s some good news: the best defense is a good offense. That means that by taking steps to improve your health now, you reduce your need for medical attention later. This is especially true for people who suffer from addiction, disabilities, and/or mental illnesses like depression, OCD, anxiety disorders, etc.
Quick Note: If you are someone suffering from addiction and whose insurance won’t cover treatment, please don’t panic. There are avenues for those going to rehab without insurance to keep the costs down. Many rehab facilities, for example, offer financing or grants for those whose incomes qualify them for aid. Others work on a sliding scale. Most importantly, do not put off getting the help you need.
For those whose situations are not dire or life-threatening, these are some of the steps you can take starting today that will prepare you for a future in which you may be forced to fend for yourself.
Change Up Your Diet
Those comfort foods we all know and love: the fried or fatty meals, the candy and junk foods, etc? You don’t have to cut them out completely, but you’ll definitely want to reduce your consumption by a lot. A good way to do this, instead of concentrating on what you can’t have (or shouldn’t have), is to focus on what you can and should have instead. For people who suffer from anxiety disorders, OCD, etc–a great way to do this is to create a meal plan to follow. This takes away any anxiety that may arise from trying to decide what to eat instead of the foods your disorder is trying to convince you that you “need.” Concentrate on natural and organic foods that you cook yourself (or opt into a meal service if you can afford it).
If you’re not sure how to meal plan, there are a lot of great resources for that online. And if you’re looking for a diet plan to follow, the DASH diet has proven to be the most effective and medically sound.
Start Moving Around
Mental health issues encourage sedentary lifestyles. You don’t have to become a marathon runner overnight or anything but you should concentrate on building strength and getting your heart pumping. If you’re out of shape it is okay and even good to start very slowly. Set a timer for five minutes and then make yourself keep moving for that duration. You don’t have to do anything huge or expensive. Dance around to some music, wander around your home or yard, straighten up–just keep moving for that time. Slowly increase your active time until you can go long stretches without needing to rest. You can also look for low-impact no-cost exercise routines that you can do to build up strength and stamina.
Movement is perhaps the best way to fight back against a mental health issue that is trying to get the better of you. The release of hormones that happens during movement acts as a mood and anxiety stabilizer, an energy infuser, and even a motivation builder. Heck, even just walking in place in front of the TV is better for you than lounging on the couch!
Hobbies–Preferably With Friends
Social interaction is a vital part of physical and mental health. We aren’t referring to sexual relationships–though when approached in a healthful way can be extremely beneficial–but to friendships and healthy family bonds. Getting together with friends on a regular basis to explore a hobby together will do so much to improve your quality of life. This has, believe it or not, been scientifically proven!
The point is this: instead of worrying about what-if, there are achievable steps and goals you can take starting right now to improve your health that don’t require insurance or a ton of money. Even something small can go a long way toward improving your life!