How often have you put off scheduling a doctor appointment or preventive test because you’re just too busy? Do you keep up your exercise routine when you’ve got a big project and key deadline looming? Do you have someone who helps keep you honest on these basic “taking care of yourself” things?
Have to admit I’m not the best, but I am turning it around. Learned many years ago I’m the only one who can take care of me. No one is going to come into my office and say go home, you’re working too hard.
I have a gym membership and dogs that need to be walked. And it’s gorgeous here in Ann Arbor these days, so I love being outside.
But I’ve also learned that I do best at taking care of myself when I’ve got people who keep me honest. Some ideas from my recent experience:
Have you considered social media options? I’m in a Facebook private group of about 15 women. A former colleague started it last July 1st. She invited any Facebook friends of hers to join. It was simple — you just had to commit to the goal of being active at least 30 minutes a day and post about what you did. Over the past year, I’ve seen some of my other Facebook friends post about their exercise goals and progress as well as their struggles to maintain workout schedules. If they thought friendly support would be useful, I’ve invited them into our virtual workout group. Together we are a healthier and fitter group of women than we were a year ago. Now that’s a social media success story!
Does your employer offer a wellness program? I’m fortunate to work for an organization that values health. The MHealthy program was established by President Coleman in 2005 to encourage a culture of health at the University of Michigan. We were recognized with the 2014 U.S. Healthiest 100 Workplaces Award this year. The MHealthy program aims to:
- Promote the health and well-being of the University of Michigan community
- Develop more cost-effective delivery of health care as a model for other institutions
- Advance public discussion and social commitment to change by harnessing the intellectual capacity of the University to develop, test and study efforts to improve the wellness of our employees, dependents, and retirees.
You can learn more about MHealthy here.
So with such a great program available, how am I doing? In 2013 I participated on my own in one of the 12 week ActiveU sessions but didn’t keep it up. This year I organized a team and hit or exceeded my workout goal every week. It was fun to be competitive with the other teams and encourage my team members. For several of the 12 weeks, our team was in first place or close to it in the Big Ten Division that had over 130 teams. Not bad!
What about wearable sensors? They are great for the “quantified self” — able to track progress all day long. After a few months wearing the FitBit wristband I got an allergic reaction so switched to the FitBit One. While it doesn’t always record active minutes as I think it should, I know when I’ve gotten a serious 30 minutes or more in plus I’m working on the 10,000 steps a day goal which it tracks well.
Do you let your workout regimen slide when you’ve got a big project, or you’re doing business travel and living out of hotels? Happy to say that on my recent business trips, I hit my daily goals consistently. And during our recent MiChart inpatient go-live, where I spent many days in and near the command center, I still found ways to hit my daily goals. It takes a conscious effort.
What about those doctor appointments and preventive tests which are so easy to put off when we’re too busy to even pick up the phone and schedule them? When I saw my sister at my daughter’s wedding a few months ago, she reminded me of my family history and got on my case about getting a long overdue mammogram. I was on the phone getting it scheduled the next day. Embarrassed to say that’s what it took, but it did.
Summer is a perfect time to renew your good health habits — work usually slows down so there’s time to get those overdue tests scheduled. And there is plenty of sunshine and blue sky to be running, biking, or walking under. Just get moving as they say. Here’s to our health!