12 Sep 2013

The One Asset You Must Add to Your Investment Portfolio (Starting Today)

As women in midlife, we all know that we should be paying attention to our financial future. Hopefully, if we’ve invested wisely, we’ll all be able to retire from our day jobs to pursue the dreams on our bucket lists!

But there’s one asset that’s often overlooked when it comes to investing.

Health.

Think about this. How many of us look at our health as part of our investment portfolio? How many of us actually invest in our health beyond what our insurance will cover? What would it be like to have all the money in the world, but have poor health? How would your dreams change?

Creating a wealth of wellness actually requires few tools. Most of it takes an investment of your energy or time…that’s it. But it’s interesting to notice when I work with clients, the one thing they can’t or aren’t willing to find is time…it’s the number one excuse (cuz that’s what it is) that I hear when my clients say they want change but won’t put themselves on their own to-do list.

Dr. Anna’s 7 P’s of Creating a Wealth of Wellness

Creating a wealth of wellness begins with baby steps. These are simple changes you can make to begin creating what you want for your health. Starting from a place of creativity is WAAYYYY better than starting from a place of reactivity (e.g. after you’ve gotten a diagnosis you’d rather not have)! Right?

1.            Purpose: Know Your Why

In my opinion, this is the most important step. Before you begin to create a plan, you have to know why you’re doing what you’re doing…otherwise you’re spinning aimlessly.

What’s your big WHY for changing health habits and setting goals? (Note to self: getting into a size 6 should not be your goal….because once you get there, there’s no motivation to continue. Same with getting to a number on the scale)

If weight is your goal, WHY do you want to be at a certain weight? To feel healthy? To be able to play with your grandkids? To go ziplining? To be able to get out of a chair when you’re 80? To stay out of the nursing home?

Really spend some time with this one, so you’re VERY clear on what you’re wanting for yourself.

2.            Prioritize: Put Yourself on Your To-Do List

Where are you on your to-do list? In order to move toward a healthier lifestyle, your health should be one of your top 3 priorities. If not, you could end up living in a very bad neighborhood (your body) and your long-term goals could suffer greatly. Don’t take your health for granted. Give yourself the gift of a conscious commitment to creating the healthiest you possible!

3.            Plan: Create Systems and Habits to Support You

The key to implementing healthy strategies requires balance and in order to have balance, you need routine. Creating a routine requires planning. Many people struggle with creating and maintaining structure in their daily lives because they’re frequently pulled in many directions or they may have the luxury of not having to have a routine.

We all know that infants and young children thrive on routine and structure. Why not apply this principle to ourselves? Here are several great places to start:

•             Make space for the changes you want to make!

•             Get up and go to bed at the same time every day (even weekends). Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep. This allows your body to repair itself and keeps WEIGHT GAIN away!

•             Eat on a regular schedule. Your body was not designed to eat at random times during the day. Going too long without a meal or snack causes it to think it’s going into starvation mode (thus releasing cortisol). Eating at scheduled times goes a long way toward keeping your cortisol levels in check and preventing blood sugar swings. Set a timer if you need to remind yourself to do this.

•             Schedule exercise time just as you would any meeting. Plan what you are going to do and for how long. Vary your workouts so your body doesn’t get used to one routine. Hire a personal trainer to keep you accountable or if the cost is prohibitive, hire one for a few sessions to help you design a workout you can do at home.

•             Take frequent breaks from work. Studies have shown that sitting all day actually takes years off your life! Set a timer for 55 minutes while you are working. When the alarm goes off, get up, walk around, drink water and rest for 5 minutes.

•             Take an hour one day a week to sit down and take a 360° look at the coming week. Notice where you are overcommitted or need help to get things done. Delegate to your spouse if you can. Say no if you need to.  Having a clear picture of what’s coming your way saves you tremendous amounts of stress and wasted mental energy. Make this a practice. It pays off BIG!

4.            Pause: Clean Up Your Stress Mess

Everyone has stress. But for some people, it is chronic and persistent. This situation is like having a gang of thugs hanging out on the corner in your neighborhood. Cortisol is the ringleader of the rogue band of bad-girls and plays havoc with your sleep, your weight and causes long-term damage to every organ system in your body. It’s not a pretty sight.

People become susceptible to chronic persistent stress when they fail to establish clear boundaries around the demands of their lives. Set boundaries for yourself and those around you. Learn when to say ‘no’ to the demands and requests of others. Live by the mantra “if it’s not an absolute yes, it’s a no.”

5.            Prevent: Create a Health Maintenance Plan

Your car needs regular maintenance…and so do you.

It’s easy to forget about routine health care needs. However, you put yourself at unnecessary risk by not getting these simple tests when you need them. Make yourself a maintenance calendar and batch appointments together when you can to save time.  Here’s the bare minimum of what you need and when you need it:

•             Blood pressure: yearly or more often if you are on treatment and not at goal

•             Bone density: age 65 or earlier if you are at risk for osteoporosis

•             Cholesterol: yearly or more often if you are on treatment and not at goal

•             Colonoscopy: at age 50, then every 10 years unless you have risk factors for colon cancer

•             Diabetes: get screened if your blood pressure is > 135/80 or you are on medication for blood pressure

•             Mammogram: Every 2 years after age 50 (unless you are at increased risk for breast cancer)

•             Pap test: Every 3 years as long as 3 tests 3 years in a row were normal

6.            Partner: Get by With a Little Help from Your Friends

Succeeding with health goals is MUCH easier when you are surrounded by like-minded, supportive people. Find someone to walk with or join a class at a gym. Having a community provides support and accountability…and someone to remind us of our WHY when we start to forget.

This is where a health coach can also be a great investment in yourself if you’re wanting someone to mentor you through changes and hold you accountable. These kinds of relationships can be long or short-term depending on your needs, but it’s a great way to really beef up your toolbox and get the knowledge you need to take GREAT care of yourself.

7.            Pace: It’s a Marathon, Not a Sprint

We live in a world where we want it all and we want it now.  As busy people, the temptation is to fall into the trap of all-or-nothing thinking.

This kind of thinking makes working toward health goals feel like running in molasses. No one succeeds overnight or is successful 100% of the time. Habits are hard to change and the longer they’ve been ingrained the harder it is.

Pace yourself. Be willing to take imperfect action. If you have a bad day, wake up the next day and redecide to commit to what you want.

The truth of all of this is that whatever action you take is a giant experiment (and you are the test tube)! Some strategies will work better than others. So notice what’s going on.

Tweak. Dodge. Roll.

And remember, any situation you have created up until now can be re-created. It’s never too late to start!

 

About Dr. Anna

Dr. Anna Garrett is a pharmacist and menopause expert who helps women who are struggling with symptoms of perimenopause and menopause find natural hormone balancing solutions so they can rock their mojo through midlife and beyond. But her clients would tell you that her real gift is helping them reclaim pieces of themselves they thought were gone forever.

Dr. Anna offers a complimentary 30-minute Get Acquainted Call to anyone who’d like to learn more about working 1-1 with her. You can schedule that at your convenience by clicking here.

Please email info@drannagarrett.com for more info.


Dr. Anna Garrett

Comments

  1. Dr. G. this is post that I hope many women will read. Taking care of yourself, investing time, energy and yes, money, on your health is incredibly important. It is so much easier physically and emotionally to take care of yourself now before a health crisis hits than to be working with a team of doctors trying to “fix” something afterwards.

    Start with little steps: walk your kids to school, park your car as far a possible from the door at your destination, take the stairs, go for a family walk after dinner and talk with your partner/family members. Before you jump out of bed in the morning into your day of never ending demands, take five minutes to think about how you want to feel today, who you want to be today. And if you have another five minutes commit to a slow breathing practice or meditation….you will be amazed at how those two five-minute activities can set the tone for your day. Here’s to your health. Cheers!

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