Being healthy is always something we take for granted until someone we know or we ourselves fall sick. With the coronavirus scare and the chaos that ensued in China after the outbreak, I felt grateful that I got out of Hong Kong in time. I arrived in South Africa with no trace of illness and besides the usual fatigue, weather and food adjustment related discomfort, I felt fine.
This week marks four weeks since I arrived and it has has been rough on my body. I am writing this so that I can reflect on the importance of living a healthy life and not consciously doing things that will make me ill. I realised that a stressful environment is a breeding ground for illness. Mental strain can manifest as physical pain. It is not uncommon to develop a headache from stress or even abdominal pains. I found myself seeking health services after two days of excruciating pain in my lower abdomen. I self-diagnosed initially relying on doctor google, but when the pain didn’t go away I made the wise decision to consult a doctor. The doctor confirmed that I had developed physical symptoms as a result of stress and there was nothing wrong with my abdomen itself.
This is what I learnt from this short episode:
Stress is not good for the human body.
There are some habits that we take for granted that expose our bodies to the risk of illness. It can be something as simple as not sleeping well, overworking or overthinking. I am guilty of all three and when I started to feel weird pains in my body, I had to take stock. I have been stressed out with all the administrative tasks required to process my critical skills visa. The strain began affecting my health to the point that I had to consult a doctor.
I am not useful to anyone when I am sick
I love to work and I use up as many hours of the day as I can writing or doing something that is mentally stimulating. However, I have to admit that I don’t take care of my physical health very well. I don’t work out, take walks or do much physical activity. You could actually describe me as a very lazy person.
I realise now that me not taking care of my physical health is not useful to me or to the people I work for. A healthy me means that I will be more alert and efficient. Needing two days off work because of my health has not benefited anyone.
A healthy physical body = a healthy mental state
When I was in pain, my mind was preoccupied with the pain and the more pain I felt, the more stressed out I became. Being physical ill did nothing for my mental health, it actually made it worse because I was more anxious than most days.
I have made a vow to myself this week to love myself enough to take care of my body. I will watch what I feed myself and what I drink. I will go to sleep when I am tired because being sick is really not worth it. My health is my wealth because I am not worth anything to anyone if I am a hospital bed or worse.
Stay happy and healthy 😊