Are you a responsible human?

I hope you know its RU OK? Day next week, on Thursday.  Its been around since 2009 and while the concept is simple, the question, RU OK?, can make a massive difference to someone’s life.

We know that isolation and loneliness are rampant in our society, as is the impact of mental health conditions.

These numbers are from the RU OK? Day website and I’ve got to be honest – I work in health and was shocked reading through them, this is really important:

  • About 8 people take their own lives every day in Australia
  • 65,000 people attempt suicide each year
  • Suicide is the biggest killer of Australians under 44 years
  • Men account for around 75 per cent of all suicide deaths

What do you think about those?  I think you would be kidding yourself to think this wasn’t a massive problem.  As a responsible human, it is reasonably accepted that you could do something to contribute to improving these deplorable statistics.

It would be super easy to get caught up in your own ‘stuff’ and not ask that simple question….but we can’t, that’s not ok!!

We owe it to each other as humans to stay connected and have regular meaningful conversations!!

We need to actively and courageously start genuine conversations.  This can be as easy as taking a few minutes to show some care and empathy.  The listening should be active and needs to happen without judgement.  You don’t have to solve the ‘problem’ but rather encourage action and check in on them again soon after the conversation (as explained in detail at http://www.ruok.org.au)

From the health perspective, this is what we would call peer-led early intervention.  Sounds fancy, but really just describes that we are often we are happier to listen to and open up to our peers – so the concept of RU OK? Day has SO much merit.

And lastly, if you are the one being asked RU OK? Please know it is more than OK to say ‘No, I’m not ok’  The people around you who care about you are well placed to provide support for you – let them!  They value you enough to ask how you are, so value yourself enough to speak freely about how you are feeling.

When we feel valued we have reasons bigger than ourselves to be able to deal with life’s up’s and down’s.

So what does this mean for you? – there are two main points to take away:

  1. Ask your important people ‘RUOK?’ and
  2. Know when you are not OK!

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‘Take Charge!’

Have you ever come away from the Pharmacy, been distracted and not remembered a word they said? Don’t worry, you certainly aren’t alone, but it doesn’t mean that you still can’t get the right information about your medications.

This week is Be Medicinewise week and this year, Australians are being encouraged to ‘Take Charge!’ of their medicines and their health.  The way we can do this is by reminding everyone to:

Ask the right questions – of health care professionals so you can have an active role in your health.  Question suggestions can be found at www.choosingwisely.org.au/5-questions-to-ask-your-doctor

This also includes reading labels and packaging (psst, the instructions you missed at the Pharmacy will all be on the label, and detailed information on the Consumer Medicine Information – CMI found inside the box)

Ask the right people – do I need to add here that Google or a Facebook group probably isn’t asking the right people!  There can always be issues with the source of information – is it evidence based, trustworthy and up-to-date?  The only way to know for sure is to ask your health professional or consult the evidence based service NPS Medicinewise at http://www.nps.org.au/  There you can find a ALOT of information about medicines and can be guaranteed it is reliable – there are people on their board who have been working in the pharmaceutical industry for longer than I have been alive!

Follow the right advice – always take medications how they were prescribed or intended – and if you don’t understand, ASK!  That’s what taking charge is about – it’s your body and no one else is going to take responsibility for it.

I was also impressed to discover that NPS Medicinewise even has an app!  The free MedicineList+ smartphone app helps people take charge of their medicines.  The app allows you to keep a record of your medications and pretty much any other health details – they have it covered.

All of these points can be used for prescription (obviously), over-the-counter and also complementary medicines – it is up to you to know the what, why, when and how of the medications you choose to take.  Actually, this Taking Charge! campaign and its three points can be applied to any health information you might receive from alleged ‘experts’.

There is so much information available to us these days, unfortunately much of it comes from less than credible sources.  So heed the Be Medicinewise campaign message and ‘Take Charge!’ of your health and your medications.  I also ask you to share this information with your loved ones – after all, knowledge is power!

Source:  Many of the facts for this blog have been sourced from http://www.nps.org.au

Know when the ‘Big Top’ isn’t yours!

This line isn’t my own work, but I seem to have found myself quoting this line a lot lately – ‘Not my circus, not my monkeys’.

So simple but SO true!  We can only worry about the things we can change and THAT IS ALL!

You know what happens when we worry about other people’s monkeys and circus’??  We, and our loved ones miss out!

When worrying about other people’s monkeys and circus’ we can fail to see the awesome people and events immediately around us.  We miss out on fully appreciating all of our reasons to be grateful in our own lives!!

Its just a short blog today, but I urge to consider that everyone else’s monkeys and circus’ will continue on regardless of your input. 

Remember you can only change your own monkeys and your own circus……

Wishing or working?

Have you been watching the Olympics??  I haven’t got to watch much of the action from Rio De Janeiro yet, however, from what I have seen so far – there are some clear messages that have stood out.  The dedication of every single one of those athletes is admirable and their ability to have a goal, pursue it, and now, see it through, is, without a doubt, ridiculously impressive.  They didn’t wish for it, they worked damn hard for it!  They knew what they wanted, they made a plan and have now achieved.

To achieve a big goal – you have to have a vision of not only what it might feel like to you, but also how it might look to you and even how it might taste and sound.  The important part of the vision and the goals are that they are yours – no one’s else opinion of your goal matters, they can’t take your goals or dreams away from you – they are yours and yours only!

When did you last set a goal? Did someone question it?  Did you question it?  Did you prove them wrong?  or did you give into their opinion?  I read a quote the other day from Henry Ford – ‘If you believe you can or you can’t, you are right’  Whichever you believe of your goal, that’s what will happen – regardless of other’s opinions.

Lesson learnt – believe in your goal and have 100% clarity on what it will feel and look like to you (it doesn’t matter what it looks like to anyone else).  It also doesn’t hurt to know what tastes and sounds might be there when you achieve your goal – remember you want clarity!!

Your goal might not be Olympic goal, but if you know its every detail – you can be so clear and purposeful about working towards it!!

I will just leave you with two simple tips for this goal setting business –

  1. Write it down – there is a good body of evidence that says goals that get written down are more likely to be achieved AND
  2. Tell someone about your goals – as above, not for their opinion, but just to keep you honest!

Now, go forth – create a vision and set yourself a goal, just as our Olympians have.

 

 

Featured Image Photo credit: <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/celestinechua/14195403452/”>Celestine Chua</a> via <a href=”https://visualhunt.com”>Visual Hunt</a> / <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>CC BY-NC-SA</a>

 

 

Discover, Decide, Discuss – as easy as that!

As per the image, it is DonateLife Week.  Organ donation is the ultimate legacy you might be able to leave for those waiting for a transplant.

We know more than 1,500 Australians are waiting at any one time for a life-saving transplant. And also one organ and tissue donor can save and transform the lives of many.

Of course, the need for transplanted organs is a higher number than the available organs.

I’ve recently been following an amazing young lady on Instagram, she is a heart AND lung transplant recipient AND she is a triathlete, including Ironman 70.3!!! This champion has been given an extra chance at life thanks to organ donation and she is not wasting a second!!  Her name is Kate Phillips, on Instagram as @osherbet – her story is phenomenal!

There are three simple steps encouraged to being ‘all over it’ so to speak – Discover, Decide and Discuss.

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Discover

The best place to do this is the Donate Life website – its here that you can gather the facts and make an informed decision about organ donation

Decide

Once you have decided – go to http://www.donatelife.gov.au/decide to register your wishes.

From the DonateLife website:

Why do I need to register?

The Australian Organ Donor Register is the only national register for people to record their decision about becoming an organ and tissue donor for transplantation after death. Joining the register is voluntary and you can elect which organs and tissues you are willing to donate. 

The national Register provides a record of a person’s donation decision for families and clinicians ensures in the event of their death. This decision can be verified 24 hours a day, seven days a week by authorised personnel anywhere in Australia.

Discuss

It is super important to discuss your registered wishes with your family, and also to know their wishes.

The DonateLife website cites:

‘Less than 1% of deaths in hospitals are in the particular circumstances where organ donation is possible. Family discussion and knowledge about each other’s donation decision is critical to ensure that every potential donor’s decision is upheld.’

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Do it today – Discover, Decide and Discuss!!