Things work in mysterious ways, don’t they?

Now more than ever, the promise of control appears to be everywhere. Every new magazine or book seems to say: “Take charge of your personal development, relationships, finances, and career with the push of a button.” We download the apps, we make calendars and budgets, and we track our miles and our achievements with pedometers.

All the technology and planning in the world can’t prepare us for the unexpected challenges of a health crisis. This isn’t to say that we should have to resign ourselves to the aftershocks of a crisis, though. What if the hardship of a health crisis could be the starting point for creating a new perspective, a new you?

Working within (or studying to be a part of) the health care industry, it can become second nature to have the well-being of others on our daily schedule. However, are we doing enough to bring attention to our own well-being? Let’s be the example of health we advocate for within our community.

Consider the following:

1. No matter our backgrounds, education, gender, or race, we owe it to ourselves to consider the preventative measures available to us right now. Data shows that actions we take now affects our future state of health. Spend some time today to design a 21-day health goal, get support from your network, and acknowledge your successes along the way.

2. Take a moment to use the challenge of a health crisis to inspire you. That’s right–inspire you to create a new vision for yourself that includes working with, rather than against, the limitations that might arise. If hindsight is 20/20, the moments that seem the most difficult to overcome could prove to be the life-changing moments that guide us toward discovering new passions, talents, people, and places.

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3. Be vocal about your needs and abilities during a health crisis. It can be hard to understand how best to ask for support in these times. Understanding how to reach out effectively can encourage a renewed sense of empowerment, refine your communications skills, and bring clarity to personal relationships.

4. Take time to create separation from old habits. We may find ourselves in the position of experiencing sudden changes to our routine when our health is compromised. This could be the time when the moment is right to evaluate what’s working and what to let go.

5. Life keeps moving around us during a health crisis, but that doesn’t mean we can’t engage with it in new and powerful ways. Your personal and professional interests may be profoundly affected by this time. Perhaps there is an opportunity to teach others, to speak out and educate the community. Our very foundation was built on the value in one person extending the gift of retelling the story of their experience. Seek out those who could be emboldened by the story of you, because it might the story they need to hear.

Seventy-five days ago, I was a smoker. Like others, I thought I couldn’t change (or, maybe, I didn’t want to change) a habit that I knew was harmful. Could I be like I was before, could I do the things I used to do before cigarettes came into the picture? I wasn’t sure. After almost eight years of smoking, the wake-up call just hadn’t arrived.

Seventy-five days ago, everything changed–I was in crisis. It was a now or never moment, I had to quit. The stakes were too high and the burden overbearing. I made the choice to transform my health crisis into an opportunity, to continue my personal journey as an ex-smoker.

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So, I am here today telling my story, reaching out to the community, writing these words because life keeps moving and the story of health belongs to all of us. Funny how life works, isn’t it. Maybe, a little mysterious, too.

Marc Laughton
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