Dr Fiona Wood is a woman of many talents and maximises every possible opportunity to put them to good use. She became instantly known worldwide when the tragic events of the 2002 Bali bombings unfolded, with her team working day and night to care for badly burned victims. It was during this time that the “spray on skin” cell technology pioneered by Dr Wood was used extensively and, in recognition of this work with the Bali bombing victims, Fiona was named a Member of the Order of Australia in 2003. Understandably, she describes this time in her life as brutal, with the workload, emotional toll and the travel hours extreme. For Fiona, in her line of work, the external environment of care could vary widely from a bombsite to a hospital bed to the scene of an accident at the side of the road.
When contemplating making changes to your own health behaviour, assessing your own external environment is crucial to success. Although your environment may not be as extreme as those that Fiona Wood finds herself in, it can change many times over a day or week and being aware of each scenario means that you can adapt and plan accordingly. Take a look at what is going on around you and think about the things that impact on your ability to lead a healthy lifestyle such as:
Do you work too much or do you need to change the way you work?
Identifying the ‘stuff’ that stresses you out and figuring out a way to reduce or eliminate it.
Do you get rave reviews when you cook or do your skills need a little fine-tuning?
Do you have food in the pantry or is the cupboard bare? Being organised with a shopping routine makes it easier to eat well. If you don’t have time to get to the shops (or even if you do), spend a fraction of the time doing it online and avoid all the temptations that are costly to your wallet and your body.
Have you got somewhere to exercise? Access to facilities, clothing and equipment to enable exercise are going to be pretty important for a successful fitness bid.
Are you racking up enough zzzz’s? The quality and quantity of your sleep routine can dictate the outcome of whether you exercise, what and how much you eat and how productive you are during the day.
Financial health – your income and budget can impact some aspects of leading a healthy life but sometimes its more about prioritising how we spend our money.
The weather – we all know that rain is plain old water but factoring it into your exercise plans removes another barrier. Perhaps you don’t want to get onto your bike in the pelting rain but Plan B might be the gym or weights at home for some strength training. Conversely, it is usually too hot to run during the day in summer (in Australia at least) but early mornings are too good to miss.
Skill power – are you aware of the skills required to steer your health in the right direction? How will you find out what skills you need? If you don’t possess these skills, how can you get them?
Looking after the environment in this case means your own patch of well-being. Does it mean engaging a personal trainer or finding an exercise buddy, seeking out help from health professionals such as your GP, Dietitian or Psychologist? Upskilling of self by learning meditation, taking cooking classes, shopping online, doing a short course or further studies? Information is only a click away and it is yours to access.
Improving the quality of your life and reducing your risk factors for chronic disease or having enough energy to play with the kids after a hard days work are all worthy outcomes. Of course, let’s not forget feeling good about yourself, being happy with your body and feeling fit and strong. These are great results not only for yourself but also for your loved ones. Take a look around and see what you find.