So maybe the cavalry isn't coming...

SO THERE you are, reclined on the couch and waiting for help to arrive. For whatever reason (it doesn't matter why or how) you find you're not well.

Maybe a little unwell, maybe a lot unwell. You want to feel better: vibrant, alive, the way you used to feel.

If only the solution would arrive soon to rescue you. Just appear by your side, one pill to solve everything, immediately, and you can get back to life as it used to be. Ah, that would be so good. But alas, news just arrived: the cavalry isn't coming. You're going to have to help yourself.

This probably sounds a bit callous, unfeeling and inaccurate.

After all, bad things do happen to good people; sometimes illness just comes out of nowhere. But when it does strike, it's all too easy to get caught up in the idea that something or someone will save you at zero expense and no effort from you.

We have a wonderful public health system. When something bad happens emergency services will scoop you up and transport you to a hospital full of well trained and dedicated professionals.

Powerful drugs and expert surgeons are there to help. But all this expertise on tap can only go so far in helping you recover and stay healthy.

Really getting well again might mean you need to take stock of how you got unwell: like what you've been eating, how you cared for yourself from day to day. Did you collect your dinner through a small window at the fast food outlet too many times? Brush off exercise because you were too busy? Push yourself relentlessly without a break? There's likely to be more than one contributing factor, and probably half a dozen.

And that's just the physical aspects of health; there are the emotional and spiritual aspects too.

Maybe your relationships have been sliding into disrepair, or you failed to notice those close to you complaining about your mood, or you feel you've lost your purpose in life.

You may find you need to explore areas of health recovery you hadn't considered before, seek out help from extra professionals.

It's uncomfortable, but taking a ruthless stock-take of how you manage your health can be immensely rewarding when you empower yourself.

Maybe you don't need to keep waiting for the cavalry after all.

Olwen Anderson is a naturopath and counsellor.

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