Learn about how the small changes you adopt, will make a big difference over time.
The Good Life Goals are the civil side of the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Created by the UN in 2018, they are 17 goals to help governments, companies and people like you and me make a difference for a better future. Not just for us now, but for generations to come.
TRIGGER WARNING: I talk about mental health, depression and suicide in this post. If you are affected by any of these, please proceed with caution. If you or a loved one are affected by suicide, please reach out to the local suicide hotline in your country.
GOAL 3: STAY WELL
I'm a big advocate for health and well-being (also it's my job). Health is wealth and it's the one thing we never pay attention to until there's something wrong. I stand by the motto "eat well, live well, play well." To me, this means eating whole foods that nurture your body, exercise for your physical and mental well being and engage in a lifestyle that doesn't harm other people or other living things.
I think the break-out of Covid-19 was a harsh reminder at how important it is to live a healthy lifestyle. The people who were more likely to be severely affected by Covid-19 were people who had pre-existing health conditions, the elderly and the unhealthy. While you can't do anything about your age or a pre-existing condition, you can do something about the life you live and make improvements to keep yourself in good condition. This is what Good Life Goal #3 is all about. Staying well for the benefit of yourself and those around you. It helps our environment as well as stopping the spread of disease.
WHAT CAN WE DO?
The mini targets that of goal #3 are:
1. Learn about, and share, ways to stay healthy
2. Wash your hands and exercise regularly
3. Stay safe on or near roads
4. Value mental health and well-being
5. Demand medical care and vaccinations for all
PUTTING IT INTO PRACTICE
Your health is one of the most important things you possess, so how can you put Good Life Goal #3 into practice so you stay well?.
1. Educate yourself! We have Google, books, peer-review journals, youtube, blogs...you name it! You can't change what you don't acknowledge. Start with learning how to eat healthier. Introduce more fruit and veggies into your life (read more here). Exercise regularly. People underestimate how much good nutrition and working out 3 times a week will do for your physical and mental health.
2. In a post Covid-19 world everyone is well aware of the benefit of washing hands. It helps prevent the spread of infections and diseases as well as keeps you from getting sick (you wouldn't touch the handrails on the tube and then eat a sandwich without washing your hands would you?).
3. If you go for bike rides or walks, make sure you're staying on populated roads or in populated areas so people can see you. If you're exercising at night, where hi-vis clothing to help drivers see you. Never go off roads that are quiet and not well lit by yourself and make sure someone knows where you're going. It's unfortunate that in 2020 I still have to write this, but women are more likely to be attacked while they're out exercising. It's frustrating that in 2020, I still have to write measures for you to keep yourself safe as if it's on you and it's your responsibility. I hate it. But this is the world we still live in.
4. Mental health is just as important as your physical health. We as a society are getting better at acknowledging the effects of mental health on your life but it's still taboo particularly amongst men who are 3 times more likely to commit suicide than women. Are you struggling with your mental health? Here are some avenues for you:
Talk to a friend that you trust. While your friends aren't qualified to diagnose you, it's so important to get talking about what's got you down. Your friends are there to support and help you.
If your mood has been down for more than 2 weeks, consult your doctor. This could be a sign of depression.
If you are having suicidal thoughts, ideation or planning, reach out to your friends, your doctor and your local suicide hotline. As someone who has been down this path, it is one of the most difficult conversations you will have. However, you don't know where you'll be a year from now and that's worthing holding on to. If you're struggling with this, here is a list of suicide hotlines by country.
If you have a friend who is struggling, reach out to them. They might not want to open up to you yet, but letting them know that you're there for them without judgement if/when they're ready to talk is a great base to start from.
5. The affordability of medication is subjective. What might be affordable for you may not be affordable for others in your own country and is especially unaffordable in developing nations.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), roughly 9 million children die each year. While this is down from 1990 figures, that's not good enough. 70% of these deaths were due to preventable diseases/infections/conditions. Over a third of child deaths are linked to malnutrition. As I've mentioned in previous Good Life Goals, the choices we make here, in our own back yard affect people on the other side of the world. We do not live in a vacuum. For better or for worse, we are all connected.
Learn about how you can donate unused medications in your own country.
Research more so you understand how the food and purchases you make, contribute to global poverty (global poverty = lack of access to better food = malnutrition for example).
Donate to medical charities (do your research, not all charities are created equal).
Find a charity that you're passionate about and volunteer. There are so many that are in need of help.
I'm not telling you that you have to change the world by yourself. By no means am I perfect either. In fact, as long as we continue to exist in our current societal framework, we will step on someone or something. What we can do is alleviate suffering where possible. Do no harm where possible. Know where your dollar goes and how it contributes to issues at home and abroad. Take mental health seriously (both your own and that of those around you). Seek help if you need to, there's no shame in asking for it.
Stay well means living a healthy and enjoyable life while also making sure that those around you have the opportunity to do the same.
Continue to watch this space and change the world x