Despite what some people refuse to see, climate change is real. Air pollution, plastics in our lakes and oceans, more severe weather events and extreme temperatures are becoming the new normal. How is all of this affecting our health? Learn more about the effects of increased pollution and climate change on our bodies in the following care of CBC News.
Guest Blogger Lauren Heinken, Student Occupational Therapist
For anyone with an interest in how Canada’s single-payer medicare system works and how it may be improved, this book written by Dr. Danielle Martin and released earlier this year is a must-read. Although it is written from a medical perspective, the author appreciates that an individual’s health is dependent on much more than biology, and the active role individuals need to play in their own medical care is emphasized throughout the book. Dr. Martin takes the time to acknowledge the psychosocial factors that can impact well-being, and as a whole her perspective aligns well with the profession of Occupational Therapists. Better Now: Six Big Ideas to Improve Healthcare for All Canadians is written in such a way that it can be appreciated by anyone who reads it, but those who have direct contact or personal experience with Canada’s medical system may benefit the most from it’s content.
The book’s introduction showcases Dr. Martin’s rational stance on many issues that at times provoke excessive fear amongst Canadians. An example of such an issue is the economic impact that the country’s aging population may have on the healthcare system. This book is able to provide an alternative, and often more optimistic view, on these “hot” issues compared with the fear-provoking opinions that are often shared through other media sources.
Each of the “six big ideas” discussed in this book form a chapter, and each chapter begins with Dr. Martin introducing a real-life patient case that demonstrates and supports the idea. Aside from providing a human component to the systems-level issues discussed in this book, these patient cases are useful in providing an opportunity for readers to apply chapter content to an actual user of the healthcare system. This helps facilitates readers being able to wrap their heads around what truly are “big ideas”.
You may be questioning what the relevance of this book is to OT practice. An issue identified within the book is that our medical system tends to be one that is largely disjointed, with different parts of the system often not communicating clearly with one another. This lack of connectivity comes at a cost to both individuals who use the system and those who fund it. Although implementation of better communication technology will play a large part in addressing this problem, I would argue that it could at least be improved if health practitioners and those administering the system knew a little bit more about what each other did. This book is a good way for OTs to learn more about the medical system, and they may potentially use this knowledge to influence a smoother and more cohesive system experience for their clients. It also better equips OTs to provide appropriate answers to questions they might be asked that relate to navigating the healthcare system.
The only disappointment in this book is the absence of the OT profession when Dr. Martin speaks to “other healthcare professionals”. OTs have the potential to make big contributions to proactive healthcare, but also to improving how the system functions and these are not explicitly considered in this book. However, OTs know their scopes best and have the skills to advocate for their contributions, so their absence in this book creates an opportunity for them to fill the gap. How? Stay-tuned for this to be discussed in a later blog post.
In our busy day to day lives it can be difficult to make time to put yourself first. Healthy habits such as hydration, exercise, sleep and “me time” often get put on the back-burner or forgotten as we spend our time getting stuff done. However, to achieve optimal mental and physical health you need to put yourself first! Use our printable Daily Health Tracker to help create healthy habits and keep yourself accountable to ensure you are getting daily physical activity, drinking enough water, achieving a proper sleep, and making time to do the things that make you happy.
For more helpful tools for both children and adults visit our Printable Resources Page.
Looking for some resolutions that will benefit your body and mind? The following from Self Magazine provides resolution inspiration from diet to lifestyle and more. Remember to follow our Guide to Resolution Success and you’ll be well on your way to your healthiest year yet!
Recently Maclean’s published an article “Death by Sugar” about how sugar consumption is one of the leading causes of the obesity issues in North America, and may also have links to rising numbers of diabetes, heart conditions and alzheimers disease. Statistics Canada indicates that on average Canadian adults consume 88 pounds of sugar each year. Many of us are good at avoiding high sugar sources such as chocolate bars, candy and pop, however, due to lack of information on nutritional labels we are not fully aware of the sugar consumption in everyday foods. Foods such as bread, cereals, spreads and pastas are all high in sugar content and it’s time Health Canada made the average consumer better aware of this.
Check out the full “Death by Sugar” article from Maclean’s here.
It’s hard to pick up a health magazine without hearing about “Super Foods.” Certain grains, nuts and seeds, fruits, vegetables and fish have been named so because of high levels of antioxidants, omegas, and health boosting vitamins and minerals. Some of these “super foods” are well known, however, many are new to the mainstream diet. The following from Greatist.com provides 30 awesome “super food” recipes that will help you create easy, delicious, and healthier meals for you and your family!
It’s officially spring and if the weather cooperates, it’s time to get outside and reap the benefits of fresh air, sunshine and the overall joys of being in nature. The natural world outside contains both physical and mental health benefits. The following from Best Health Magazine discusses how getting outside and enjoying nature can benefit you and your health.