About Health & Wellness
The World Health Organisation’s definition of health reflects several components: Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. Well that suggests good health is more than just about staying alive and not smoking. Now wellness is defined by multiple sources as actively pursuing good health. With that, it suggests conscious choice and deliberate action. Wellness doesn’t happen by accident.
Wellness At Work
Some senior doctors & I realized that in the big rush to complete our medical degree and specialist training, we sometimes lose sight of personal wellness. Hence why we decided to look after the next generation.
To that end, we piloted an informal wellness programme for our junior doctors. We made deliberate plans to engage them in non-medical events such as Discussing Jewellery And Watches Over Happy Hour. We also discovered How Refresh Flowers Refreshed Our Sunday. Floral therapy brought so many smiles to so many people on that shift, I feel we must do it again. Finally there’s no better engagement time than makan time with residents Swooning Over Violet Oon. Most recently, we dined together with young female doctors while Simone Jewels Celebrates Hidden Gems.
Sometimes I meet my residents in the hospital gym and do their appraisals with them on the treadmill. No lie! People seem to open up more when we’re all dressed down in sports gear, sweating it out together.
Physician Heal Thyself
Once, I ran a short survey among junior doctors & medical students about massage therapy. They explained why massages were essential to their physical wellness, particularly since they often suffer from bad posture. Ironically this occurs as an occupational hazard. For instance, they have neck stiffness after typing clinical notes and back pain after trying to set lines on tricky veins.
The last spa I visited was Ayuthaya Spa at Pacific Plaza. Coming from a training hospital, I loved that their therapists are each accredited with over 3000 hours of experience in Royal Thai massage. That’s some procedural logbook! Each aromatherapy oil or scrub targets specific ailments like aches, toxins, stress and poor sleep. As I have so many problems, I was quite spoilt for choice. Since I was post-night-shift and feeling out of sorts, I decided fixing poor sleep was a priority.
To prepare for my massage, I had a cup of hibiscus tea that was rich in vitamins. This came with a note to be still and calm. It reminded me to breath, to stop trying and stop struggling. This placed me in the perfect frame of mind to receive massage therapy.
At the end, my masseuse gave me some matoom tea, a powerful antioxidant. Another accompanying note implored: Let everyone know that today you are stronger that your were yesterday. This resonated with me. Mental struggles can be difficult because nobody may realise it but it eats you up inside.
Mental health is defined as a state of well-being in which individuals realize their own potential. In fact our national paper recently interviewed my Daddy, Professor Kua Ee Heok, on the importance of mental wellness. https://www.straitstimes.com/opinion/there-can-be-no-health-without-mental-health.
Recently, I gave a talk to the alumni from the National University of Singapore about social well-being. My audience included graduates from various faculties; the eldest participant was in his nineties. That afternoon, I discussed not just my successes but my failures, and explained how resilience is essential to thriving.
As the pursuit of wellness is not a solitary venture, I wish you all good company to encourage you in your journey. Maybe it’s good friends who set you straight; mine remind me to accept the apology that was not offered and let things go. Maybe it’s your senior colleagues who care; we are trying hard to push for greater joy at work. Either way, don’t think for a moment that wellness isn’t for you.
Make time because you have a responsibility to yourself.