What's On

  • Written by Whats On Australia

We all generally want what's best for everyone, but sometimes our support systems are insufficient or underutilized. Developing the skills to self-advocate and manage your own health is vital to receiving the care you need when the systems surrounding you aren't enough. Here are some tips about how to be a champion for your own well-being, brought to you in the following article by What’s On” Australia.

Staying Informed

If you don't know what might be ailing you or what needs of yours are not being met, you won't be able to properly advocate for yourself. When speaking with a medical professional, don't be afraid to ask as many questions as you need. Blindly following instructions without understanding the reasoning behind them is a far too common mistake, so put aside your fear of being a bother and educate yourself.

Though it may be tedious, take the time to research and understand your insurance policy. Shopping around for an insurance package that suits you best can save you money, as well as provide you with coverage that you may not have found with a cursory search. Understanding what you can and cannot do with your policy will allow you to speak with authority if any trouble or confusion arises in the future.

Speaking Up

When your body tells you something is wrong, the correct response is to listen. If an injury or ailment seems as if it requires medical attention, it probably does. Sadly, staff at many hospitals are trained to discourage or turn away patients who they believe to be drug-seeking, so you may occasionally have difficulty seeing someone right away in an emergency. In such an unfortunate event you should stand your ground, explain that you understand the considerations they must make, and insist that you be checked out to prove that there is indeed something wrong.

Doctors are human, for better and for worse. Unfortunately, medical professionals can make mistakes, act on ill-formed biases, or refuse care that you feel you require. There is no harm or shame in finding a second opinion more aligned with your best interests. A transgender patient, for example, may seek out a gender-affirming therapist, rather than one who invalidates their identity.

Practicing Self-Care

Your home needs to be a place that supports your well-being. To help manage your stress at home, try to maximize the amount of sunlight inside. Also, be sure to keep your space clean and decluttered. Having a quiet space set aside for meditation and solitude can also be helpful.

A great way to mitigate the stress of having to self-advocate is to avoid needing medical care as much as possible. A healthy diet and regular exercise will improve your overall physical health, lessening reasons to seek medical attention in the first place. Diet and exercise are the best way to prevent heart disease, which causes 27 percent of deaths in Australia.

Living a healthier life doesn’t have to begin with big changes; you can take small steps in your personal journey. If you need more exercise, try to find ways during your work day to get more physical activity, such as taking the stairs or standing during a meeting. Trying swapping out typical snacks for healthier options—an apple instead of chips, for example.

Healthy living will make it more apparent when something is legitimately wrong. Doctors are more likely to take invisible ailments seriously when they have no good cause to believe you aren't taking care of yourself. Be patient and never stop speaking up for yourself until you've received the necessary care.

Your mental well-being and physical health are intertwined, so it's important to take care of your mind as well as your body. The stigma surrounding therapy has thankfully dissipated in recent years, cutting away the shame previously associated with seeking professional help. Everyone can benefit from therapy, and having a better understanding of yourself will strengthen your self-advocacy.

It's an unfortunate fact that we all need to stand up for ourselves from time to time. Remember when dealing with medical professionals to keep yourself informed and speak up when your needs are not being met.

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