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Zoomed In, or Zoomed Out? Elucidation of Our Health - July/August 2021 Publisher's Letter

Jul 14, 2021 03:40PM ● By Daniela J. Jaeger

We all read about health, learn about it through TV, radio, magazines, newspapers, the Internet, or even ask Siri about it. But what does health really mean? In 1948, the World Health Organization (WHO) defined it this way: “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” 

Of course, time passed and an updated definition was needed, so in 1986 WHO described health as “a resource for everyday life, not the objective of living. Health is a positive concept emphasizing social and personal resources, as well as physical capacities.” 

We tend to think of health in so many ways—mental, physical, spiritual, emotional, financial, to name a few—and with all the categories, it’s no surprise we often neglect some areas while trying to do better in others. Sometimes, that neglect comes from our lifestyles. We get so busy that we see a doctor only when we feel something is very wrong. Worse yet, we ignore signs that our health needs to be improved because… well… we’re just too busy to deal with it.  

That puts a lot of pressure on doctors and other medical professionals. We can’t expect them to keep us healthy when we’re not doing our part. That also goes for watching over the health of our loved ones. How can we help them if we’re not helping ourselves? 

Think about what happens when your computer or tech gadgets stop working correctly. As soon as an app or program has a glitch, or when your Internet connection is down and you have an important Zoom meeting, you take quick action. Are you that fast when your body shows you symptoms of a problem? At least with computer health, you have other options; you can still phone into your meeting or find work-arounds until you get your app or device repaired. But you have only one body and one mind. When your health falters, there are no workarounds. 

In a previous publisher’s letter, I explained how I decided to turn off all my device notifications as a way of looking after my mental health. I still operate that way, and it’s a great relief not getting a buzzing sound or a blinking light announcing a new message every few minutes. I never realized how distracted I was, looking at my phone or iPad so much. After a year and a half of Covid-related changes to my work and online habits, I’m ready to cut back on all the Zoom and Internet team meetings. 

I’m at least going to reduce the amount of time they take up, and I’ve heard from friends and business partners that they are planning to do the same. I call it zooming out. Think about how fast we allowed online meetings to rule our days and form new distractions? For the sake of our mental health, it’s time to scale back—and maybe even relearn how to meet and work in person. In addition to health, this will benefit overall wellness. 

WHO elucidates wellness as being “the optimal state of health of individuals and groups.” It goes on to say that “there are two focal concerns: the realization of the fullest potential of an individual physically, psychologically, socially, spiritually and economically, and the fulfillment of one’s roles and expectations in the family, community, place of worship and other settings.” 

Wellness requires good health. Have you zoomed out for a while? Why not zoom back into a healthier lifestyle? Whatever that looks like for you and your family, it is my wish for you to stay healthy and, in doing so, find your own balance of well-being.