Our health is intensely personal. Yet it doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Which is why having “healthy” conversations – the kind where you talk about your health – are so important.If you have a family history of heart disease, cancer or diabetes, you need a healthy conversation. If you want to help a friend who’s facing a health challenge, you need a healthy conversation.
Or, if you simply want to share status updates on weight-loss goals and calorie counts, you can turn to social media to start a healthy conversation.
At BCBSNC we love starting healthy conversations with you, and we want to share ways you can do the same. It’s important to be friendly and approachable – not accusing – and open to unexpected answers.
So we’ve got the basics down. But what do you ask? How do you get a healthy conversation going? There’s two different groups of questions – those that help you, and those that help others. We’re providing three of each to get you started. While these are sure-fire conversation starters, it’s not meant to be an exhaustive list. These questions can get you thinking creatively about how to approach a healthy conversation.
“What’s the best training app you’ve used to run?” If you’re friends with runners, you know they love to talk running. Thinking about starting a new plan? Get your friends and family in on it on Facebook.
“How often do your get your skin checked?” Skin cancer is on the rise, and it’s the most common form of cancer among Americans, impacting over 3.5 million. If you have questions about what to look for and what to check, find out if any of your family and friends have experiences to share and speak with your doctor. You can also visit SkinCancer.org.
“Is diabetes common in our family?” A diagnosis of diabetes affects almost 10 percent of the population. Knowing your risk is very important, especially as you age.
“How are those workouts going this week?” You can start a conversation just by living healthy and showing it. I inadvertently inspired some of my friends to start running just by my running updates (and they were nothing to write home about). It’s the good kind of peer pressure.
“Do you get a regular checkup?”Preventative care does wonders. But it’s something that many people take for granted, either out of fear, lack of understanding, or just the craziness of life. Mentioning to your friends and family members, or sharing web pages like this one (which goes over the may free screenings available) can make a big impact.
“I’ve been thinking about you and wondering how you’re doing.” For those of us with sick or elderly family and friends, a little help can go a long way. Take some time to ask about current medications, offer to spend an hour going through their list of medications, or ask if they’re up to date on their appointments.
Whatever you do, you’ll be surprised how much of an impact a friendly, healthy conversation can have. Something I personally try to be open about is my struggle with postpartum depression after my first child was born. Postpartum depression is only reported in about 8 percent to 19 percent of pregnancies, but experts think the number may be even higher. Why? The stigma. I figure if I can be candid about what I went through it might help other women and encourage them to reach out to their doctors, the stigma won’t matter so much.
Health issues don’t go away if we ignore them, and you never know what kind of impact you’ll make in the long run. We can’t all be supermom all the time.
Open yourself up to the possibilities – healthy conversations won’t just change the way you live your life, but it can also change the lives of those around you. The right question, the right conversation, can move you and others to action. And healthy actions can help us all live longer and healthier.
Tell us what you’re doing to start a #healthyconversation by tweeting at us @BCBSNC.