Health - It's more complex than we think
My tag-line is ‘Your health matters’. I feel like I should have emphasised the ‘your’ in that sentence to highlight that everyone’s health is completely individual.
Health is not a black or white kind of thing, like: you either are healthy or you are not. Health is found on a spectrum, and this spectrum is also very individual. Where we draw the line of how we feel can differ hugely from what someone else would feel in the same situation (are people with a disability, an impairment, a chronic illness not allowed to be and to feel healthy? Food for thought!)
Health is not a destination or an end point to a journey. Although you are forgiven to think that way, given how health is sold by the wellness industry as the goal of all goals. But are these goals actually achievable for everyone? Unlikely. But health sells, even with spurious claims, we part with our hard-earned cash willingly when someone promises us that they will make us healthier. A lot of these promises are based on exaggerated interpretations of research, unfounded theories or, at worst, completely made up.
Health is a resource we all have access to in varying amounts. Barriers to health also vary a lot depending on people’s financial, mental and motivational resources. Socio-economic status, discrimination, weight-stigma, racism, oppression and external control of access to health and health care play a significant role in whether someone can and will use these resources. In addition, physical and mental health can be impacted by upbringing and trauma, which can both have long-lasting implications.
Health should not be a moral obligation, because not everyone can achieve the societal image of health (due to all the reasons mentioned above), and because if it were, then it would be just another form of oppression by prescribing what we have to do. But what is often forgotten here is that even if we did all the things that supposedly make us ‘healthier’, they may not work. And then what? We feel guilty and ashamed for not managing to be that ‘picture of health’. And that’s not going to make us feel any ‘healthier’.