Let’s play a game (and we promise it doesn’t involve balls, bats, or scorecards)! Try to think back to the last time that you sat in silence and were aware of your body, your presence, and your surroundings—a moment where you turned off your computer, forgot about that ever-growing to-do list, and ignored the incoming slew of text messages. For most of us, this is “game over” before the first pitch is thrown.
When it comes to taking time to be aware of ourselves and our needs, we are fighting a losing battle. From work to home, friends to family, and bills to babies, our lives are busier than the NYC streets during UN week. Awareness of anything (except the ticking clock) is nearly impossible to achieve. But in reality, awareness of yourself and your body is the battery that makes your clock tick. Without a reboot or an occasional repair (aka a day off and a check-up with your doctor), the system won’t run.
While most of us view awareness on a personal level (my leg hurts, my car won’t start, or my sink is leaking), awareness has many “faces.” It can be public or private, professional or personal, physical or mental. You can focus on being aware of your partner’s needs as well as the stranger seated next to you on the train all in the same minute.
For us as physicians, awareness denotes prevention, particularly screening for a disease process. And when it comes to screening, there may be nothing more near and dear to our hearts as OB/GYNS and as women than breast cancer screening. In our world, October means a whole lot more than costumes and candy; it’s the month we dedicate to breast cancer awareness and highlight the important of breast screening. We don our pink, and we push women to be aware of their bodies, especially their breasts.
Although awareness may not equal A+ health (unfortunately bad things happen to the healthiest of us) and eternal happiness, being cognizant of yourself, both your body and your mind, will move you much closer to that better place. Try to take time every day (even if just while brushing your teeth!) to be aware of yourself and of your body (#mindfulness). Be aware of what brings you up and who brings you down, what makes you feel good, and who makes you feel badly.
And while we may assign months to awareness of different body parts (#October=BreastCancer), we at Truly, MD, urge you to assign minutes of each day to awareness of yourself. Whatever it takes to take the tick out of the tock—do it. And while you may never actually stop to “smell the roses,” or appreciate the sun as it rises and sets, you might see something in a new light. And who knows, it might even look better that way.