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The Recession and Your Health

The Canadian Medical Association says that 25% of Canadians are adversely affected in how they take care of their health, due to the economy. "The economic crisis is having an influence on the health of many people. This is something we were not expecting," said outgoing CMA president Dr. Robert Ouellet.

I am surprised that THEY are surprised!

As of last month there were more than 1.5 million people unemployed in Canada! These are people without a salary ... but they are also without benefits packages.

The people who still have jobs are worried (a) that they might get laid off; (b) that their company might not make it through the recession and (c) that even if they are not laid off they might be asked to take a pay cut.

If you have a business then you have seen the decimation first hand, have perhaps had to lay people off, find ways to cut costs, renegotiate contracts with clients and suppliers. You may even have lost your company, entered bankruptcy, lost all of your worldly assets under a debt load too great to carry.

Every second article in the newspaper for the last year has harped on about the recession, the job losses, the coming job losses, the worldwide issues and how long it will take to recover.

Why would any of this affect how people take care of themselves? Here are a few:

1. If you are worried about money you will cut back on non-essentials ... visits to the dentist, new glasses, vitamins, elective surgeries will all suffer.
2. If you have increased stress then it will affect your health. Who has NOT had increased stress?
3. For many people their reaction to stress is to (a) eat more (bad stuff); (b) spend more time worrying; (c) spend less time exercising.
4. People will have foregone vacations ... because they can't afford them, but the positive affects of vacations are then lost too, adding to the impact on health.

The impact of this recession will continue to be felt economically for some time yet, but at the human level I think that even the most resilient of us will need to be very diligent in finding a way to recharge the batteries and get our health back in order!

Three years ago I wrote a series of blog entries about health and fitness for executives. There is something here for everyone ... check them out, maybe these could help in that "post recession" road to health recovery!

The Healthy Executive

The Healthy Executive - part 2 - Diet

The Healthy Executive - Part 3 - Exercise

The Healthy Executive - Part 4 - Sleep