5 Things My Health Crisis Taught Me

When comedian Tumi Morake suffered a minor heart attack back in 2015, the funny girl realised it was time to get serious about wellness. Here’s what she learnt from the experience.

1. You can’t pour from an empty cup

“It’s ironic, isn’t it? We insist on our kids getting enough sleep and taking their vitamins but aren’t nearly as vigilant about maintaining our own healthy habits. My husband and I often argued about my tendency to grab my meals on the run,” Tumi says. “I always thought I had no other option, but in truth it makes no sense to take care of everyone else’s health when you’re not looking after your own.” 

2. Sleep is crucial

Tumi says she’d never slept as much as she did while recuperating in hospital – and the experience was life-changing. In fact, she decided she’d keep up the habit long after she recovered. “I know many people consider a midday nap to be the ultimate indulgence, but I’d argue that everyone can sneak 15 minutes of shut-eye into their day.”

3. You’re not only as old as you feel

“I remember the first time a doctor told me my body would change once I reached a certain age – and I was like ‘Huh? What age?’ But the truth is, even if you feel good, you do need to take care. It’s like having a car that looks really, really good on the outside, while the engine is falling to pieces.” The bottom line: you might think it’s expensive and time-consuming to fuel your body with nutritious food – but it’s a lot less expensive than medical bills.

4. You don’t need to keep pushing

A well-meaning associate once told Tumi that if you keep pushing your body, it gets used to the pressure, so you can keep going. “It was the worst advice I ever received!” Tumi says her body kept sending her “warning emails”, which she ignored – until the last mail came with large, red exclamation marks. “That was my final warning; the one my body simply had to send after its first gentle notifications were disregarded. I didn’t even listen to those around me. The day I collapsed, my producer told me I really wasn’t looking good and should probably have a checkup, but I insisted I could keep going.” Yes, your body can draw on its reserve tanks – but just remember there are no more reserves once you’ve used those up.

5. Be more selfish

Ever noticed how kids aren’t afraid to do exactly what their bodies tell them to do, even if it means others might be inconvenienced? Granted, as adult our issues are a little more complex than demanding a sandwich this very minute, but the premise is the same: you need to honour what you’re feeling at the time. Relationships are an excellent example: “Often, when your phone rings, you just know that once you’ve finished the conversation with that particular relative or friend, you’ll be left holding all their monkeys – so they may feel better, but you’ll be drained. I’ve decided I’ll take no more of that: I love myself so much that I’m not going to put myself through it. It might be a little selfish, but that’s actually a good thing.” Our reluctance to spend money on ourselves is a symptom of the same condition. We don’t hesitate to spoil our kids or our friends, but most of us balk at investing the same amount of time or money on something that would improve our wellbeing, like a massage. Again, it’s about honouring yourself enough to make health a priority. 

Image Credit: Kevin Mark Pass

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