What matters most to you? On the pathway to Whole Health, this is the defining question. Whole Health is about treating you, the person. We want to consider the big picture of your life, not just one symptom or challenge.
That’s why we’re encouraging women Veterans to ask themselves this question and take the first step in making health a priority. VA helps women take control of their health and build positive habits for life. By identifying what’s important, you can choose care that fits with your health and well-being priorities.
You don’t have to wait until something is wrong to focus on your well-being. Just ask Patty. After 28 years in the Air National Guard, Patty describes transitioning to civilian life and starting a new job at a VA medical center as “a little scary” and “anxiety provoking.”
“This is really an awesome benefit”
Then she learned about Whole Health. Even though she wasn’t experiencing any big health issues, she attended a Whole Health peer-led group. During a follow-up call, a Whole Health coach strongly encouraged her to meet with a provider.
“I thought, well, I’m going to get someone who isn’t familiar with what I was going to want in the civilian sector.” But to her surprise, “They were fantastic. This is really an awesome benefit for all Veterans.” Having experienced the impact of Whole Health as a Veteran and VA employee, she sees the positive impact it is having on both groups.
Each of us has the power to impact our well-being. Whole Health offers the skills and support you need to make the changes you want. It may include self-care strategies and complementary therapies such as meditation, massage, and yoga, along with your conventional medical care.
Self-care is not something you have to figure out on your own
In the Whole Health approach, you can look at all areas of your life, including areas of strength and aspects where support could be helpful to you. These areas of self-care include:
- Mindful Awareness – Being aware of thoughts and feelings to focus on the present.
- Moving the Body – Exercising and moving for energy, flexibility, and strength.
- Surroundings – Having comfortable, healthy spaces that support your body and emotions.
- Personal Development – Moving toward what matters most to you.
- Food and Drink – Nourishing your body to not only live, but to live well.
- Recharge – Getting enough sleep, rest, relaxation.
- Family, friends, and coworkers – Developing close, loving, supportive relationships with others.
- Spirit and Soul – Cultivating a sense of connection, purpose, and meaning.
- Power of the Mind – Tapping into your ability to heal and cope through mind-body approaches.
Start your Whole Health journey by exploring the Circle of Health to find self-care resources that match your needs: https://www.va.gov/WHOLEHEALTH/circle-of-health/index.asp
To learn more about Whole Health self care, watch VA’s #LiveWholeHealth guided meditation videos.
Story and photo by the VA Office of Patient Centered Care and Cultural Transformation.