Many health conscious women used to be called health nuts. When I was in high school in Denver, Colorado in the mid-1970s, I was considered a health nut.

self-care

Do you remember how unusual it was then to choose to run around the school track, insist on organic produce, or bake your own whole wheat bread? This was self-care when it felt socially abnormal.

After I surprised my friends with my love of cracked grains and voluntary sweating, I entered a new level of health nut territory when I purchased my first pair of Birkenstocks. I have not changed much in the past 40 years, or so I’d like to think, and I have a lot of new company now when it comes to living a self-care lifestyle.

Self-care is a big part of the coaching programs I teach through Holland Health Coaching. In some circles, “self-care” is code for afternoons spent at the luxury spa or a nice lunch out with best friends. In other social circles, self-care is how we address the rising cost of health care. Like in my younger days, many women are responding to changes in the health care system by dealing with their physical problems without professional assistance of any kind, and it may be paying off. A University of Wisconsin study found that self-caring persons spent 26% less on hospital bills and 19% less on physicians’ services.

Are you in this new wave of wellness seekers? What are some of the health-related self-care practices that are newly popular in 2017? Have you noticed a resurgence of self-care behaviors in your circle of friends or family–behaviors not limited to the well or the wealthy?

self-careThe self-care health market, the industry I practice in as a holistic health coach, has become one of the fastest growing segments of our economy. Think about all the gym memberships, athleisure clothing (new word: athletic/leisure clothing), home-based diagnostic tests for chronic illnesses, and other new resources we can choose among.

It is also interesting to think about all the standard American foods and pastimes that have now adopted to this new health consciousness! That wheat bread I used to bake…is everyone now gluten free or grain adverse? I am seeing evidence of all these new options in my We are Women at Wellness group.

Many of my coaching clients rarely see their primary care physicians any longer. If they want a cholesterol test, they order it by mail. If they need to talk to their doctor, they send her an email and that may trigger a virtual appointment over Skype. Are we now entering the New Health Care System? A system that is built around the individual, the family, the home, and Google? Are we ready to dismiss the old health care system built around the doctor, the hospital, and the neighborhood clinic? Does a leaning in the direction of this New way make us Health Nuts once again?

Do you know what baby boomer hippies need? A growing number of us need health care at home. As the population of 50+ Americans from all walks of life are swelling in number, another aspect of our changing health care system is the growing need for Health Care at Home. Some folks in this situation want care from professionals in white coats. Others want to continue leaning toward home-based remedies and alternative sensibilities to wellness. Will those who have become accustomed to the tools of self-care to promote wellness–like running shoes, organic foods, and relaxation tapes–want to now depend on wheel chairs pushed by strangers, frozen industrial foods warmed in microwaves, and chaotic group homes?

I wonder where all my friends who watched me run around that track after school are now? I’ll bet many of them–perhaps most of them–are seeking wellness, too! I hope so.