We all know that we need to look after ourselves, but our health can easily fall down the pecking order when we’re busy and we’ve got other commitments. If you’re worried that you’re neglecting your health, you don’t have to overhaul your lifestyle.
There are some very easy ways to take better care of your body and mind.
Aim to be more active
Exercise is one of the most effective tonics for mental and physical health. Being active reduces the risk of a host of conditions ranging from heart disease, dementia, type 2 diabetes, and some types of cancer to anxiety and depression.
The best news is that small steps can make a big difference. Even if you only have 20 minutes to go for a walk during your lunch break or half an hour for a yoga or spin class after work, this will boost your health and well-being.
Try to hit a weekly target of 150 minutes and adopt positive lifestyle changes, such as walking instead of driving or using your evenings and weekends to enjoy active pursuits.
Have fun with exercise. Go for a family bike ride, take a soccer ball to the park or go dancing classes with friends. Exercise doesn’t have to be a chore.
Don’t bury your head if you’re in pain or you feel unwell
Be honest. How often do you ignore symptoms or avoid going to the doctor if you feel unwell? Sometimes, when we have minor ailments, we recover quickly without the need for treatment, but this is not always the case.
If you’re struggling with pain, you have symptoms that don’t go away or get worse, or you feel out of sorts, don’t plod on in silence. Speak to your doctor, seek advice from pain management experts or open up to friends or a therapist if you’ve been feeling anxious or low.
Burying your head can make symptoms worse and increase stress and anxiety levels. There is almost always a solution, and you’ll feel better once you know what you’re dealing with and what can be done to ease or eradicate your symptoms.
Recognize the importance of sleep
Over a third of US adults don’t get enough sleep, according to statistics from the Sleep Foundation. We all experience sleepless nights occasionally, but if you don’t get enough sleep most nights, this will take its toll on your health.
Sleep deprivation elevates the risk of stress, anxiety, and depression, it compromises immunity, impacts your mood and energy levels and it can put you at greater risk of heart attacks and obesity. Recognize the importance of sleep and assess your current routine.
If you’re only getting a few hours of sleep per night, make changes. Set yourself a bedtime, make sure your bedroom is comfortable, quiet, dark and calming, and give yourself time to prepare for sleep before you go to bed.
If you check emails, use social media, watch films that stimulate your mind, or drink caffeinated drinks late at night, for example, you’ll find it hard to sleep. Bring your heart rate down and relax. Read, listen to a chilled-out playlist, meditate or run a nice bubble bath.
As well as changing your routine and enhancing your sleep environment, exercising is also beneficial for sleep. If you still have trouble sleeping after trying self-help solutions, see your doctor.
Nourish your mental health
Many of us are proactive when it comes to protecting our bodies, but we don’t do enough to nourish our minds. We all have mental health and there are things we can do to reduce the risk of psychological disorders and boost contentment and happiness.
Simple steps like avoiding stress triggers, spending more time outdoors, making time for hobbies, and surrounding yourself with people who make you feel great can make a huge difference.
Think carefully about what brings you joy and focus on those activities, people, or places. Perhaps you love being in nature, you’re passionate about travel, or you feel happiest when you’re with your family or close friends, for example.
Maybe you love the idea of helping others, you feel most content when you’re reading a book or you enjoy the buzz of being in a big group. Plan your time according to what makes you happy. Resist the temptation to make choices or decisions based on what’s popular on social media or what others enjoy.
If you’ve got a lot on your plate, or you feel like you’re chasing your tail, your health may fall down your list of priorities. Many of us don’t appreciate our health until we don’t feel well.
Try to protect your body and mind. There are some very easy ways to take better care of your health. Move more, make sure you get enough sleep, seek advice if you don’t feel good or you’re in pain, and recognize the importance of mental well-being as well as physical health.