You probably don’t need to be told that living a life of good health requires more than just taking a vitamin every day. A healthy life requires intention, commitment, and discipline. By taking deliberate steps you can live your best life right now.
Here’s how to get started.
Eat more whole foods and less processed food.
A recent study published in The Lancet found that 20% of deaths across the globe could be linked to poor diet. It’s common knowledge that many of the chronic illnesses that we see today such as diabetes and hypertension are often the result of dietary and lifestyle habits. Moving away from processed foods and incorporating more whole, fresh foods into your diet will reward you with better health.
Get some zzz’s.
Everyone knows that sleep is important, yet many people don’t get the sleep their bodies need. Prolonged sleep deprivation can lead to illness, obesity, depression, and other conditions. If you aren’t sure how many hours of sleep you need a night, the CDC offers guidelines broken down by age. Concentrate on getting not just enough hours of sleep a night, but sleep quality is important as well.
Manage your stress.
Stress is everywhere — and it can have a serious impact on your health. A report by the American Psychological Association, Stress in America 2019, cited mass shootings (71%) and health care (69%) as the most significant sources of stress for Americans. However, work, family concerns, finances, and health are all major stressors as well. While you may not be able to eliminate certain stress sources from your life, you can learn how to manage it better — and better manage your reaction to it. Meditation, counseling, creative outlets, exercise, and spiritual activities are all great ways to help with this growing health concern.
Find your work-life balance.
Finding the balance between your work and your life can be tricky. There is no set standard; it differs for each person. If you live in the United States though, achieving a work-life balance could be a daunting task. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development published their Better Life Index for 2019 and found that the U.S. ranks number 11 for the countries with the worst work-life balance.
See your doctor.
Regular doctor office visits and routine medical exams are vital to ensuring good health. Unfortunately, many Americans don’t get the medical care that they need. Some just can’t seem to get around to it and others can’t afford it. According to the CDC, 70% of deaths in the U.S. are caused by chronic illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Regular medical exams can help prevent and manage these diseases, especially if you are one of the 50% of Americans who have been diagnosed with one. Regular medical care is something that you need to find a way to fit into your schedule.
See your dentist.
More than half of people in the United States do not get regular dental care including check-ups and cleanings. It is vital to your health though. Numerous studies have linked poor oral health, especially gum disease, to chronic illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes, and stroke as well as low birth weight and premature births. Yes, it’s a pain and not much fun, but don’t neglect your chompers — your health depends on it.
Take time for family and friends.
Human beings are social creatures. Some more so than others, but still social to some degree. Spending time with family and friends will benefit your health physically and mentally. Scientific evidence has shown that social relationships definitely affect your health, including encouraging better health habits and even lowering your mortality risk. So, make sure you carve out time for your friends and family on a regular basis.
Take a nap.
Listening to your body and giving it what it needs when it needs it will improve your health and how you perform on your job and at home. A NASA sleep study found that a nap of just 40 minutes resulted in 100% increased alertness and 34% improved performance. Just don’t nap too late in the day because it may impact your ability to get a good night’s sleep by disrupting your sleep patterns.
Drink your water.
Drinking water is essential to good health, there’s no denying it. Yet most Americans are dehydrated. Even low-level dehydration can cause digestion problems, headaches, migraine, impaired cognitive function, obesity, and more. You get about 20% to 30% of your water intake from the food you eat – provided it is relatively healthy with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. The remaining 70% to 80% of your fluid comes from actual fluid intakes such as water, tea, and other beverages. Caffeine can cause dehydration so opt for caffeine-free teas. Also, watch your soda consumption. Most are loaded with sugar and sodium and are not conducive to properly hydrating the body.
Taking time for your health is one of the best things you can do for yourself. When you’re taking care of everything and everyone else, make sure you take time for yourself. Sometimes that means hiring an expert health coach to help you along the way like IAW member, Georgina Salgado Chavez. She spent over 10 years studying traditional and alternative approaches to wellness and is a published author of a weight loss book you can buy here.