The subject of health is at the forefront of most of our minds at the moment. The pandemic has encouraged many to try and embrace a healthier lifestyle, but what does being healthy actually mean? In this guide, we’ll discuss the fundamentals of healthy living and offer some simple tips to help you boost your health and wellbeing.
Many of us automatically think about our bodies when the topic of health comes up in conversation. The definition of health covers physical, mental and social wellbeing. While it is hugely beneficial to focus on your body, it’s also essential to prioritize mental health and wellbeing. Just as we are proactive in trying to reduce risks or prevent conditions, such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes by exercising frequently and eating well, we can protect our mental health. Try to identify triggers for stress and anxiety, use self-help techniques and tools and resources to manage stress, and practise self-care. Look after your body and mind, spend time doing activities you enjoy and seeing people who make you feel good. Make time for exercise, get out into the fresh air and ensure you get enough sleep.
One of the golden rules of protecting and nourishing mental health is seeking advice or help when you experience symptoms of a mental health disorder, or you struggle to cope during or in the aftermath of traumatic or challenging times. Speaking to close friends, family members or seeking professional help from a therapist or counselor can help. It’s also possible to explore treatment options such as rapid resolution therapy or cognitive behavioural therapy. There is still a stigma attached to mental health, but it is important to reach out if you are struggling. Mental health disorders are common, affecting 1 in 5 people in any given year in the US. You should never feel embarrassed or ashamed to ask for advice.
Changing your lifestyle can have a dramatic impact on your physical health, as well as your mental wellbeing. The most effective modifications include increasing activity levels, eating a healthy, balanced diet and ensuring you get enough sleep.
Experts recommend 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week. If you have a sedentary lifestyle, try to incorporate daily exercise into your routine and gradually increase the number of active minutes. Using an activity tracker is a great way to monitor progress and motivate you to get out and about and become more active. You can set yourself a step target or try to hit 30 active minutes per day, for example. Try different activities and make exercise fun. You don’t have to jog for hours or go to the gym if these options don’t appeal to you. You can play team sports, go hiking or cycling, try water sports, join exercise classes, work out at home or even take up a new hobby like dancing, swimming, playing golf or trampolining.
Regular exercise is an effective means of improving sleep quality, but it’s also beneficial to establish an evening routine, which allows time for relaxation. Go to bed and get up at the same time each day and use your evenings to wind down. When adjusting your diet, use a food diary to analyze your nutrient intake, moderate sugar, salt and saturated fat consumption and try to vary your menu. Add an array of different fruits and vegetables, opt for whole-grain products when possible and try to avoid snacking to protect your dental health.
Many of us are trying to pay more attention to our health in the wake of the pandemic. If you’re on a mission to supercharge your health and wellbeing, bear these tips in mind.