4 Easy Steps To Put Your Health and Well-Being First

When life gets hectic and there are other things to worry about like taking care of children and getting work done, it can be easy to lose sight of the importance of looking after yourself. Often, we take our health for granted. If you’re keen to start putting your health first, here are some steps you can take to make your health and well-being a priority.

woman on exercise ball

Move More

Inactivity is one of the most significant risk factors for cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and some forms of cancer. Living an active lifestyle offers benefits for both physical and mental health. If you don’t hit the weekly target of 150 minutes of moderate exercise, it’s a good idea to try and increase your activity levels. You don’t have to join a gym or spend hours running around the park or lifting weights to get fitter and reap the rewards of regular exercise. You can try all kinds of activities, from golf, tennis, swimming and cycling to dancing, climbing, kayaking, hiking and home workouts. If you’re new to exercise, try and build up your fitness gradually, increasing the duration or the intensity of your sessions as you get stronger.

Have fun with exercise, get friends and family involved and try and make physical activity part of your daily routine. If you don’t feel confident joining an exercise class or going to the gym, you can follow online workouts at home, invest in home gym equipment, or tune into virtual training sessions. As well as making a concerted effort to exercise more, you can also make simple changes to your everyday life, including walking or cycling instead of taking the car out and using the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator.

Watch What You Eat

Your diet is crucial for optimum health and well-being. We tend to get carried away talking about our diet in relation to weight loss, but the numbers on the scale are not the only outcome of planning menus and deciding what to eat every day. The most important concern should always be nutrition, as your body is reliant on the food you consume to provide essential nutrients. When you draw up a shopping list, or you think about what you’re going to eat in the coming days, prioritize nutrition. Make sure your diet is healthy and balanced. Aim to eat plenty of different types of fruit and vegetables, cut down on processed, fatty foods, increase your fiber intake and try to stick to main meals. If you tend to live on takeouts, or you eat on the go, and you often rely on snacking, make meals in advance. You can batch cook at the weekends and prepare lunches the night before work.

If you are considering making changes to your diet to try and lose weight, it’s critical to seek medical advice and to take great care when looking at diets and eating plans. If you’ve been looking at juice fasting tips, or you’ve read about celebrity diets or new fads and trends, it’s wise to get a professional opinion. In many cases, fad diets can lead to significant, swift weight loss, but the results are unsustainable, and the diet isn’t healthy. Cutting out food groups can also make you experience cravings. The best way to lose weight safely if you want to drop a couple of pounds is to adopt a healthy, balanced diet and increase your activity levels. These are long-term changes, which will benefit you for years to come.

ingredients for a smoothie

Understand The Importance of Mental Health

If somebody said the word ‘health’ to you, what kinds of images or phrases would pop into your head? For many of us, it would be images of running or tucking into a fruit salad. We tend to automatically think about physical health, but mental well-being is equally important. Mental health should be a priority for everyone. Just as you can take steps to protect and nourish your body, you can also adopt preventative measures to shield and boost your mental health.

Try to reduce and manage stress, take time out to recover and rest, exercise frequently, make sure you get enough sleep, and surround yourself with people who have a positive influence on you. If you have a hectic lifestyle, or you struggle to unwind or switch off, it’s also beneficial to devote time to hobbies and interests. Creative activities can be particularly cathartic if you have difficulty expressing or managing emotions, or you find it hard to wind down. It’s also crucial to understand that there is help out there for mental health conditions in the same way that treatments and therapies are available for physiological illnesses and injuries.

Woman holding a smiley balloon

Get Enough Rest

In the US, around 70% of adults don’t get enough sleep. Most of us can cope with the odd restless night, but if you experience sleep troubles on a regular or an ongoing basis, it can take its toll on your health and your mood. Sleep is vital for enabling the body to heal, rest, and recover. If you don’t get enough sleep, you may be more susceptible to illnesses and infections, you might feel irritable or emotional, your performance at work might suffer, and you may also be more prone to anxiety and stress. One of the simplest and most effective ways to improve your sleep quality is to adjust your routine. Spend part of your evening doing something you find relaxing, set times for going to bed and getting up and avoid checking emails or scrolling through social media feeds late at night. If you get into the habit of going to bed at 11pm and getting up at 6am, for example, your body clock will soon adapt and you should find it easier to get to sleep.

a clock

Many of us feel like we’re juggling a lot of balls at the same time. If you’re working, you’ve got kids, you care for relatives, or you’re studying, it can be difficult to ensure your health comes first. The reality is that taking your health for granted can be hazardous. It’s not possible to prevent every illness, but there are steps you can take to look after yourself and reduce the risk of developing health problems. Make time for physical activity, ensure your diet is balanced and nutritious, prioritize your mental well-being and make sure you get enough rest to allow your body to recover and heal.

Wishing you the very best,

Suzie Carr, novelist

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