Are you feeling tired, or run down? Certain factors that contribute to health can have a huge impact on your quality of life, and they play a crucial role in maintaining optimal levels of health.
Focusing on just one or two factors can make a dramatic difference in how you feel.
Here are my top five steps to a healthier you:
1. Adopt a Healthy Diet
Eating a healthy, well-balanced diet is perhaps the single most important thing you can do to maintain good health. And no, I’m not referring to trendy diets or reducing your caloric intake! The one size fits all diet approach is not conducive to health. In fact, dieting can do more harm than good!
To ensure you are getting enough nutrients from the food you eat, add in plenty of leafy greens and fresh fruit and vegetables to your diet. Organic locally grown fruits and vegetables are best because they contain higher amounts of essential nutrients and they don’t contain all those nasty chemicals which are often sprayed on conventionally grown food.
Sometimes making the smallest diet modifications can reap significant results. So next time you reach for convenience food, ask yourself if what you are eating is going to have a positive impact on your overall health.
Including at least one raw meal a day, eating natural carbohydrates such as potatoes and sweet potatoes, limiting your intake of sugar, coffee and alcohol and avoiding processed foods or foods that contain artificial colours, flavours, sweeteners or preservatives could save you money in the long run from sick days off work and doctor’s fees.
2. Get Enough Sleep
Sleep plays a vital role in your physical health and emotional wellbeing. During sleep, your body is working to maintain healthy brain function and it is involved in the healing repair of your heart and blood vessels. The National Sleep Foundation suggests that adults need at least 7-9 hours of sleep every night. Ongoing sleep deficiency is linked to a range of health conditions including anxiety and depression so you must ensure you get enough sleep.
Follow these easy steps to ensure a good night’s sleep:
- Set your alarm and get up at the same time each day- do not sleep in!
- Limit caffeine after lunch.
- Avoid taking naps during the day.
- Try to carry out at least one physical activity each day.
- Set your bedtime and be strict about sticking to your routine! E.g.; in bed by 11 pm and wake up at 7 am (8 hours sleep is the optimal time an average adult needs)
- Avoid eating or exercising close to your bedtime.
- Go outside and look at the setting sun. The orange hues in a sunset send signals, through the ganglion cells in your eye’s retinas, to the SCN which is your body’s “master clock.” This helps with circadian rhythms.
- Avoid exposure to blue light at least an hour before bedtime. That means no computer, cell-phone, I Pad or television. Reading a book is a good alternative! Alternatively; Download the software f.lux to your computer. It automatically reduces blue light from your computer.
- To create a relaxing bedtime routine, take a warm bath, drink a cup of chamomile tea, play relaxing music, burn candles or aromatherapy.
- Dim the light in your bedroom.
Enjoy a restful night’s sleep!
3. Drink Plenty of Water
Water is a vital need for human beings. It makes up over two-thirds of our body weight and it is responsible for a variety of functions that keep us alive and healthy. Yet, most of us don’t drink enough water which leaves us chronically dehydrated.
The amount of water we need varies from person to person and depends on the climate and activity level. However, I recommend drinking a MINIMUM of 8 glasses of water each day!
Water can also aid in weight-loss. Studies have shown that when participants drink water before a meal they feel fuller and lose weight faster than those who did not drink water. Water also helps to flush toxins and waste from the body, often increasing energy levels.
To activate your water, squeeze the juice of half a lemon or lime!
It’s medically proven that people who regularly exercise are at a lower risk of developing heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, osteoarthritis, dementia, depression and cancer. Regular exercise can even lower your risk of early death by 30 percent! So whatever your age scientific evidence suggests regular daily movement can lead to a healthier, happier, and longer life.
To set yourself up for success, it’s important to choose an exercise regime that is right for you. It could mean that you might start walking or cycling instead of using the car to get around, which can make a significant difference in your overall health and wellbeing.
It’s important to be realistic around your fitness goals and expectations so that you feel motivated rather than setting yourself up to fail.
Things to consider when choosing a fitness routine;
- What type of exercise would best fit into your lifestyle?
- What are the costs involved in maintaining a regular fitness practice?
- What time do you currently have spare to engage in physical activity? You may need to adjust your schedule to create the time to exercise.
- How committed are you to achieving your fitness goals?
- Are there any barriers that are stopping you from exercising? If so what can you do to overcome them?
Eliminating stress is a vital component to health and wellbeing. Stress can trigger a wide range of physiological responses within the body which can lead to ill health. So, it’s important to foster the habits of good self-care.
Here are a few of my favourite ways to de-stress;
- Take regular time out just for you. A recent study featured in the American Chemical Society Journal Environmental Science & Technology proves that being in nature can improve our mental health and wellbeing. If life becomes too busy, it is crucial to allow yourself the time to take rest by going outside, reconnecting with the earth, and getting some much-needed vitamin D from the sun. Taking a trip away and filling your lungs with fresh air is sometimes all you may need. Giving yourself the time to reflect, quite often illuminates what is happening in your life that is causing you stress so that you can take the necessary steps to reduce stress.
- Cultivating mindfulness through a daily meditation practice can give the opportunity to reconnect with your true self, away from the busyness of the mind and it can promote feelings of peace, harmony, and joy.
- Surrounding yourself with happy positive people who uplift and support you can improve your sense of wellbeing.
- Pampering yourself with a massage, foot spa, or a facial can increase feel-good hormones culminating in a reduction of stress.
I hope these simple steps inspire you to adopt healthier habits so you can be the best version of YOU!
You CAN have the health that you want and live life to the fullest.
In Health & Happiness,