Having already started the year off by going vegan, I really want to put a focus on health and wellbeing this year. We’re one month in and I’m already feeling great!
It can sometimes feel like a chore, trying to stay on top of our health, but it’s better to make small changes that have a big impact, than wait until has gone wrong and then hoping a doctor or healthcare professional can help us sort it out. This is coming from someone who is terrified of the doctor and dentist and always ends up putting off going (and it’s not a good thing!).
Sometimes we get so caught up in everyday life, that we forget to take care of ourselves. We’re too busy working or caring for others to ensure that we’re really looking after ourselves as well.
The good news is managing your health is actually pretty simple when you get right down to it. There are lots of very simple things we can do to ensure that we stay in as good health as possible. Here are some very simple steps you can follow to help look after yourself this year.
Drink more water
It’s such a simple thing and you’ve probably heard it a thousand times, but so many of us don’t drink enough water. We drink plenty of coffee, juice, fizzy drinks and gin… but not enough water! This is bad news for our bodies and can leave us feeling dehydrated, tired, hungry and just plain worn down.
Our bodies need water to function well and if you start drinking more of it you will notice that you feel more energetic, less hungry and better able to concentrate amongst other things. Some studies have even shown that drinking a couple of glasses of water can boost metabolism by 30 percent for at least half an hour, which means it could help you lose any excess pounds too, and it’s as easy as turning on the tap!
You knew this was coming, didn’t you? The fact is that humans need to move around if they are to be as healthy as possible, and they need to do this regularly. The minimum you should really be doing is 150 minutes of moderate to intense exercise each week, which equates to just over 21 minutes each day, but you can spread it out however suits you.
This is particularly true for those who have an office job or a job that doesn’t require too much moving around. Especially if you drive too and from work every day!
Exercise help you to maintain a healthy weight, but it also has the added benefit of helping you to stress, relieve anxiety and depression and help you to lengthen your life. Whether you hit the gym or move along to a fitness video on YouTube (I love the Fitness Blender channel), exercising is not optional if you are serious about managing your own health.
Eat a healthy diet
You probably saw this one coming too, but to be fair it is pretty obvious. If you want your body to be fit and your health to be optimum, you really do need to ensure that you are eating right. The best way to achieve this, despite the various fad diets and eating plans on offer, is to eat a wide range of foods from all food groups. Limit the portions to healthy servings and eat more fruit and vegetables than you do red meats and desserts and you can’t go far wrong.
Having recently changed my diet, I’m loving trying out new recipes, dinners, breakfasts and really feeling the benefits of a better diet. So you can make it fun, it doesn’t always have to feel like hard work or like you’re restricting yourself.
Know when you need to see the GP
Although it can sometimes be difficult to understand whether it’s a common cold or something more serious, it’s important you know when to visit your GP or seek advice.
When doing this you should not diagnose yourself or worry that the worst possible scenario given out by Dr Google is what’s wrong with you. An internet search has the ability to turn tonsillitis into the plague, so it’s best to seek actual medical advice before panicking! If you’re not sure, seeing your pharmacist can be a good first step to working things out, if you don’t want to bother your GP unnecessarily.
If you are in any doubt, though, it is important you do make an appointment with your GP because the longer illnesses are left alone, the more serious they are likely to get. I’ve currently got a broken tooth I’ve been putting off for months and the day has finally come where I have to address the problem (and my phobia!).
If you’re one of those people who can never seem to find time to see the GP or get an appointment, a registered online pharmacy or GP service is essential. Whatever you do, don’t just leave things hoping they will get better alone because there’s a good chance they won’t.
Thanks to modern technology, it has never been easier to monitor many aspects of your health that you would have needed to see a doctor to do before. We have Fitbits that can monitor heart-rates, machines that can tell us our blood sugar levels, postal tests that can check our thyroid function, and much more besides.
If you’re serious about taking control of your health, using these self-monitoring tools, especially if you have a known condition, is a great way of keeping on top of your health and ensuring that you can take fast action when any issues do appear.
Manage Your Stress
We all know that stress is horrible, it can be upsetting, exhausting and seemingly never ending. Yet a lot of people simply do not realise how bad stress can be for our overall health. Stress can lead to mental health problems, weight gain, heart problems and difficulty sleeping amongst other things. So it’s fair to say that a large part of managing your health is managing your stress.
There are lots of proven ways to manage stress from mindfulness and meditation to medication, but if you can stick to more natural means like mindfulness, yoga, exercise and a less gruelling schedule, that would be ideal. It’s also important to make sure you have a good work-life balance!
You might want to consider hiring a life coach or therapist to help you get rid of life’s many stresses. As long as you do take steps to manage stress and you do them regularly, you will feel the benefits.
Taking control of your own health and wellbeing can seem daunting, but as you can see, there are some simple steps you can take. Making small changes to your daily routine can make all the difference!