Good health is essential if we want to live our best lives. But if we’re going to achieve it, we need to be proactive. We live in a time where we are making remarkable steps forward in medicine and health care, yet lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and some cancers are on the increase.
The experts tell us there are many reasons for this disturbing trend and at the core, is our lifestyle. We’ve forgotten how to prevent sickness.
Prevention isn’t just about what we do or don’t put into our bodies; it’s also about examining our behaviours. Good health is a combination of physical, mental and social wellbeing. So, let’s take a look four ways we can live from a place of prevention.
One of the most powerful things you can do for your health is to sleep. In our current culture, lack of sleep is worn as a badge of honour. But so much good stuff for your body happens while you’re asleep – you really can’t afford to skip it.
Think you’re too busy to sleep? You’re too busy not to! While you may think pulling late nights and early mornings are a great way to get through your work, doing it consistently will make you far less productive. There’s a reason why many of the top brands in the world let their employees take power naps through the day – it makes you so much more effective and efficient!
So, how much sleep is enough? According to the sleep foundation, the average adult should get anywhere from 7-9 hours sleep a night. Sure, it will vary person to person, but don’t go convincing yourself that you need a lot less than this.
If you struggle to sleep here are a few tips to help:
- Put tech away an hour before bed (that’s TV, phone, tablet – the works) and keep your phone away from your bed (ideally in another room) to remove the temptation
- Avoid coffee, energy drinks and any other stimulants that will keep you awake
- Get into a bedtime routine by consistently going to bed at a set time
- Make sure your bedroom is a clean, dark, quiet and comfortable environment
Fuel your body
We all know we need to eat healthily, and I believe deep down, we all want to, but if there is one thing that stops us its time. Sound familiar? It’s a catch 22. We need the right fuel in our body to have the energy to do everything our crazy schedules require of us. Still, at the same time, those crazy schedules don’t allow us the preparation and cooking time we need to prepare the healthy food we so desperately need.
That’s where prioritising comes in. I love the quote, “If you don’t make time for wellness, you’ll need to make time for illness.” It’s so true, but we also need to work with the time we have.
Struggling to make time for healthy eating? Here are a few tips to help:
- Schedule in a batch cook up to make healthy meals and snacks you can freeze, it ensures you’re still nourishing your body with minimal prep.
- Meal prep every Saturday/Sunday, so you’re ready for the week. Do up fruit bags for your smoothies and package up your healthy snacks, so they are ready to grab on the run.
- Package your lunch up the night before, so you don’t miss making it if you’re in a rush the next day.
- Eat well at dinner, but not at lunch? Why not take advantage of the leftovers? Cook up extra tonight to ensure you have lunch organised for tomorrow.
Many of us sit at a computer all day and hardly move, but our bodies weren’t designed for that. If nothing else, at least set a timer on your phone to get up and move every 30 minutes. Ideally, though, you need to schedule in at least 20 minutes of exercise a day.
This could be cardio and weights at the gym, a game of basketball, soccer or netball, Yoga or Pilates, a bike ride with the kids or a walk or run around the neighbourhood – find what you enjoy doing and get moving. The more you enjoy it, the more likely you will keep at it.
Find it challenging to get your exercise in through the day? Here are some tips to help:
- Take the stairs instead of the lift and (if you can) walk up the escalator instead of being stationary.
- Walk at a quicker pace than you usually would to get your heart rate up.
- Stretch at the computer, shrug your shoulders up and down, move your neck around, stretch your arms up – there is no reason you can’t keep moving even when you’re sitting.
- There are no rules to say we need to sit down around tables while meeting with colleagues or clients, so why not take your meetings outside and walk as you chat?
- While you’re waiting at the printer or photocopier, do calf raises where you stand up on your tiptoes and come back to your flat feet.
- Take a walk at lunch, not only will the exercise do you good, but the fresh air will too!
It’s all in your attitude
Sometimes, life happens. It’s meant to. This whole thing about life being easy? It just isn’t true. As humans, we learn when things are hard and when we are forced out of our comfort zone – we need the pain and adversity to grow. That’s why we need to keep our attitude in check when the going gets tough.
One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned throughout my life is that happiness is a choice. It’s no-one else’s responsibility except yours. If you’re the kind of person that is looking to everyone else or everything else to make you happy, you’re going to be sorely disappointed.
If keeping a positive attitude is a challenge, here are a few tips:
- Start practising gratitude, start small if you need to – a warm bed, clothes on your back, food in your belly – those three things already make you better off than most people in this world.
- Find your joy; these are the little things that bring you moments of happiness, and often you’ll find these moments link back to your childhood wonder – fireworks, balloons, a rainbow, sand between your toes. For me, it’s surfing. Find your joy and figure out a way to incorporate it into your daily routine to have something to look forward to.
- Find happy people to hang around with; positivity is contagious.
Want to find out more ways that you can live a life of prevention? Contact Jen to book in a free 30-minute consultation.