There is no right time to kickstart a healthy lifestyle. There will always be something to make our decision to live a healthier lifestyle a challenge.
It is a fallacy to think it will easier when COVID-19 is under control, the threat of getting sick has gone, when our job is secure, when we start working from the office again, when our kids go back to school. There are heaps of when’s!
Decide you want to make the change then believe in yourself and you will.
What is a Healthy Lifestyle?
The World Health Organisation defines a healthy lifestyle as:
A way of living that lowers the risk of being seriously ill or dying early. Not all diseases are preventable but a large portion of deaths, particularly those from coronary heart disease and lung cancer can be avoided. Scientific studies have identified certain types of behaviour that contribute to the development of noncommunicable diseases and early death.
Health is not just about avoiding disease. It is also about physical, mental, and social wellbeing. When a healthy lifestyle is adopted a more positive role model is provided for other people in the family particularly children.
What do I need to change to live a Healthy Lifestyle?
Clean eating is a way of eating that focuses on natural, mostly unprocessed foods. When we talk about diet, we’re not talking about the latest and greatest weight loss program. In this case, we’re talking about a way of eating. The focus with a clean diet is on fruits, vegetables, meats, and gains in their most natural, unprocessed form.
Instead of eating pizza, pasta, bread and fried chicken, a clean diet consists of meals like steamed broccoli and grilled chicken, omelet’s, homemade chili or steak, baked potato, and a side salad. In essence, it’s going back to how we used to eat before there was a fast-food restaurant at every corner and grocery stores packed with processed foods and meals ready to heat and serve.
The idea behind clean eating is to get back to consuming fresh, mainly unprocessed foods that contain their full nutritional value. As an added bonus they aren’t stuffed full of preservatives, additives and flavour enhancers. The main reason for choosing to stick to a clean diet is to eat healthier.
If you are going to have the best chance of improving your lifestyle by changing your habits, an area that most of us overlook is the amount of sleep we get at night. If you are you a shift worker you may have difficulty managing to establish a sleep pattern? There are so many factors that can affect the amount and quality of sleep we get, like snoring, our partner snoring, our age, work hours, anxiety related to work, poor sleep hygiene or no self-care routine, strenuous exercise before going to bed. The lack of and inability to sleep causes its own stress and this sets up a cycle of anxiety.
Take the time to monitor your sleep patterns and seek professional assistance if required to ensure you have healthy sleep hygiene habits.
You may be advised to have a Sleep Apnoea Test.
The data from the Sleep Apnoea Test will include information about your sleep, such as:
- How long you spend in each sleep stage
- How often you wake up
- Whether you stop breathing or have trouble breathing
- Whether you snore
- Body position
- Limb movements
- Unusual brain activity patterns
Management of your sleep issues (if any) will then be attended to by your health professional.
Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices.
Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.
We can monitor our own mental health by being aware of our thoughts and feelings, moods and behaviour in relation to our environment, family and social interactions.
If you identify that there are excesses or deficits in your behaviours, inability to manage your mood or other signs or symptoms you are unable to manage contact a Health Professional or seek help from your Doctor.
Your mental health can be affected by so many issues, for example: from your day to day interactions, diet, motivation or feelings of self worth.
Get regular exercise. Exercise is not a “one size fits all” situation. Take the time to think about what type of exercise you like to do. One of the most important aspects about an exercise routine is to make it enjoyable, you will be more likely to sustain the program is it is enjoyable.
Getting exercise doesn’t have to be a major effort, one of the most enjoyable exercises is to walk. Walking is very low cost and it gets you out in he fresh air and sunshine.
If you are starting an exercise plan ensure you visit your Family Doctor to have a physical check up. It is unwise to start an exercise program if you haven’t exercised for a long time or if you have never exercised. Start slowly to enable your body to get used to moving and your muscles, tendon and ligaments will gradually strengthen. This also refers to attending a yoga session or other exercise program you commence.
Find your Purpose
Having a purpose in life is vitally important. Your purpose is the reason you get up every morning. Life without a clear purpose can get boring and unsatisfying and. lead to bad habits like overeating, smoking drinking alcohol and in some cases poor mental health.
A lack of purpose can result from being recently retired, losing your job or other major events could have caused you to you to loose your sense of connection to your self, family and friends.
Plan to do something meaningful each day to make you want to wake up in the morning and jump out of bed and give you the excitement you have not felt since you were a child. This will give you a sense of direction and create meaning in your life.
It is never too late to take up a new hobby or enrol in a course you have always wanted to do.
Don’t Drink Too Much Alcohol
Similar to tobacco, too much consumption of alcohol brings unwanted health and daily consequences. Some damages include high blood pressure, liver disease, digestive problems, mental health problems, learning and memory issues, and possible consequences leading to death. Although a certain amount of alcohol can be beneficial, controlled drinking is crucial in all situations.
Drink More Water
Hydrating yourself is important to many physical and biological activities and benefits. Some benefits of staying hydrated include weight loss, skin elasticity, mood balance, temperature control, and much more!
A good amount of intake per day for men is roughly about 13 cups (3 liters) and for women is about 9 cups (2.2 liters).
All the best in your pursuit of a Healthy Lifestyle, if I can be of any assistance please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org