The subject of health has been under the spotlight for the last year. Many of us are on a mission to be fitter, healthier and happier, but how do you go about giving your health a boost? In this guide, we’ll discuss some practical steps you can take to protect and enhance wellbeing.
Exercise is often linked to physical health benefits but it can also supercharge your mental health. If you don’t currently hit the target of 150 active minutes per week, try to increase activity levels gradually and incorporate exercise into your daily routine. You don’t have to go to the gym or spend hours running to get in shape or reap the rewards of a more active lifestyle. You can go for a walk, go hiking, play golf or tennis, swim, kayak, dance, do yoga or join a team and play sports. The options are endless. As long as you’re moving your body and your heart rate rises, you should notice the benefits of a more active lifestyle.
If it’s difficult to find the time to exercise, or you need extra motivation to reach targets, try using activity trackers to increase your step count and active minutes tally, and schedule time for a daily walk, a workout or an exercise class. It’s also a great idea to try and get family and friends involved and to make the most of the time you do have. Even if you only have 20 minutes, for example, you can go for a brisk walk or a jog, do a HIIT session, or get on a spin bike or a treadmill.
Understanding the importance of mental health
Many of us focus our energy and attention on physical health, but mental wellbeing is equally important. We all have mental health, and there are steps we can take to protect ourselves and boost wellbeing. It’s beneficial to start putting your mental health first and to be proactive in trying to improve and enhance your psychological health.
It can sometimes be difficult to diagnose mental health disorders and to figure out whether what you’re feeling is ‘normal’ because there are often no clear or visible signs of injury or harm. If you have back pain, or you’ve injured your leg, for example, you know what is causing the pain and you understand that you might need to take medication, rest up or even have surgery or physical therapy. With mental illness, many of us are less familiar with the symptoms and signs of conditions or deteriorating mental health, and we’re also reluctant to admit that things might not be quite right. It’s essential to try and be open and honest with yourself and to understand that there is help and support available if you need it. From self-help techniques to specialist support for people who may be dealing with addiction at facilities like enterhealth.com, there are steps you can take and people and places to turn to. Feeling anxious or upset is natural if you’re waiting to take a test or you’ve had some bad news, but if you feel on edge all the time or you feel down for weeks or even months, it’s important to take action.
Taking time to rest and recover
Taking time to rest and recharge your batteries should be a priority. Studies suggest that around 25% of the US adult population experiences insomnia. A lack of sleep can be detrimental to physical and mental health. If you don’t get enough sleep, you may find that you have mood swings, you become irritable, your energy levels are low and you are more susceptible to illnesses and infections.
If you have trouble sleeping, it’s beneficial to analyze your sleep routine and consider making changes. If you usually fall asleep on the couch, or you go to bed at 10 o’clock one night and 1 o’clock the next, get into the habit of going to bed and getting up at the same time each day. Make time in the evenings to relax and unwind and set your alarm to make sure that you get enough rest. Your body clock will adjust, and you should find that you start to feel tired before your bedtime and that you feel more alert when your morning alarm goes off.
It’s also important to think about your sleep environment. Ideally, your bedroom should be a serene sanctuary, which makes you feel calm and relaxed. Try to avoid taking phones and tablets into the bedroom or watching TV in bed, make sure it’s quiet and dark, and choose soothing colors. For more useful tips, take a look at this article https://healthysleep.med.harvard.edu/healthy/getting/overcoming/tips.
Focusing on nutrition
When we talk about diets, we usually focus on losing weight. If you want to lose weight, changing your diet will be beneficial, but it’s critical to prioritize nutrition. Healthy eating provides your body with the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients it needs to function effectively. When planning menus and writing shopping lists, include ingredients and search for recipes that will improve and enhance your diet. Increase your intake of whole grains, fruit and vegetables, lean sources of protein and foods that contain essential fats. Limit your consumption of salty and sugary foods.
Try to cook at home as much as possible. If you’re short on time, use the Internet to find quick, healthy recipes and prepare lunches to take to work the evening before. You can rustle up salads, wraps, soup, fresh pasta and stir fry dishes in a matter of minutes. When you cook your own meals, you have control of the ingredients and you can also regulate portion control if you are trying to lose weight.
Health has dominated the headlines for months, and many of us are looking for ways to improve and protect our health and wellbeing. If you’re eager to start embracing a healthier lifestyle and making wellbeing a priority, try to increase your activity levels, pay attention to mental health, ensure you get enough rest and boost your nutrition.