It’s imperative that we do whatever we can to maintain our physical, mental and emotional health, yet sometimes it all just seems too hard. In fact, it’s not really that hard when we break it down into these four basic parts:
Have regular check-ups
Eat the right foods
Move your body every day
Look after your mental health
Ok, I know that seems a bit too simplified, so we’ll break it down even more.
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Have regular check-ups The first and most important is to get regular check-ups from your health professional. Prevention is easier than damage control later. Health professionals are not just there for when we’re feeling poorly and need a sick certificate, but most of us don’t ever think about preventative visits aside from pap tests and mammograms (when we’re reminded). Pencil in to your diary or calendar to have a yearly check-up regardless.
If the current information overload about diet (what’s now good for us and what’s now bad) is leaving you confused, the best advice of all is to listen to your health professional or see a dietitian. They will be able to sort fact from hype and advise you of what’s right for you.
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Eat the right foods As your health professional will advise you, the closer your food is to its original (natural) state, the healthier it is, so try to choose the less processed option as often as possible. After that, it’s all about balance. There’s nothing wrong with occasional treat foods as long as they are kept as treats. Don’t deny yourself small pleasures but don’t forget there is also pleasure in knowing you’re doing the right thing by your body. Try sticking to all the right foods during the week and save the treats for the weekend.
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Move your body every day Any exercise is better than none. You don’t have to be a sporting person or a gym member to get an adequate amount of exercise, nor do you need to outlay money on the latest and greatest ab-machine - just do two simple things:
Walk - just a little each day and build it up. You will find that it becomes an enjoyable habit.
Play - there are plenty of fun fitness activities that are not competitive or costly. If you have children or grand-children you have a ready-made source of play-exercise. The internet is a goldmine of playful exercises, such as dance workout videos on YouTube.
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Look after your mental health Stress, responsibility, a feeling of helplessness or of being trapped in a situation – all of these can trigger depression or anxiety. Self-care is paramount. We must find ways to make our daily life easier to cope with – simplifying routines, taking time out, getting our responsibilities under control – we need to make sure we are living the life we want for ourselves. Fresh air and exercise are important for clearing the head and producing endorphins that lift our mood.
If things are feeling a little out of control, seek help. There is no shame in admitting that we're not coping, and there are caring professionals who can guide us back on track.