Do you know the importance of taking care of your overall health actively? That you are not only observing good general health practices when you feel yourself coming down with a cold or stomach bug? Taking care of your general health should be a continuous process that allows you to continuously improve your physical, emotional and mental health. Most people tend to allow busy career and social lives take over their lives so completely that they barely leave any room to engage in the activities and practices that enhance their general health and allow them to live a healthy lifestyle. However, no more excuses! You can start now and focus on the amazing ways in which you can take care of your health and see both immediate benefits and long-term benefits for your efforts and investment surely do pay off. Living healthy should involve an active life and involve ways that help you not only maintain great general health but also, avoid unnecessary mental and physical health problems.

Simple Ways to Take Charge of Your Health Now

The Right Diet

What you eat contributes to the state of your health. While most people in the haste of achieving their physical goals and mental goals jump at supplements or fad diets that claim to offer the benefits they are looking forward to achieving, the key to a healthy diet is to ensure that it is free of sugar and junk food and has all the healthy foods included in a balanced fashion. Prepping meals is actually a great way to ensure you always eat healthy as you can put helpings of protein, healthy fats, fruits and vegetables in all the meals designed for each day or each breakfast or lunch that you prepare in advance.

According to MyPlate, a nutritional tool by the U.S Department of Agriculture, a healthy diet should lay emphasis on whole grains, varied vegetables and fruits, calcium source such as dairy, fats and oils from nuts, avocado, seeds and fish and lean meat and poultry. It also offers advice on healthy eating. In eating right, the key is to not only eat a healthy diet but also, practice healthy eating habits such as healthy snacking and eating consistently without skipping meals which can lower your blood sugar and bring in an onslaught of physical and mental effects such as fatigue, irritability and anxiety.

Exercise

In a world where most people lead sedentary lives and get little to no exercise, being active can help you avoid the slew of lifestyle diseases such as obesity, depression, cardiovascular-related ailments and other conditions. In fact, exercise has been noted to have a positive effect on mental and emotional health and studies show that it can reduce the risk of diseases such as Alzheimer’s and also help those suffering from anxiety and depression. You do not have to throw yourself into an intense exercise routine, start gradually and you will soon see the great results that exercise yields as you gain strength and endurance.

Start of being active by taking brisk walks in the morning or evening, taking the stairs instead of waiting for the elevator, dancing to music at home or even a simple stroll or jog around your neighborhood. You also do not have to subscribe to a gym membership in order to get in shape. Instead, you can exercise to workout videos which can be sourced from YouTube or public libraries. The goal is to get at least 20 minutes of cardio each day and some form of strength training activity or workout each week.

Benefits of Exercise

  • It helps in reducing stress, depression, anxiety through the feel-good hormones released when your body engages in vigorous activity.
  • It helps improve your sleep.
  • Exercise uplifts your mood and consistent exercise gradually improves your mental health making you less prone to mental health conditions.
  • It builds your physical strength and tones your body helping you achieve the great physique you want.
  • It makes you flexible and great at controlling and coordinating your body during your day-to-day activities.
  • Exercise is a great way to lose weight and maintain that weight loss.
  • On overall, it improves general health and lowers your chances of getting sick especially getting lifestyle-related diseases and health conditions.

Manage Stress

While stress is a normal part of life and can be derived from your work, social or personal life, you should not allow it to take over your life as too much stress from worrying or being anxious has adverse effects on general health. You can’t be taking care of your general health as well as productivity if you do not manage your stress and handle it such that it does not bring on worse mental health conditions or even exacerbate the existing conditions. However everyone handles stress differently, you just have to find a way that works for you in order to feel better and avoid having your stress turn into behavioral, physical, mental and emotional disorders that can take a toll on your general health both on the short term and in the long-term. However, there are methods that have been known to reduce stress, uplift your mood or give you a clearer stronger mind to deal with it head on. Here are some of them:

  • Focus on one thing at a time. Most of the time, stress is as a result of a huge workload that you start wondering if you will manage to finish it entirely. A huge workload can be tackled properly by choosing to do one task at a time rather than by multi-tasking.
  • Know and define your limits. When you are aware of your limits, it is possible to avoid being overwhelmed as it helps you avoid taking on more than you can handle.
  • Use stress management techniques such as deep breathing exercises, a relaxing bath, a calming hobby, stretching exercises such as yoga and pilates and meditation. These can help reduce stress hormone levels and make you feel more peaceful, relaxed and better equipped at handling the source of your stress.
  • Know and manage stress triggers. This will also help you lower your expectations and hence be more realistic instead of expecting perfection from yourself which will only lead to more stress.
  • Talk about the things stressing you out with your trusted loved ones or a counselor as this will share your burden and can even help you figure out the triggers and how to avoid them and manage your stress.

Care for Yourself

Treat yourself like your number one and you will see the positive effect that has on your life and health. Taking good care of yourself physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally will help you improve the health of all these area. Caring for yourself involves living a healthy lifestyle that is, eating right, exercising, avoiding drugs, too much sugar and junk food, managing stress and getting good rest. It also involves practicing good hygiene, establishing a good support network among your loved ones, doing the things you enjoy and relaxing after working. Start by working towards your goals, hugging someone you love and writing down the things that make you happy or that you are grateful to have in your life.

Get Quality Sleep

Sleep affects your mood and body and lack of sleeps can lead to the development of mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety and impaired memory. Poor sleep has also been regarded by researchers as a contributor to the risk of gaining weight, getting into accidents while driving, walking or biking, developing cancer and heart disease and a lower immune system functioning. To improve sleep, here are several tips you can try:

  • Have a regular bedtime that will get you falling asleep more easily and waking up earlier. This is great for your circadian rhythm.
  • Avoid caffeine at least six hours before your bedtime to help you sleep faster and establish consistency.
  • Relax before bed by using de-stressing methods such as a hot bath, deep breathing exercises, and meditation, planning out the next day, reading a book or yoga.
  • Exercise daily if you can as this relieves muscle tension and helps make you more prone to sleep. However, you should avoid exercising too close to your bedtime as exercise makes you more alert.
  • Ensure your bed is meant for sleep purposes only and hence, avoid writing or working from it and watching TV.

Get Yearly Checkups

Scheduling a yearly checkup with your doctor will help you keep on top of your general health, catch any complications before they advance and follow your doctor’s recommendations throughout the year to help you keep healthy. This can involve avoiding drugs, protecting your skin, practicing safe sex, and losing weight among other guidelines that if followed, help you get healthy.

Drink More Water

Instead of enjoying the sugary drinks, put more effort into drinking water. You can spice it up by adding fruit in it, lemon slices or cucumber slices to give it a healthy flavor. Water can help relieve aches and pains that you experience during your normal activities and also help make your body and skin more vibrant and healthy.