Doctors, personal trainers, life coaches, and the like can be helpful to all of us who try to live a healthy life. At the end of the day, however, we are responsible for our own well-being. That’s why taking steps each day to better our head-to-toe health is so important. If you’re looking to develop a lifestyle that fosters your physical, mental, and emotional well-being, here is some simple self-care advice to put you on the right track:
Indoor Air Quality
One of the most essential aspects of living healthy is ensuring that the air you’re breathing is clean, as the inside of a home is more prone to pollution than the outside. To remove as much smoke, dust, pet dander, mold, and pollen as possible, it’s important to replace your filters regularly. The severity of pollution in your home, as well as your budget, will determine what kind of filter you choose. When you’re searching for the right kind of filter, look at the MERV rating. The higher the rating (e.g., MERV 8, 11, 13, etc.), the more pollutants and contaminants the filter will block from circulating through your home.
Diet is another critical factor in head-to-toe health, and there are certain foods that benefit different parts of the body. For instance, foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids (e.g., fish, nuts, seeds) can improve mental sharpness and reduce inflammation in the liver. The nutrients lutein and beta-carotene from leafy greens like spinach and kale can benefit your vision, and the antioxidant resveratrol (found in grapes) can reduce your risk of heart disease.
Furthermore, avoiding processed foods and drinking a lot of water can reduce the likelihood of kidney stones, and the bacteria in coffee and almonds can benefit both your immune and digestive systems. Check out this article from Forkly.com for more helpful information on foods that are good for the various parts of the body.
Exercise is another habit that comes with numerous health benefits. While weight management is certainly one area it helps with, it also reduces the risk of several diseases and other health issues (e.g., heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, osteoporosis, etc.), and it can improve your overall health and wellness. Moreover, regular physical activity can boost your self-confidence, enhance your memory, and relieve stress, anxiety, and depression.
This is one that tends to be underestimated. However, sleep is not an option if you want to live an all-around healthy life. Sleep is how our minds and bodies recover and process everything that happens during the day, and it’s how we regenerate for the following day. Without adequate sleep, we are hindering our potential on a personal, social, and working level. Start prioritizing getting a good night’s sleep, and you will quickly experience the difference it makes in your life.
Avoid Negative Coping Mechanisms
Life is stressful, and as a result people turn to various coping mechanisms to relieve stress. Some are positive, such as yoga, meditation, or reading, and some are a no-no such as nail biting or junk food. However, there are some habits that are downright bad for your health such as smoking, drinking, and substances, all of which run the risk of addiction. At the time it might seem like a good way to cope with stress, but the negative effects include a weakened immune system, poor cardiovascular health, liver damage, and a negative impact on mental health. Seek help if you are struggling via addiction therapy or a treatment center to get back on track and find healthier ways to combat stress and anxiety.
Last but not least, make check-up appointments with your doctor and show up. Having an annual physical — which typically includes a look at your health history and family history, along with a physical exam and various tests — helps you to stay out in front of your health. For instance, if your doctor finds a certain disease or health condition early, you can immediately start treatment or begin changing your lifestyle. Getting a professional assessment of your overall health can give you peace of mind because you know you are doing what you need to ensure your health now and for the future.
Each of us is ultimately responsible for our own health and well-being. Be sure to use the right air filters and change them regularly to maintain the air quality in your home, and look into ways you can improve your diet. Try to incorporate exercise into your everyday life, and be sure to get the sleep your mind and body needs. Finally, keep up with your annual checkups to get an overall wellness assessment and stay ahead of any health issues.
Thanks for the great advice, Kimberly. Each of these strategies are sure to assist you in your efforts to live, work, and relate well!
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Dr. Linaman is a psychologist and executive coach providing counseling and professional development services to individuals, couples, work teams and organizations.