Easy Ways to Safeguard Your Health
The Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, has this week set out the Government’s plan for focussing on preventative healthcare in a bid to get us all living longer. But just how easy is it, really, to adopt a “prevention is better than cure” attitude to one’s health? Especially in today’s busy world, where a plethora of technology means that the majority of us are constantly checking emails and messages and the idea of “downtime” sends us into a panic!
Modern life can be extremely demanding and finding that all important work-life balance is vital if we are to take charge of our health in order to mitigate the damaging effects of living with high stress levels.
So – now for the practical bit! We have compiled a list of our favourite, easy ways of introducing simple, healthy habits into your daily routines:
- Reduce the amount of processed foods you consume: commit to cooking meals from scratch for 2 weeks. Healthy meals can be simple to prepare and quick to cook. A stir fry only takes a few minutes and is much cheaper than a take-away, whilst a quick search of the internet will provide you with literally hundreds of free recipes, whatever your culinary skills and preferences. Reducing your salt and sugar intake for a couple of weeks will help reduce cravings, boost your vitamins and increase your energy levels.
- Borrow a dog! Walking a dog will not only increase your exercise levels and get you out in the fresh air, but there have been studies which suggest that petting a dog reduces your blood pressure and stress levels – plus they are cute!
- If pooches are not your “thing” then why not try a nice walk in the park, a cycle along the canals or any outdoor activity that you enjoy. Exercising in the fresh air will increase your vitamin D levels, which is crucial for good health. Vitamin D deficiency can lead to weak bones, lack of calcium absorption and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Just 10 – 15 minutes a day, exposing some skin to the sun is all you need.
- Exercise is great for your waistline and your heart health, but it is also well worth noting the enormous benefits to mental health that are achieved with some gentle exercise in the great outdoors. This can be particularly beneficial at this time of the year when the days are getting noticeably shorter and winter depression starts to have more of an impact on people.
- Too stressed to rest: Feeling stressed is one of the most common complaints of modern times. Low to moderate levels of stress can sharpen our senses and fuel us into action; but long term, high levels of stress are dangerous to our physical and mental wellbeing. Many people have lived with high level stress for such protracted periods of time that they have, literally, forgotten how to relax and switch off. How many times have you laid in bed, desperate for sleep, tired and worn out but your brain just won’t switch off? That is why self-care needs to be an important part of your healthy living strategy. Regular relaxation treatments, such as massage, are incredibly beneficial in helping your brain to quieten and your body to relax. Often that 1 hour every few weeks is the only “downtime” you get, but it can be crucial in aiding sleep and reminding you that rest is vital to your wellbeing.
- Have you lost your mojo??? Most of us find it difficult to get started when we decide to tackle our health issues. Adopting new, healthier habits can feel very daunting and oftentimes, we just don’t know where start! Sometimes the people around us are perhaps not as supportive as we would like them to be and we may even feel guilty for prioritising ourselves when we are so used to putting others first. A life coaching session can be a great way of helping us work out how to identify and achieve our goals, teaching us strategies to keep ourselves motivated and focussed on the prize!
Try putting some of these simple ideas into practice for a few weeks and see what a difference it makes to your overall health