Many people find themselves prioritizing work, looking after kids or running a household. Life can get hectic, and often, our health suffers as a result. If you’re eager to start putting your health first, simple changes can make all the difference. Here are some steps to take today.
Schedule overdue health checks
The first step to take if you’ve been neglecting your health is to schedule long-overdue health checks. If you tend to ignore reminders or throw your mail on a pile, now is the time to get up to speed with health assessments and tests. From eye tests and hearing assessments to dental check-ups and routine cancer screening, being proactive can help to reduce risks and ensure that any abnormalities or signs of deterioration are spotted as early as possible. It is particularly important to reach out and schedule appointments if you have developed symptoms, or you have noticed changes in your health or your ability to see or hear. You can learn more about treatment options for hearing loss, dental disease and symptoms of common illnesses and infections online, but it’s always beneficial to seek expert advice.
Start making time for exercise
If you feel like you’re constantly rushing around after everyone else, or you work long hours, you may find it difficult to make time for exercise. Being active is hugely beneficial for physical and mental health. Try to find the time for regular exercise. Even if you only have 20 minutes per day or the odd evening or weekend free, you can make the most of your minutes. Go for a jog around the park, work out at home, organize a bike ride with family and friends or take a hike and enjoy the great outdoors. Regular exercise is proven to reduce stress, enhance heart health, aid sleep and make you feel good. When your body is moving, it releases endorphins, and the levels of serotonin and dopamine in your brain increase, providing a natural high.
Be honest. How often do you grab lunch on the go or end up ordering takeout because you haven’t got time to cook? Many people neglect their diet when life gets busy. The trouble is that your body relies on the food you eat to provide it with essential nutrients. If your diet lacks vitamins and minerals, your health will suffer. Focus on nutrition. Try to plan menus in advance, cook at home as much as possible and use ingredients that are packed with goodness. Increase your intake of fruit and vegetables, opt for whole-grain foods where possible and limit your intake of sugar and salt. If you don’t have a lot of time to rustle up homemade dishes, search online for simple, quick, healthy recipes.
Embrace a sleep routine
We tend to associate sleep routines with children, but having a regime can be incredibly beneficial for adults too. If you find it difficult to sleep, embrace a routine, which gives you the opportunity to relax in the evening and get enough sleep. Take time to unwind before you go to bed. Watch TV, run a bath, read a book or listen to music to help you relax. Set yourself a bedtime and stick to it. If you’re going to bed at 10 pm one day and the next, you’re falling asleep in front of a movie at 1 am, your body clock will be out of kilter. Experts recommend 7-8 hours of sleep per night for adults. If you start going to bed at 11 pm every night and getting up at 6.30 am, for example, your body clock will adjust and you should feel more rested.
If you find it hard to sleep, even with a routine in place, consider making changes to your sleeping environment. Declutter, use blackout blinds or curtains to block out light and create a serene, soothing space. Avoid bright lights and colors, make sure your mattress and pillows are comfortable and leave phones and tablets in the living room or office. It’s also important to avoid doing anything that stimulates or stresses you out late at night, such as checking emails or scrolling through social media.
Has your health taken a backseat because of work or becoming a parent? If you’re juggling parenting, your career, or looking after others, it’s not always easy to put your health first. The problem is that health issues can affect anyone, and if you don’t look after yourself, the risks will be higher. If you’re eager to start prioritizing health and wellbeing, take these steps today.