Living a healthy lifestyle is a choice. It does not mean the same thing to everyone. There are no simple guidelines or rules that apply across the board. Living a healthy lifestyle means living your best life. It’s essential to consider your current physical health, diet, exercise routine, and general overall attitude about being healthy. Having a positive attitude, committing to exercise, selecting healthier foods, and making self-care a priority increases our chances to live longer and to live a fulfilled life.
We all have those days that we feel like all we do is run. We can get so completely absorbed in taking care of kids, work, school, etc. that we forget to stop and take care of number one, ourselves. Yet, if you think about it, self-care should be at the very top of that daily “To-Do List.” Self-care includes many aspects of your life, such as your overall health.
Missing a scheduled medical check-up may seem insignificant at the time, but missing those appointments can seriously affect our overall health, and early stages of severe health issues may go undiscovered and left untreated.
Self-care also includes getting proper downtime. In factories, it is vital to schedule downtime for machinery to be repaired, adjusted, and updated to keep systems functioning properly. As with robots, this is also true with human beings. However, it is often is that we, as humans, forget the critical practice of downtime in our daily self-care routine. Each day, we need to carve out time for ourselves, even if that means putting it on our calendar. Self-care is not something that should be placed on the “I’ll get to it later” list. Getting rest should be a priority and should be something we really enjoy and look forward too.
Attending events, having a spa day, or taking a needed vacation are all excellent forms of downtime. Simple things like calling your best friend to look for upcoming concerts, live plays, or movies you wish to attend. Reading a book or novel for fun can be very relaxing. Jumping on that motorcycle and going for a ride can be an exciting way to get rejuvenated. Scheduling downtime and relaxing are not only vital to giving our bodies rest, but also for our minds and emotional balance.
When was the last time you took a moment to collapse onto your bed, close your eyes and put your brain in neutral? Sometimes lying in the dark in total silence can help decompress and release the stresses of the day. Make sure to get plenty of sleep. That’s an essential gift to give yourself.
Have you ever heard the saying, “Do as I say, not as I do”? We develop our eating habits starting at a very young age, and most likely, your parents desired that you eat healthily. However, if your parents worked outside of the home, healthy eating to promote a healthy lifestyle was, unfortunately, not always their top priority. Meals were likely selected based on convenience rather than because of their nutritional value. We tend to carry established eating habits from childhood into adulthood
Breaking bad eating habits can happen, but the common factor is time and patience. Cut yourself some slack and know that it is going to be a process. Studies have shown that changing a bad habit into a good practice can take anywhere from a couple of weeks to almost a year to accomplish. It all depends on the magnitude of the outcome you seek. For instance, changing a habit of drinking a glass of wine every night to drinking a cup of tea is a much easier switch than making a complete dietary overhaul.
A person desiring to choose a more healthy lifestyle, by possibly adapting to a keto diet, would initially struggle with giving up many of their favorite foods. The process of removing potatoes, bread, and pasta from their daily diet would be a much more complicated and complex process.
Frustration and failure are bound to accompany any significant dietary changes. Keeping notes in a journal and measuring positive results can raise your confidence and provide uplifting evidence of success. Journaling, photos, and measured results can also be quite rewarding and assure continued progress. Remember, each time a bad eating habit is replaced with a significantly good one, your life expectancy goes up!
Baby steps. People often set themselves up for failure when it comes to exercise. In the process of deciding to begin an exercise routine, we visualize ourselves accomplishing great things in a short time. Let’s get real! If you have never had a consistent exercise routine and you’ve been very sedentary, you can still set small, attainable goals in exercise. Get up and move! We can always find ways to get more exercise throughout our day, even if we work long hours. Listed below are seven ways to incorporate more physical activity into your day:
- Park your car away from the building so that you must walk a distance both to and from your destination. Use this rule of thumb when going shopping or running errands as well.
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
- Bring your tennis shoes to work. On your lunch and breaks, walk around the building several times.
- While cleaning at home, turn on some music. Music gets you moving, and if you feel like taking a dance break, do it!
- Some work locations provide stand up desks. If this is the case, stand up often and walk in place. Perform exercises that utilize moving your arms and body.
- Request a stationary bike/treadmill at work as a health incentive for employees.
- Take your pets on long walks. Run and play with them. Have some fun!
Exercise is not only for your physical wellbeing. Exercise also stimulates us mentally and emotionally. It creates positive energy, and that, in turn, promotes happiness and joy. It also boosts your immune system, and researchers have found that regular exercise can help alleviate long-term depression and anxiety issues. Yoga is a natural and quite inexpensive drug that we prescribe for ourselves. What have you got to lose, besides a few pounds?
The Final Word
Creating a healthy lifestyle takes a willingness to replace bad habits with good habits. It’s about deciding to make the changes necessary to have an overall healthy outlook. Small, gradual steps make for a much smoother transition. For example, adding one process to your daily routine that has been previously missing can affect amazing results! Now, repeat that once a week. When you institute a small change and see the effects, then you will want to incorporate more and more change. Practice self-care and take that break, listen to music, or dance while you clean. Many of our healthier choices begin with the pure desire to live longer for ourselves or those adorable grandkids. Don’t forget to eat healthier, eat less, and eat smarter. By creating a healthy body, taking time for self-care, and choosing to eat wisely, we create a healthy outlook that produces a great sense of accomplishment!