You may have the best intentions for focusing on health and wellness, but life can get in the way. You’ve got work, family, and responsibilities. But it’s still important to remind yourself that your health is a top priority.
And it’s not just about your physical health. Your mental health and fending off stress have to be top priorities too.
Think of it this way: For the same reason your flight attendant asks you to secure your oxygen mask before helping others, you won’t really be able to take care of anyone else until you help yourself first.
Many people are taking a stand and saying, “my health priority is number one.” Read here for tips to put your physical and mental wellness first.
Putting Your Health And Well-Being First: How To Care For Your Physical And Mental Health
When it comes to healthcare decisions, you want to make sure to be in good communication with your primary care doctor or any other medical care professionals. Of course, health insurance is helpful, but there are also urgent care options in a pinch.
You can map out a plan for taking care of your physical health and mental health by starting a conversation with your preventive care doctor or the clinician at an urgent care facility.
Ask questions about the best ways to manage stress. Tell your healthcare advocate that you’re curious about ways to improve your diet, exercise plan, and overall wellness. Your doctor might have great advice, tailored to you because they know your health story and can advise you on specific concerns like women’s health or age-related health issues.
The Basics for My Health Priority: Sleep, Diet, And Exercise
When it comes to making your health a priority, there are 3 main pillars to consider. You want to address your sleep habits, your diet, and your exercise routine. What are some good practices in terms of sleep, diet, and exercise? Read on.
1. Sleep — If you’re concerned about best sleep practices, remember this: consistency is key when it comes to reaping the best health benefits of sleep. For starters, try to keep to a routine sleep schedule. That means setting an early enough bedtime to ensure you get no less than 7 hours of sleep. Also, set an alarm so you can wake up at the same time each morning. And if you can stick to your sleep schedule on the weekends or when you go on vacation — more power to you.
Also, try to set up a relaxing bedtime regimen. Stretching before bed can help you relax. And as much as you can, try to limit drinking fluids too close to bedtime (especially alcohol and caffeine). A healthy sleep regimen also includes a regular exercise plan, healthy diet, and the elimination of any noise from your bedroom.1
Finally, turn off your devices at least a half-hour before you intend to fall asleep.
2. Diet — One of the best (and quickest) ways to improve your diet is to add organic foods to your grocery list. Organic produce and organic (and humanely-raised) animal proteins are vital to ensuring better dietary health.
If you’re able to purchase more organic foods, that means you’ll be cutting out dangerous additives such as preservatives, antibiotics, artificial coloring, and chemically-produced fillers. Make sure the foods you buy are certified by the USDA (U.S Department of Agriculture). That means your produce will be free from…
- Synthetic fertilizers
- Radiation or bioengineering processes
And the organic animal products you purchase will be free of…
- Growth hormones
It’s obvious that foods free of harmful pesticide residue, synthetic fertilizers, or radiation are better for your overall health. But did you know that recent studies also show that organic foods tend to be higher in the following kinds of nutrients…
- vitamin C3
In addition to purchasing organic, heed the surgeon general’s advice and make sure you clean your hands before preparing your food. Also, sanitize food contact surfaces, and wash those organic fruits and vegetables.4
3. Exercise — While it can be difficult to make room in your schedule for exercise, you should absolutely prioritize it. You don’t need to uproot your entire lifestyle and start training for a Tough Mudder. But, you can start small and work on finding moments in your day to exercise — even at your desk.
The lunge is a great exercise when you don’t have a ton of time (or space). Lunges are great because of how they benefit not just your thighs and hamstrings, but also your core muscles. You’ll also be strengthening (and toning) your rear end… so make sure you get it out of that desk chair a couple of times a day.5
There are even beneficial exercises you can do from your desk chair. For example, try a little “office yoga”. Simply plant your feet on the floor. Straighten your back upright. Then, inhale from your nose as you look up toward the ceiling and slightly arch your back. As you look up, thrust your belly out and your shoulders back. On your exhale, round the back and bring your shoulders forward. Repeat this movement 4 or 5 times.
Another relatively easy way to get your exercise into your schedule is to use your lunch break to take a walk. Take the stairs when you can, too. If you can’t make it to the local track for a jog or brisk walk, park at the far end when headed to work or the grocery store to ensure you’re getting a few more steps in.
Putting Your Mental Health First: A Healthy Daily Routine
Again, you have to make yourself number one. You may put yourself and your health last because you have kids, grandkids, an elderly parent, or someone or something else you feel responsible for. Or maybe your job takes up most of your time and your struggling to put yourself first.
But if you redirect your energy and make your health priority #1, you’ll have the physical and mental bandwidth to take care of your responsibilities in ways you otherwise might not be able to. So, think of taking care of yourself as the thing that will keep you from having to use priority health insurance or visit the hospital unexpectedly.
And one more thing, take care of yourself so you can do all the things in life you most enjoy. It is a new decade, so here’s to your health. And here’s to your ability to finally say, “My health priority comes first. My health is important enough to come first.” Because your health is important enough. Again, happy and healthy new year.