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4 Important Steps To Get Your Health on Track This Season

Recent events (including the pandemic) have brought Americans a new wave of health concerns. Our stress levels have increased, leading to a decline in physical and mental health. We are experiencing more problems sleeping, less physical activity, and increased alcohol intake.

Now we know of a new epidemic of loneliness, which has a similar effect on our bodies as smoking.

According to the American Psychological Association, over half of Americans have delayed or canceled their healthcare services during the pandemic, further exacerbating the detrimental effects of stress.

So, how can we get back to living healthier lifestyles? We must address all aspects of our health to get back on track to be our best selves.

1. Establish Health Goals

Get into the right mindset so that a healthy lifestyle is not something you do just on the weekends or days off.

Ask: “What would I like to accomplish with a healthy lifestyle?” “What are my mental health goals?” How about emotional health? Spiritual health? Social health?

Define each of these areas for yourself so that you can take steps to get to where you want to be.

2. Focus On All Aspects of Your Health

Being physically healthy and mentally miserable doesn’t make you healthy. Eating well but feeling isolated from your friends can still lead to depression.

Taking care of your health requires that you take care of all parts.

Physical Health

6 in 10 Americans suffer from chronic disease. Every adult should get regular physical checkups, including blood work, to manage or prevent these issues. This can help you decide which diet and exercise changes you need to make.

How you get and stay active is up to you. Some ideas to get started:

  • Join a gym
  • Attend classes (e.g., Zumba, aerobics)
  • Yoga
  • Hire a trainer
  • Get outside (biking, tennis, running, walking)
  • Join an intramural sports team
  • Watch YouTube videos for at-home exercises

Successful diets require sustainable changes. Don’t deprive yourself, and stick to what works. In addition, be forgiving. A cheat day, where you stray from your meal plan, doesn’t mean your entire fitness goes out the window. Don’t let one bad day continue into a bad week. Just jump back onto the bandwagon and continue.

Mental Health

As mentioned above, mental health issues in our communities are at an all-time high. Here are some ways you can nurture your mental health:

  • Journaling – you don’t have to do this every day to reap the benefits.
  • Regularly check in with a trusted friend or family member.
  • Meditate – create mental space to sort through your thoughts, destress & re-focus
  • Take regular breaks to reset and avoid burnout
  • Prioritize your sleep schedule and develop good sleep hygiene
  • See a professional – there are many benefits and options for engaging.

Spiritual Health

If you are religious, are you making time for your faith? Sometimes the act of praying can be very meditative and cleansing.

For anyone not religious, interpret spiritual well-being as understanding your spirit. Over time, life changes, and we realize that we, too, have changed. Evaluate yourself regularly and ensure your lifestyle aligns with your evolving values.

Social Health

According to Harvard Business Review, employee burnout costs approximately $125 billion to $190 billion annually in healthcare spending in the United States.

It’s up to us as individuals to prioritize creating a healthy balance between work and relationships. It’s also important to understand that not all relationships are beneficial. Nurturing your social health includes spending time with the types of people that fulfill and support you. Spending quality time with friends and family can be the very thing that helps you truly unwind and counteract burnout.

3. Kickstarting Your Health Goals

Take these steps when planning for lifestyle changes!

Visit a Doctor

Visit your primary care physician first. If you don’t have one, find one and establish care. Get blood work and recommended testing done. Create a relationship so that you can easily ask questions when they arise.

Utilize The Buddy System

Find friends or family members with similar health goals. We are often better at moving forward when we move together. Plan physical or social activities together, be each other’s confidant, cook healthy meals and see how much more progress you make!

Consider Paying For It

Sometimes the only way to get motivated is to pay for it. Pay for healthy meals to be delivered, hire a trainer or coach, or buy the equipment you need.

Force Your Hand

Give yourself no choice. For instance, create a no-spend month on takeout and buy only healthy ingredients and snacks. When your only choices are healthy, you’ll choose well.

Pro Tip: Do some prep work first. Look up recipes that appeal to you and start buying ingredients for those. The more you do it, the easier it gets.

Choose Water

Cut down or eliminate alcohol and sugary drinks and reduce your caffeine intake. The first two will decrease your calorie counts, and reducing caffeine can improve sleep.

4. Reap the Benefits

Even small changes over time can have significant results.

The benefits of physical exercise include reducing the onset of chronic disease, improved sleep, and increased energy. Eating a healthy diet with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein can reduce inflammation and treat or diminish chronic pain.

Consistent, restful sleep can reduce stress, improve focus, and increase productivity. Taking breaks and spending time with loved ones can leave you fulfilled. Improving your spiritual and mental health can center you, help you be more mindful, and improve your mood.

Health is The Only Wealth Worth Pursuing

The best way to empower yourself is by caring for your whole self. If you’re healthy on all fronts, you’ll be able to try new things, take chances, and grow to meet your true potential.

Take the opportunities and resources you have and make your health: physical, mental, spiritual, and social, a priority. Once you’ve obtained your balance, you can maintain your desired lifestyle.

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