As we sit down to plan out our new year and come up with new year's resolutions, one area that we should pay particular attention to is our health. A few simple, every day practices can help you stay on top of things, prevent illness and keep you functioning at your best.
One of my key takeaways from 2020 was that I need to make a conscious effort to be healthy. A healthy lifestyle is one that consists of nutritious food, sufficient exercise and quality rest. It involves paying attention to your body’s signals that it is functioning less optimally and taking steps to resolve any health issues that arise in a timely manner.
Below are six ways through which you can enhance your health.
1. Drink enough water
It is recommended that we drink at least eight glasses of water everyday and there’s a very good reason for this. Our bodies are made up of 60% water and water also helps in the proper functioning of our body systems. And since we lose water through sweating and going to the toilet, it’s important that we replenish it frequently.
Get into the habit of drinking water throughout the day to avoid the last minute rush to complete your eight glasses just before bed. I’ve found that carrying a water bottle around with me throughout the day ensures that I’m constantly hydrating. And if the flavour, or lack thereof, of your water discourages you from drinking it, add some flavour with lemon, mint, cucumber, etc.
2. Get some sunlight
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Back when we first went into lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, I found myself spending all my time indoors. It’d be almost two weeks before I remembered to leave the house. Then one time when speaking to a friend, I mentioned how low I was feeling and she recommended getting a little sunlight every day. I tried it and it really helped uplift my mood.
Try to catch that morning sun, it’s healthier too, and watch your energy levels improve. You’ll also be more alert. If you have outside space, carry your yoga mat out and do some stretches in the sun. Alternatively, go for a morning walk or have your morning cup of tea or coffee on the balcony.
3. Add healthy sides to your meals
I’ve never been one to diet mostly because I love food and the opportunity to play around with my food choices without feeling restricted. However, I am aware that I need to ensure that I get the required nutrients in my body every day.
If you’re like me and don’t feel inclined to follow a diet plan, tweak your eating habits to include some healthy options. Accompany your lunch or dinner with a salad and do the same when you order takeout. Ensure that you eat a piece of fruit every day. If, like me, you find it hard to eat fruit, make a smoothie or fresh fruit juice instead.
4. Prioritise movement
You need regular exercise to help you re-energise and focus. It’ll also help in the proper functioning of your body and reduce weight-related illnesses. If you find that you can’t squeeze in a 15-minute workout in your schedule, spread them out throughout the day instead. Take a walk when you’re on your work breaks instead of scrolling through social media. If you’re using public transport, alight before your stop and walk the extra distance home. Use the stairs instead of the life. In doing this you will find that, come the end of the day, you have gotten in a workout without thinking too much about it.
5. Practice gratitude
I used to really struggle with keeping a positive attitude particularly when, all around me, things seemed to be falling apart. And then I started writing down things I was grateful for every day, and it changed my perspective on life.
As part of your journal or if you want to get a separate gratitude journal, reflect on and write down just three things that you’re grateful for each day. These don’t have to be big, extraordinary things. It could be as simple as getting a good night’s sleep, finishing that difficult work task, your child’s smile, that joke a friend told that made you laugh out loud, a warm sunny day, etc.. Make this a daily habit and you’ll begin to see a change in your mindset, make you more positive, less stressed and you’ll begin to enjoy life even more.
6. Invest in your health
Have you noticed that when you spend money on something, you want to ensure that you get your money’s worth? It happens when you buy clothes and shoes, household appliances, a new car, upgrade your phone or move into your dream apartment. You want to ensure that you don’t waste your money or investment.
Apply the same mentality to your health and it’ll encourage you to be more motivated. Subscribe to an online workout session or get a personal trainer to help you stay more consistent with your workouts. Buying fresh produce will ensure that you actually eat them before they go bad and waste money. Speak to a therapist to help you with your mental health and seeing how much you have to pay per session will motivate you to work harder to get better.