There are a multitude of ways in which we can look after ourselves. In fact, there too many to count!
It can become quite confusing and very overwhelming. One week we are told to eat a “superfood” then the next week we are told this can cause disease.
However health does not need to be overwhelming or confusing.
We need to start listening to our bodies, acknowledging when we feel good and when we do not feel good.
There are only 5 personal control factors we all have over our health that each of us can control and support to improve whatever health concerns we may experience:
I guess you were expecting this one to be here so it shouldn’t be a surprise. However I am not going to talk about a specific diet, or particular foods that are going to support your health. All I am going to say, is to eat for your physical and mental health.
If this is something you struggle to assess, writing a food and symptom diary even for a few days can be beneficial. Eat what you would normally eat, and list how you feel after each meal - Do you get a headache? Are you hungry an hour later? Did you have a sore tummy afterwards? This information can give you ideas about what your body thrives upon and what it would prefer you don’t consume.
2. Sunshine and Activity
We can control how much sunshine we get. Many people may disagree as we have work etc that may keep us indoors however I always try and eat my lunch in the sunshine, go for a walk on the weekend and with daylight savings, get outside when I get home from work. Vitamin D has such incredible benefits for our overall health and in particular immune and mental health that it is vital for us to survive.
Activity is something I know a lot of people struggle with and at the end of last year I was the same; I was tired, worn out and not motivated. So this year I have placed more emphasis on doing activities that I enjoy - I signed up to get my favourite gym class at home as I could never find a class time that suited me, my soccer team is having a kick in the park on the weekend whilst we are on break, I have been researching some new hiking trails I am planning to try over the coming months. It’s about finding things that are not a chore and that get you moving!
3. Lowering Stress Levels
Now this one is tricky for all of us but again some self awareness can go a long way.
What causes you stress?
By identifying the triggers, you can take steps to reduce these within your life.
What lowers your stress levels?
These are the activities we need to add more of to our day to create balance.
If you are feeling overwhelmed with stress, see my seperate post on lowering stress.
Sleep is such a valuable tool, not only for our mental health, but also for our physical health. It is a time in which our bodies repair, our minds sort through the stimuli from the day, our stress levels lower, our immune system fights infection and the list goes on.
To ensure a good nights rest, you can try the following:
- ensuring we are going to bed at a reasonable time to ensure we are able to sleep the required number of hours for us to thrive (ideally 7-9 hours)
- avoiding screen time for a minimum of an hour before bed
- creating a relaxing bedroom environment to promote sleep
- winding down at the end of the day to promote relaxation
5. Social Networks
We are not made to be solitary beings, we were created to be a part of a community. Most people thrive off being supported and nourished by others.
So we need to find our community. It can be your family, friends, colleagues or team mates. However you need to have a community in which you feel supported, able to speak freely and be able to share your concerns and troubles.
Finding like-minded people who enjoy the things you enjoy could be one way to achieve this.
If you still feel like your health may be overwhelming or feel you need further support, please be in touch as we can offer support for all health concerns.