Guest Post by: Brigitte Evans
For most of us, health isn’t something we really think about much until we get sick. Before we get the flu, or our blood pressure skyrockets, or our stomach balloons around us, we feel almost invincible—other people get sick, but not you. You’re made of sturdier stuff, and you’ve got bigger things to worry about, like errands, and relationships, and your career. And then disease strikes, and suddenly all those other things become so irrelevant. As the old Indian proverb goes, a healthy person has a thousand wishes, but a sick person has only one.
Even something as simple as a passing cold makes us feel weary and frustrated, and if a bigger issue comes knocking on our door, it can completely overwhelm us. To avoid this, it’s important to stop taking our well-being for granted and start caring for ourselves. If you want to know how you can do that better, take a look at our tips.
Stop postponing checkups
Getting a Pap smear isn’t the most enjoyable activity in the world, but it’s entirely necessary for a woman to stay on top of her reproductive health. STI screenings, mammograms, and general OB/GYN checkups are important, and there’s really no excuse to be avoiding your doctor anymore. Checking your thyroid hormone levels, your cholesterol, and your glucose is also encouraged, and if you’re in pre-menopause you might want to start tracking bone density, especially if you have a history of osteoporosis in your family. Find a doctor that you trust and feel comfortable with, and don’t allow yourself to avoid any more appointments. Monitoring your health regularly means you can quickly discover a problem if it pops up, and then it can be safely treated.
Good food for good health
The gist of dieting revolves around veggies, fruit, and lean meats, but the biggest challenge is usually time. We can barely stay on top of all the chores and errands we need to run every day, so cooking often isn’t an easy thing to pull off for a busy person. To counter this problem, the best thing you can do is organize your time a little better and prepare huge meals in advance. As long as you take Sunday evening to chuck some vegetables and chicken into a slow cooker, you can wake up in the morning and simply divide all of it into plastic containers that you can keep in the fridge. You can also simply have healthy food delivered to you which is particularly useful if you’re on a diet. That way you get a nutritionally balanced meal without the fuss of having to figure everything out yourself, and you don’t have to spend any time in the kitchen to make it on your own. Another thing you should do is limit your sugar intake and replace candy and cookies with healthier snacks around your house. Once the hunger craving hits, make sure you have a few homemade granola bars and nuts lying around instead of reaching for a bar of chocolate.
Become more active
Exercise plays a large role in our health, and our sedentary lifestyles are really detrimental to our well-being. From your spine to your cardiovascular health, sitting around and turning into a couch potato isn’t really the best way to stay youthful, vibrant, and fit. Of course, the solution to this is easy—move more. Find an activity that you like, such as yoga, pilates, martial arts, volleyball, swimming, or anything else and engage at least a few times a week to build up your strength and stamina.
However, bear in mind that it’s not just about exercise, it’s about generally not allowing yourself to constantly be in that sedentary stupor, it’s about being more active every day. Taking bike rides with your kids, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, and walking instead of driving the car whenever you can is a good start. You could also consider getting a dog, especially if your children have already been begging you for it. Adopt a cute stray from the shelter and you’ll always have company when you take long walks.
Don’t forget your mental health
Physical health isn’t the only thing to focus on, especially because your body and your psyche are connected. When one suffers, so does the other, and the fact that you’re feeling depressed will usually mean you’ll forget all about diet and exercise because you’re just too tired to do anything about it. Talk to your partner, your friends, or a professional instead of keeping everything bottled up inside, and engage in self-care activities to unwind from stress. Reading books, for example, is a great way to lift your spirits, grow intellectually, and take time to nurture your mental well-being.
And remember, prevention is a lot easier and less stressful than the actual treatment. Putting your health first is important if you want to function well on a daily basis, so don’t neglect your own needs in favor of anything else.