A Roadmap to Better Health
By: Jeniffer Scott
The pace of life is very fast these days. It’s difficult to maintain a balanced lifestyle when you’re trying to keep up with demands at work, raise happy children, stay in good health, and find an hour here and there for a little rest and relaxation. The weeks go by very fast, and it’s easy to get caught up in a routine that doesn’t allow for healthy eating, exercise, or a good night’s sleep. Most people promise themselves that they’ll do better in one area as soon as time allows, maybe get a little physical activity in during the week or follow through on that resolution to lose some weight. What’s really needed is a more expansive view of your life, one that provides a roadmap to better physical and mental health, puts an end to bad habits, and leads to a happier life.
Try thinking in terms of the time you have available and how you might make better use of it. See yourself as your own caretaker, someone with responsibility for creating a better diet, scheduling time for physical activity, and finding a hobby that’ll be both rewarding and healthful. Remember, you work very hard so you can make a good life for you and your family, not for the sake of working hard. The old maxim, “Work to live, don’t live to work,” should definitely apply as you think about making a change in the new year.
Simple diet upgrades
You might be surprised at how easy it can be to eat better, kick the fast-food habit, and get more of what’s good for your body. Eating better will help you stick to those pesky resolutions by giving you more energy and keeping you motivated. For starters, make a resolution to drink more water, at least six glasses a day. It’s great for your body, and it’s a natural way of flushing toxins and helping you shed some weight. Make it part of your daily routine by getting a new glass every time you use the bathroom. While you’re at it, why not add more fruit and vegetables at mealtime? Make a point of having broccoli or cauliflower two or three times a week, add in some glazed carrots at dinner, and have an apple or orange for dessert instead of your favorite cookies.
Work in a workout
People often make the mistake of trying to find time for exercise, when what’s really needed is to make time. You can do that in many different ways, some of which allow you to exercise while you’re doing something else. For example, try doing a series of stomach muscle contractions while you’re sitting at your desk. Simply standing up while you work can help improve blood flow. If you have to run an errand, try walking or jogging rather than automatically reaching for your car keys. If you have some phone calls to return, try doing it while you’re taking a brisk stroll around the block or walking a flight of stairs. And there’s always your lunch break, a perfect time to get in some physical activity.
This year, make time for inner reflection. There are many ways to get in touch with your inner you, and many benefits to doing so. Meditation and yoga, for example, can lower your heart rate, reduce blood pressure, help get your stress level under control, and improve focus and concentration. Creating a relaxing home environment is also key. Here are some tips for reducing stress in your home.
Get a hobby
Finding a hobby is also a good way to improve your health and sense of well-being. If you’re musically inclined, why not try learning to play an instrument or picking back up where you left off years ago? The saxophone is an enjoyable and rewarding instrument to learn and play, one with great range and many different tonal variations.
A new perspective
As you look ahead to another year, take a much larger view when making resolutions. Incorporate steps to better physical, mental, and emotional health that will help you drop bad personal habits, the ones that keep you from losing weight or feeling motivated to look for a new, more exciting job. This time, you just might succeed at keeping those resolutions.
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