Having total health is about making healthy choices that affect your mind, body and spirit. Check out the total health tips below to take the steps needed for a healthier you tomorrow.
Staying physically active is associated with many long-term health benefits including weight management, improved heart health, quality of sleep, and reduced stress and anxiety. Fitness also helps you feel better and have more energy and focus for school, work and leisure time. Here are few easy ways to stay active at home or in your neighborhood.
- Make a regular habit of using stairs rather than elevators and walking to do errands near your home.
- Start walking. Walking is a great fitness activity that most people can start doing. Make it a habit to take a daily walk with family members or pets.
- Find an activity that you enjoy like gardening, adapted yoga, dancing or biking and stay with it. Vary it with other activities so you don’t get bored.
For more suggestions on activities that fit your lifestyle and activity level click here.
Mental Health & Mindfulness
Taking care of your mental health is just as important as your physical health. Practicing mindfulness can help you learn how to respond to stressful situations in more thoughtful way. Developing this skill helps you manage your emotions and generally increases feelings of happiness and health overall. It can also help you find calm in the moment, appreciate yourself and the world around you. Below are some simple steps to get you stated at practicing mindfulness.
- Take a seat. Find a place to sit that feels calm and quiet to you.
- Set a time limit. If you’re just beginning, it can help to choose a short time, such as 5 or 10 minutes.
- Notice your body. You can sit in a chair with your feet on the floor, you can sit loosely cross-legged, in lotus posture, you can kneel — all are fine. Just make sure you are stable, comfortable, and in a position you can stay in for a while.
- Feel your breath. Follow the sensation of your breath as it goes out and as it goes in.
- Notice when your mind has wandered. Inevitably, your attention will leave the sensations of the breath and wander to other places. When you notice this — in a few seconds, a minute, five minutes — simply return your attention to the breath.
- Be kind to your wandering mind. Don’t judge yourself or obsess over the content of the thoughts you find yourself lost in. Just come back.
There are many ways to be mindful — you just have to find what works for you. For more helpful tools click here.
Most people have heard that healthy eating is important but it can be hard to know what healthy eating means. When you learn how to choose your food wisely, you’ll find yourself with increased energy, improved mood, better weight control, and a strong line of defense against many diseases. Healthy eating starts with learning new ways to eat, such as adding more fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and cutting back on foods that have a lot of fat, salt, and sugar.
A change to healthier eating also includes learning about balance, variety and moderation.
- Aim for balance. Most days, eat from each food group—grains, protein foods, vegetables and fruits, and dairy. Listen to your body. Eat when you’re hungry. Stop when you feel satisfied.
- Look for variety.Be adventurous. Choose different foods in each food group. For example, don’t reach for an apple every time you choose a fruit. Eating a variety of foods each day will help you get all the nutrients you need.
- Practice moderation. Don’t have too much or too little of one thing. All foods, if eaten in moderation, can be part of healthy eating. Even sweets can be okay.
To learn about more ways to eating healthy click here.
Rest & Recovery
It’s easy to take sleep for granted but the right amount of rest can reduce stress and help you feel more productive, healthy, and focused. Sleep rejuvenates your body and mind, while not getting enough rest can negatively affect your mood, immune system, memory, and stress level. Below are a few tips to help pay off your sleep debt.
- Be mindful and get physical. Regular exercise can have a dramatic effect on your sleep routine. For an added bonus try using sleep-themed guided imagery.
- Stick to a routine. Set your alarm and get up at the same time every morning, no matter how you slept. After a while this will help your body settle into a rhythm.
- Try the 15-minute rule. Add to your sleep a little bit at a time. Once you’ve established your routine, add to it by setting your alarm 15 minutes later so your body can handle the increase.
- Use your bedroom just for sleep. When you crawl into bed at night, make sure it’s only for sleep. You can’t leave the day’s stress at the door if you bring your phone and computer to bed with you.
- Stay cool. Lowering the temperature of your room can help you snooze more soundly. Check the thermostat as a part of your nighttime routine.
- Make caffeine for mornings only. Caffeine stays in your system for 12 hours, so avoid drinking it after 10am if you need an afternoon pick-me-up, you taking a brisk walk instead of grabbing an energy drink.
- Keep your eyes off the clock. Staring at the clock when you can’t sleep can increase stress levels. As part of your nighttime routines, face it away from the bed when you hit the sack.
For more quick to help you gain better control of your sleep behaviors and habits click here.