Wednesday, July 18, 2018


Taking Care Of You: A Resolution You Should Make Stick.

December 11, 2017 by  
Filed under Health, Opinion, Weekly Columns

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(ThyBlackMan.comThinking of ourselves and putting our own needs first is alien to so many of us. We see it as selfish or unnecessary, but what we have to remember is we are the heroes of our own lives. Looking after others is fantastic, but you can’t pour from an empty cup. First and foremost we must look after ourselves, it’s our responsibility to do so. We only get one body and one life. We must treat ourselves well and with care in order to lead long, happy and fruitful life. None of of us want to have our time cut short, these are years that we would be losing out with loved ones. Here are some of the ways you can ensure you’re looking after your body and why making a resolution to do so should be one that sticks.

Eat Well

The food you put into your body has one of the biggest effects on your health. Over time, your diet decisions can literally be the difference between life and death. Aim to fill your diet with fresh fruits and vegetables, a third of each meal you eat should ideally be fresh produce. It could be fruit on your breakfast, salad on your lunch and veggies with your dinner. The rest of your diet should be made up of whole grains, this is things like wholemeal pasta, brown rice, quinoa, oatmeal, bulgur amongst others. As well as low fat dairy and lean protein so poultry and fish with limited amounts of red meat. This is because it contains important minerals and vitamins but is higher in saturated fat. It’s not to say you can’t have a bit of what you like now and again, treating yourself is important as it helps to keep your healthy eating on track the rest of the time as you don’t feel deprived.

A good rule of thumb is to aim to eat healthily eighty percent of the time, and the other twenty have what you like (within reason). This will allow you to enjoy food without gaining weight or filling up on empty calories. Our bodies are like machines, they need fuel to power them and all of the different functions in your body require the right balance of macro and micronutrients. You could track your eating with an app like MyFitnessPal to make sure you’re hitting all of your targets while staying under your calorie allowance.

Exercise

If you’ve not exercised properly in many years, it’s easy to imagine working out is 6am runs and slogging it out in the gym. When you’re a newbie and quite unfit this image can be enough to put you off before you’ve even begun. The trick is to find an activity that you enjoy, it could be daily dog walks, swimming, a class or a sport. It could be something fun like trampolining, dance or anything else that gets you moving! Exercise will boost your immune system, strengthen your bones, tone your body and help you keep off excess weight. It keeps your cardiovascular system strong, and improves endurance.

This means you can perform all of your daily activities and more without feel sluggish or fatigued. Find a way to work this into your life, it will do wonderful things for just about every cell in your body. It’s suggested that healthy adults rack up two hours of moderate to vigorous activity a week, if you use a fitness tracker like a Fitbit they can show you exactly how much you’re racking up allowing you to push yourself to get more if needed. When you can see what you’re lacking right there in black and white it’s easy to get out there and smash your goal. Many of us over estimate the activity we do so this prevents that from happening.

Get Enough Sleep

A good night’s sleep is absolutely paramount to your health and general wellbeing. In the short term lack of sleep can cause mood swings, drowsiness, elevated hunger and the risk of accidental death due to things like falling asleep in the bath or at the wheel. In the long run it can increase your risk of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and many other potentially fatal yet preventable diseases. Don’t prioritise things like gaming or watching tv in the evening over sleep, go to bed that hour earlier you’ll feel better for it. Put down technology an hour before you go to sleep since the glow from screens can alter the winding down process. Get into a regular sleeping pattern, the body craves regularity and if you’re in the habit of going to bed roughly the same time each night you will get used to this and start sleeping and waking at the correct times. No more snoozing the alarm ten times each morning, as you will wake up feeling refreshed.

Quit Your Dangerous Vices

There’s nothing that will damage your body faster than drinking, drugs and smoking. These kinds of dangerous habits deplete the body of minerals, cause cell and organ damage, and in the case of drugs and alcohol cause mental health issues too. These habits are linked to many different kinds of cancers and the chances of them eventually contributing to your death are significant. If you want to live a long and happy life, it’s important that you make the effort to kick these habits to the curb. If you’re heavily addicted you could speak to your GP who will be happy to refer you to the right counselling or prescribe products that will help. There are also over the counter remedies for things like smoking addiction that can help from patches to gum. Many people find that switching to vaping first can help, as not only is it healthier but you can gradually wean yourself off  by reducing nicotine. People also report that quitting from vaping is actually a lot easier than from traditional cigarettes, so this is a step you could consider first.

Take Care of Your Safety

As well as looking after your health, it’s important that you take responsibility for your safety. This includes driving safely, ie not getting in the driver’s seat if you’ve had alcohol, are very tired or very emotional. It means not using things like power tools unless you know what you’re doing, and being careful of things like burns and cuts in the kitchen. Keep your wits about you and watch out for your safety. Sometimes injuries occur which are unavoidable, perhaps a floor was left wet with no sign or a pavement was left sticking up as a tripping hazard. In this case, injury accident lawyers law firm of Rand Spear can help you to get the compensation you’re entitled to. But of course, where possible keep your eyes peeled and think about your personal safety.

Take Care of Your Mental Health

As well as caring for your physical body and making sure you’re both healthy and safe, it’s crucial you look after your mental health too. The body and mind are linked in more ways than scientists and psychologists ever imagined, and the connection between the two is now well established. We all want to feel happy and positive, and there are a number of way to go about this. The first is to socialise more, spending time with people we care about makes us feel positive and secure. Having that support network there and a shoulder to cry on if things go wrong is invaluable. Friends also introduce you to new things, activities and events you might never have stumbled upon on your own and they also make life more fun. Another way to improve your mental health is to take up hobbies that you genuinely enjoy. Often our routines can feel like work, sleep, repeat- but throw in an enjoyable hobby and it gives you something to look forward to. Something productive to do on your days off and another chance to meet new friends.

Making time to rest is also worth bearing in mind. Life can be go go go and it’s easy to burn out. Have some time just to relax and unwind, it could be on a Sunday afternoon or in the evening during the week. Run a hot bath and put your feet up. Indulge in some Netflix guilt free or get lost in a book. You could go a step further and book into a salon or spa for some pampering treatments and a massage. If you have a hot tub or sauna in your gym, pop in for twenty minutes and unwind after your workout or swim. You’ll lower your blood pressure, clear your mind and generally feel so much better.

Taking care of yourself is important, and something that you are solely responsible for. If you want a long happy life, where you reduce your chance of preventable illness, aches, pains and early death, do what you can to look after your body and mind.

What things do you do to take care of your body and mind? Will any of these things be featuring in your new year’s resolutions for 2018?

Staff Writer; Gary Harris

 


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