This post was written by guest blogger Scott Sanders. Scott is the creator of CancerWell.org, which provides resources and support for anyone who has been affected by any form of cancer. He is also the author of the book Put Yourself First: A Guide to Self-care and Spiritual Wellness During and After Cancer Treatment.
With the pace of life making it difficult to find time to catch your breath, being able to focus on something beneficial for yourself might seem impossible. As we struggle to keep up with daily demands, focusing on improving your overall health may fall to the bottom of your priority list — but it doesn’t have to. Proper health involves improving both your mental and physical well-being. Putting yourself on the track to better head-to-toe health can begin with a few simple steps that are within reach.
Maintain a Healthy Environment
Your home plays a huge role in deciding the state your health. Without regular inspection and upkeep, you may be unknowingly sharing your living space with harmful irritants that can weaken your immune system. Make sure you test your home for mold and radon, and if you see any signs, have them properly treated. Also, check for ventilation issues, which can be solved with either some simple DIY fixes or the help of an HVAC professional. Be sure to enhance the quality of your water with a filtration system, and put measures in place to keep pests out. When you improve your environment, you do the same for your health.
Take Time for Yourself
It’s important to make time for yourself and not make a big deal about relaxing and having solo downtime. When you choose to take a break, don’t let it make you feel guilty, lazy, or unproductive. It might seem contradictory to steal a few minutes to focus on you, but that time off can actually make you more productive. By incorporating daily exercises like yoga, meditation, or reading a book, you’ll find ways to recharge. Taking care of your mental health in these ways is essential to your physical health as well.
Maximize Your Healthcare Coverage
It’s easy to get caught up in finding ways to get healthy, but you should never lose sight of ensuring that your well-being is covered when your body needs it the most. Health insurance comes to the rescue when you’re sick or injured, but it also serves as a preventative measure to keep you from getting sick. If you’re a senior using a Medicare Advantage plan, you might also have the added benefit of vision and dental care, or even access to fitness centers nationwide via the SilverSneakers program. Since plans are updated periodically, it is recommended that you check your policy every year to make sure you maximize your benefits.
Get Creative with Exercise
While the mental aspects of your health are vitally important, an easy way to improve your overall health from top-to-bottom is by getting some form of exercise any way you can. Finding the time can be a struggle, but the good news is that short, targeted workouts are proven to work. If you’re worried about not having access to a gym, you shouldn’t worry, as you can find creative ways to move.
Some ways to implement exercise into your daily routine include walking to the grocery store instead of driving, taking the stairs at work instead of the elevator, and getting off the bus a stop or two earlier. Exercise doesn’t have to be overly complicated with machines or weights; you can get creative and incorporate it into your daily routine for results that benefit you physically as well as mentally.
Fuel Your Body
The foundation for good health starts with what we put in our bodies. The food we consume not only plays a vital role in our overall health, but it also helps control our weight and prevents disease. If you are just starting to make changes to your diet, it might be more effective to make gradual changes. For example, you can change your shopping style by opting for lean meats instead of beef, whole grains instead of white carbs, and fresh fruits and vegetables instead of the canned variety. While an apple might seem less appealing than a sugary or salty snack, keep in mind that it’s not about instantly gratifying your craving. Instead, it’s about the long-term impact that nutrient-rich, low-calorie food can have on your overall health.
The thought of taking care of your health might seem daunting at first, but it doesn’t require drastic changes to your schedule. Get creative with finding ways to exercise, initiate small changes to your diet, and take a few minutes each day to rest and recharge. A healthier lifestyle will sneak up on you before you even realize it, and it’ll eventually feel effortless.