10 Ways To Prioritize Your Health
When we speak of health and wellness, we are referring to more than just weight, diet, and exercise—but a strategic approach to balancing your mind, body, and spirit. If you are ready to transform your lifestyle and make health your top priority these 10 tips will help.
#1 Make More Me Time
Let’s first begin with balance, which is something that many of us are lacking. It’s time to stop filling your schedule to the max and start leaving a few gaps. As you get closer to the open time in your schedule each week invest it in solo or group activities that provide balance. This can include getting a massage, reading a book, participating in a hobby, spending quality time with loved ones, or anything that feels joyful instead of stressful.
The average person checks their phone over 80 times per day, and the digital alerts on our phones are often the first thing we check when we wake, and the last thing we do when we go to bed at night. This doesn’t include all the time we spend on our computers, gaming, or plugged into other digital devices. Even when we read on our e-readers, most of us interrupt our reading as alerts popup. This constant digital distraction leads to decision fatigue and a decrease in productivity. By setting a few goals to unplug you can create significant balance and increase productivity. Yes, it may be really difficult at first. Here are some of the best times of day to unplug:
- The first hour of the day
- The last hour of the day
- For at least one scheduled 1 or 2 hour block of high-productivity time
- During date night, meals, and when with friends and family
- At least 8 hours one day a week
#3 Personalize Your Nutrition
Weight is often the first thing that comes to mind when we speak of nutrition, but what we eat impacts our digestion, immunity, and even our mental health. It can be difficult to decide how to improve your daily diet as there is a lot of conflicting information. From fad diets to elimination diets, fasting, and an endless variety of studies telling us what we should and shouldn’t eat. What is important to remember is that we are all unique so personalizing our nutrition is often the best way to go. Also, our dietary needs change at different stages of life. So, instead of going on a diet, reach out to a nutritionist for a personalized approach.
#4 Rethink Fitness
We all know that we need to work out at least 4 days a week, but we must think of fitness beyond cardio and strength training. With many of us sitting for 8 or more hours a day at work, and more when we get home for the day—we are living very sedentary lifestyles. So, instead of just scheduling in your weekly workouts find more opportunities to move. This might mean walking short distances instead of driving, taking the stairs, or walking on your lunch break. Also, invest in office ergonomics, including a desk that allows you to either sit or stand at your computer. When it comes to breaking a sweat, explore your options in gym alternatives and find physical activities that you truly enjoy. This might include playing a sport, signing up for a dance class, water activities, snow sports, and more.
#5 Stretch Your Body
In addition to physical fitness invest a bit of time each day in stretching your body. Stretching isn’t just for flexibility, but to improve circulation and stretch away tension. It will also help to counteract some of our repetitive movements and the strain caused by poor posture and electronics use. As we age, stretching helps with balance and range of motion. No need for extreme stretching as you can find plenty of short stretching videos on YouTube. Gentle stretching is excellent first thing in the morning, before you go to bed, or in the middle of your workday. Don’t forget to stretch pre and post-workout.
#6 Stretch Your Mind
We must never stop learning and growing which means we must take a proactive approach to stretching our mind. It has never been easier to continue our personal and professional development. You can take a variety of classes online, read self-development books, and sign up for live workshops, seminars, and classes.
#7 Prioritize Mental Health
It’s an exciting time in that the stigma surrounding talking about mental health and getting the help we need is slowly fading away. We can all benefit from prioritizing our mental health, even if we don’t have a chronic condition. This includes managing stress and anxiety, accurately identifying our emotions, improving our empathy for others, being of support to our loved ones when they are struggling with their mental health, and reaching out for help when we need it.
#8 Improve The Quality Of Your Sleep
With so much to do many of us head to bed later and get up earlier. This provides us with an extra hour or two each day but robs us of our much-needed rest. While we sleep our body heals and repairs, so without a consistent level of adequate sleep our whole-body health can suffer. Everyone is different but the average person requires between 7 to 9 hours of quality sleep each night. Quality is key, so if you toss and turn, have chronic pain, or get up to go to the bathroom several times during the night you may require more sleep. Some of the top ways to improve the quality of your sleep include:
- Invest in a specialty mattress. This might be a bed that you can adjust the firmness or that elevates at the head and foot, with individual controls for each side of the bed.
- Purchase new pillows. Test out a few different types of pillows, including pillows for your hip and body.
- If you and your partner prefer different sleeping temperatures invest in a heated mattress pad with individual controls for each side. Heated pads can also be helpful for chronic pain management.
- Use sound therapy, ASMR, or sleep stories to help fall asleep.
- Create a soothing bedtime routine. No news before bedtime, no electronics in the bedroom, use lavender aromatherapy, take a warm shower or bath, stretch, and more.
- Make sure your room is quiet and invest in window treatments that keep the light out.
#9 Take Time Off
In addition to scheduling in more me time each week, it's time to start taking your vacation days. This should include at least one full week each year and a few long weekends.
Working vacations don’t count. Some of this time can be spent in rest and relaxation, like a weekend away at a wellness retreat, but this is also the time to travel, cross items off your Bucket List, and spend quality time with loved ones.
#10 Return To Nature
With our constantly connected modern lifestyles, it is easy to forget that we are part of the natural circle of life. This means we must find ways to return to and reconnect with nature. This includes spending more time in nature, even if it’s a small park with a few trees. Look for ways to bring nature indoors with plants, natural textiles, wood furniture and accents, an indoor water element, and nature-inspired art. Finally, turn to nature to help heal and balance your mind and body. Consider aromatherapy to invigorate or relax. Eat a diet high in nutrient-rich whole foods. Explore how different plants and herbs like tea and CBD can help soothe your body or provide targeted health benefits.
Here’s to a life that is healthy, happy, and balanced!