If you have a hectic work schedule or you have children, you may find that your health takes a backseat. Before you know it, days, weeks or even months have passed, and you still haven’t got around to making changes and putting your health first. If you’ve decided that it’s time to pay more attention to your health and wellbeing, you don’t have to overhaul your lifestyle completely. Here are some simple steps you can take today to feel better.
Take stock of your health
Be honest. When was the last time you had a general health check, you had your blood pressure or your BMI checked, or you went for an eye test or a dental check-up? If you tend to throw invitations for appointments on a pile of unopened letters, or you have no idea how much you weigh or what your blood pressure is, it’s a good idea to take stock of your health. Get up to speed with routine health checks and screening tests, and take a trip to your local pharmacy to have your blood pressure checked. If you’ve got scales at home, you can weigh yourself and use an online calculator to work out your BMI (body mass index). If you have tests or check-ups, and they do raise issues, you can address them with the help of a doctor, nurse or dentist before they get worse.
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Invest in your mental wellbeing
Many of us tend to think about our body weight or our activity levels when the word health is mentioned. For some reason, mental and physical health are often viewed as separate entities, but psychological wellbeing is an integral component of overall health. Take time to invest in your mental health, and don’t be afraid to seek advice or to talk to a doctor or a person you trust if you are struggling with symptoms of depression or anxiety or you don’t quite feel yourself. Just as you can shield your body from illness by eating well and being active, you can help to boost your wellbeing and protect against psychological disorders by tackling stress, devoting time to things that make you happy and surrounding yourself with people who support you and make you feel confident and secure.
Take advantage of health services
In the UK, we’re very lucky to have access to a host of health services, which are either available free of charge or at a discounted rate. If you need any help or advice at all, you have symptoms that don’t seem to be subsiding, or you need treatment of some kind, don’t hesitate to reach out. Dental care is subsidised, GP services are free and the morning after pill is free on the NHS. Many of us are reluctant to seek advice when we need it, but health professionals are there to help. Even if you’re embarrassed about a health problem, or you need to talk about something which feels a little awkward, it’s important to remember that the doctors and nurses you see will have seen many people in the same boat.
Exercise is one of the best remedies for both mental and physical ailments, and it has incredible preventative powers. If you lead an active lifestyle, this will reduce your risk of developing a host of conditions, from heart disease to type 2 diabetes, and you’ll also find that you sleep better, you feel less stressed and that you feel more confident. When your body is moving, your serotonin levels increase, and your body releases endorphins, which make you feel great. It’s normal to be apprehensive about getting into exercise if you’re not an active person, but you don’t need to spend your life in the gym to get fitter. If you don’t like the idea of doing gym workouts, try team sports, go for bike rides, go jogging, go swimming, join a tennis club or learn to dance. Try and find an activity or a class that you enjoy, and have fun. Exercise doesn’t have to be dull.
If you’re working all hours, or you’re running around after small children every day, tiredness may have become a default setting. Sleep is one of the most important factors when it comes to good health. If you don’t get enough rest, this will impact your mood, your energy levels and your immunity. Try and get into a routine that enables you to relax and unwind in the evenings and stick to a timetable. If you start going to bed at 11pm and getting up at 6am as often as possible, your body clock will soon adjust. Of course, there may be nights when your routine goes out of the window, especially if you’re a parent, but making changes should benefit you.
Are you guilty of putting everyone else first? Have you neglected your health in the past? If you’re keen to boost your health and wellbeing, try these simple steps today.