Article Written by Guest Author Jennifer McGregor
In today’s fast food-based, fast-paced, overscheduled world, it can be hard to make health a priority. No one can afford to ignore their health, but being aware isn’t always enough — sometimes, we have to be proactive.
Being healthy isn’t just about the number on a scale or the blood pressure cuff. It’s also about how we feel emotionally and mentally. If you’re struggling to make physical and mental health and wellness a priority in your overbooked schedule, here are a few tips to help you get started and stick to your plans.
Know your healthcare in and out
Your health insurance plan is your lifeline to longevity. Getting the right kind of care at the right time can both prevent illness and help you recover quickly from it. That’s true for everyone, but it’s especially important for seniors. Medicare is extremely complicated, which is why some seniors get surprised with unexpected medical bills for necessary care. You can take charge of your healthcare by looking into Medicare Advantage plans. These plans offer access to vision and dental visits, prescription medications, wellness plans, fitness centers and more. The right kind of health coverage is the foundation of healthy living.
Remove clutter from your home
Research indicates that it’s difficult to let go of things that are sentimental, resulting in a continuous buildup of clutter. However, those piles of clutter can leave you feeling distracted and less productive. Decluttering can be overwhelming, but it is actually healthy for your mind. It not only creates a relaxing environment, but it also allows you to turn your home into a reflection of who you want to be. You should regularly keep your home organized, in order to prevent future buildups of clutter. Since decluttering can be a big project, why not alleviate some of the stress by having a service deep clean your home after decluttering? It costs $100 - $250 to hire a maid service in Fenton.
Partner up with an accountability buddy
When push comes to shove, busy people often have to put themselves last in order to accomplish goals. You skip the gym and work late to help a procrastinating coworker meet a deadline. You scarf down fast food instead of eating a healthy meal to make it to your child’s soccer game on time. A busy person’s life is peppered with these small health sacrifices, which can really add up over time.
One effective way to discourage yourself from de-prioritizing your health is to join forces with an accountability partner. This can be a friend who has a similar goal — for example, to exercise more, eat more fruits and vegetables, or meditate daily to manage stress. You can work out at the gym together (the average national cost of a membership is $58 a month), take the same fitness class each week, or get together on Sundays to prepare healthy meals for the week. With an accountability partner, you’ll feel more motivated to stick to your plan due to, quite honestly, peer pressure (but in a good way!). To avoid letting this person down, people who commit to healthy habits with a friend are more likely to make these habits stick around for the long term.
Get in touch with your microbiome
The microbiome is making big waves with both physical and mental health professionals. Research shows that your microbiome — the healthy and necessary bacteria that live in your gut — can play a substantial role in immune, mood and digestive health. Did you know that 70 percent of your immune system cells are created in your gut, or that a whopping 90 percent of your body’s neurotransmitters — including mood-regulating dopamine and serotonin — are also created in the gut? Your microbiome has a direct impact on your physical and mental health. Give this natural process a boost by adding more fermented foods to your diet, eating less sugar and fewer processed foods, and taking a daily probiotic.
Attach exercise to other activities
Exercise has a myriad of health benefits. It helps you maintain a healthy weight, produce amino acids, generate mood-boosting hormones, and reduce your risk of chronic disease, but squeezing in an hour a day can be hard for people with a busy schedule. That’s where changing activities you already do into activities that stimulate your body can be helpful. For example, you can purchase a bicycle or treadmill desk (available for around $520) for work, or take all your meetings and phone calls while walking. You can park at the back of parking lots and always take the stairs. Likewise, you can start a 20-30 minute home Pilates workout in the mornings or evenings while watching the news or your favorite TV show.
No matter how busy you are, you are never too busy to make your health a priority. Changing your habits and routines may not always be easy, but it doesn’t have to be hard. Start small by only making one change or addition at a time, and don’t forget to celebrate each and every milestone you make along the way.