Health & Wellness

04/16/2015

Health & Wellness: Tips for Everyday Living 

undefinedBrrr is a common expression from Hoosiers around town this winter! Although we haven’t had a lot of snowfall thankfully, it’s been brutally cold and we’ve reached record lows this winter season. What has this meant for residents of the state of Indiana?  It means we’re in a state of emergency for health and wellness!

It’s likely on some level you’ve neglected your health and wellness this winter and it’s time to get it back on track with spring and summer just around the corner. Because of the cold temperatures, many of you’ve probably found yourself spending more time indoors parked on the couch eating your favorite snacks and watching television. It’s also likely that you’ve spent enough time with Netflix and Amazon Prime that you’ve forgotten you were even in a relationship; I promise I won’t tell...your secret is safe with me!

If you’ve found yourself neglecting your health and wellness this winter, then I would encourage you to keep reading to gain awareness on the tips to keep in mind when addressing your health and wellness. By the end, you should have some tools on how to recognize health and wellness pitfalls and how to solve them.

Health and wellness are multidimensional. When I think of these concepts, I think of the whole person encompassing the physical, mental, social, behavioral, sexual, intellectual, occupational, and spiritual. Because health and wellness are multidimensional, if you’re not careful, yours can easily become neglected.

To avoid neglecting your health and wellness, think of prevention. What is prevention?  Prevention is the idea that you can address issues with your physical, mental, social, behavioral, sexual, intellectual, occupational, and spiritual health before they go awry. With this in mind, below is a list of health and wellness tips to keep in mind when thinking about preventative maintenance. Remember that you’re responsible for your health and wellness and that you have the ability to affect change in your life to impact the way you feel.

1. If you don’t already have a primary care physician, find one! You’d be surprised how many people don’t have a primary care physician. This is imperative for preventative maintenance.  See your doctor on a regular basis, especially for physical examinations, and to have your blood work, thyroid and hormones checked yearly. Building a relationship with your doctor means your doctor gets to know you, your body, and your health, which makes it easier for both you and your doctor to realize when any part of your health and wellness is at risk. These simple tests can make your life more manageable and can even save your life. I typically recommend my patients get an updated physical examination etc., when I see them to make sure their psychiatric symptoms aren’t part of a larger medical problem. Importantly, re-evaluate behaviors that take a toll on your life such as smoking and excessive alcohol consumption.

2. Manage your stress and emotional health! I can’t say this enough: Stress will wreak havoc in your life if it isn’t managed appropriately.  Stress can be confusing because sometimes it can affect the multidimensional aspects of your health and wellness. If you’re used to being under high levels of stress or you often overlook how your body feels, you could be in trouble. One way to decrease stress is to perceive the stressful situations in your life differently. If this is easier said than done for you, please take note of the following health and wellness tips. These can all help reduce the stress you experience.  

3. Eat a healthy diet! Make sure your food choices are healthy. If you’re unsure what this looks like or what “healthy” is, reach out to your doctor for a referral to a registered dietitian or take a look at the USDA Food Pyramid. Eating throughout the day will sustain your energy and will keep your metabolism moving. One way to de-stress is to take the time throughout the day to eat something healthy and tasty. Your body and mind will thank you! Oh, and make sure to hydrate throughout the day with water; forgo the soda and caffeinated beverages when possible.

4. Exercise on a regular basis! That means exercise more days than not, if possible. If you haven’t exercised in a year or longer, talk with your doctor and make sure you’re cleared to begin an exercise regimen. When you begin, take small steps and build from there. It’s usually recommended to exercise from 30 to 60 minutes three to six days a week; the most important thing is to make sure it fits within your lifestyle. If it doesn’t, your chances of maintaining your regimen will be low. There are a ton of benefits from exercise, and most importantly it can help prevent a variety of medical conditions and can help alleviate stress, anxiety, and depression.  

5. Make sure to get enough sleep! The amount of time of sleep you need varies from person to person and sometimes it can take a trial and error before you hit upon the amount of time you need to feel refreshed, restored and ready to face your day. Usually six to eight hours a night is sufficient, but again this depends on all sorts of factors such as your age, when you last ate, how much alcohol you’ve consumed prior to falling asleep, and how much stress is in your life and how much physical activity you’ve had for the day. Whatever you do, create a boundary and make a deal with yourself on the time you want to go to bed in order to get the amount of sleep that you need. Make sure to use your bed only for sleep and sexual intimacy. This means no television in bed! Hard to commit to, I know, but worth it in the end because your sleep will be so much more refreshing. That way your body and mind doesn’t confuse the purpose of the bed and create difficulty in triggering a sleep onset.

6. Take time out for yourself! Don’t forget to get involved in things that make you happy and fulfilled. Find hobbies, reach out to family and friends, volunteer, or participate in faith-related activities that lift your spirit. There’s so much to do and get involved in Indianapolis so do yourself a favor and get connected. Finding time for yourself is crucial in renewing yourself and decreasing stress.

7. Do some deep breathing! To do this, find a relaxing place free of distractions and get into a comfortable position. Once you’re ready, inhale through your nose for four to six counts, pause, and then release the air through your mouth for four to six counts, then pause again, and repeat. Do this for 10 to 30 minutes each day. We know that deep breathing decreases stress, anxiety, and tension. It also relieves pain, decreases blood pressure, and re-centers your mind. Deep breathing exercises are restorative for the mind and body. Check it out and see for yourself!  

Health and wellness is an intricate network of layers consisting of the physical, mental, social, behavioral, sexual, intellectual, occupational, and spiritual dimensions.  It’s difficult to find a good balance and take care of yourself, especially during long winter months but it’s necessary and the tips above can help. Take some time to re-evaluate these dimensions and get yourself back on track!  

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Comments

Sarah On March 29, 2017 at 9:19 PM
I'm planning on improving my health. Thanks for the advice about how you should exercise fro 30-60 min a day to help improve your lifestyle. Another thing to do is to make sure you drink 6-8 cups of water a day.
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