Improve your health in 2021
The year 2020 brought with it the global Coronavirus pandemic and highlighted just how precious our health and that of our loved ones, really is.
Although the pandemic has affected each of us differently – dependent on various factors, including where we live – virtually everyone has been impacted in some way. It has certainly been a year that has changed the way we live and work and caused us to sharpen our focus on our health to live the best life possible.
If your New Year’s resolution is to spend 2021 looking after yourself better, read on for some quick wins on how to live your best life all year around – not just in January! These tips will no doubt get your doctor’s tick of approval, but yours too.
Our mindset plays a critical role in our mental health, as well as our physical health. Psychology researchers throughout the world say that gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Try keeping a gratitude journal. Write down three things every day that you feel grateful for in the current moment or when you reflect on your day. Mental health concerns are very common affecting 1 in 2 of us at some point of our life. If you feel you are struggling with your mental health see your GP as soon as possible. It is very hard to achieve good health if you are worried or depressed.
Prioritise quality sleep
We all know getting good, quality sleep of 7-9 hours is good for us, so how do we achieve that? To sleep better, aim for a sleep routine. This is where you go to bed about the same time each night and rise about the same time each morning (give or take 20 minutes). This helps maintain your body’s natural body clock. Avoid screens before bed, and do something to relax – like reading, breathing or mindfulness exercises in the half hour before bed to prepare your body for sleep.
- Read more about 10 Steps to Better Sleep here, by Queensland Health.
Move your body
Exercise is great for our physical health, but also our mental wellbeing. Aim to get at least 30 minutes most days of the week (not too close to bed time) and if you can’t do it in one hit, try parking your car further away from where you’re going, take the stairs not the elevator, or increase your heart rate as you clean the house. In other words aim to get as much incidental exercise as possible. If you’d like a way of keeping accountable, most smartphones have pedometers so you can count your steps each day. If you want to take the next step consider a smart watch which can track your movement, heart rate and sleep.
If you do little exercise currently, start small so exercise is incorporated into your life gradually and then you’re more likely to stick to it. Build up to 10,000 steps a day. If you want to start exercising more seriously, think about a home based exercise program using body weight or simple hand weights and resistance bands so that you can do it without leaving your house. You can achieve a lot in this manner but remember to see your GP before starting an exercise plan, so they can discuss your medical history and fitness level with you and cater advice to suit you. We may even decide to refer you to an exercise physiologist or physiotherapist to help you on your journey to better health.
There’s a saying about doing something every day that scares you! While we won’t advise you to go that far (though that’s certainly up to you!), there’s a lot to be said about the benefits of learning something new. You could learn a new skill, listen to an informative podcast, learn more about someone else as you make a new friend, or delve into that hobby you’ve always wanted to try. Maybe it could be as simple as doing a daily Sudoku. Keeping your mind engaged with new ideas and experiences is an important part of your mental wellbeing.
- For more great mental wellbeing initiatives visit the Your Mental Wellbeing website.
Check your health
Prevention is better than a cure, right? Don’t forget to visit your GP whenever you have a health concern, and ensure you have a yearly check up just to make sure you’re on the right path. At Fiveways Surgery we are committed to preventative health – not just treating illness or disease – so let us know if we can help you improve any aspect of your life. If you’ve got a physical or mental health goal for 2021 let us know. We can offer you advice or information that might help your reach your goal sooner. Call us on 07 3870 2525 to make an appointment.
Harvard Health Publishing (Article: Giving thanks can make you happier)
Tropeaka (article: 50 Quick Health wins for huge results)
Rush (article: 10 Simple Ways to Improve Your Health)