It’s not as easy as you might think to stay healthy. It’s difficult to stay calm and focused and to take care of your health when you’re busy all day long and surrounded by a variety of stressors that disrupt your schedule. In addition, you’re surrounded by a variety of health threats, from too much sugar and salt in packaged foods to environmental toxins.
But that’s not all: you’re inundated with so much conflicting advice on how to take better care of yourself that it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Coffee, for example, was long condemned as bad for you because it’s an acidic food, but now there is new research that suggests coffee also has some health benefits like its ability to reduce the danger of developing type 2 diabetes.
While most people are aware of the need to see a doctor for a regular checkup, eating healthy food, and getting in a moderate amount of exercise each day, there are three things many people overlook: getting rid of a recurring health problem, de-stressing each day, and getting enough sleep each night. Let’s take a closer look at why these three are so important:
1. Get rid of recurring health problems once and for all.
If you have a recurring health problem, you must get it under control. One recurring problem many people have is an addiction to drugs and alcohol. While they initially used these as a form of self-medication, they eventually became addicted to them. Since it’s often difficult to break these addictions through willpower alone, your best chance of success is to get professional help.
If you’ve developed a serious addiction, then either an intensive outpatient day program or an in care resident program may be necessary. Sometimes you might be able to find these in the state where you live. If you live in Southern California, for example, the BLVD detox center in Los Angeles provides full health services and an effective detox process that flushes the body of the substances you’ve been abusing.
2. Create a stress management routine.
Many health problems arise from not being able to unwind and relax. As stress undermines your immune system, it makes you increasingly vulnerable to illness. For this reason, it’s essential to find ways to create routines that help your worried mind and your tense body to unwind. While some stress is good for you because it stimulates you to take action, this type of stress, called eustress, only needs to be used to increase performance. If you are stressed all the time, even when you’re not performing any task, then stress becomes distress. When distress becomes chronic, it creates a variety of mood disorders like anxiety or depression, as well as more serious mental health issues. Similarly, you are more likely to get ill, from colds and cases of flu to serious medical conditions.
While going on vacations, taking the day off, and getting a massage are all ways of reducing stress, you also need to build routines in your day where you can let go of the emotional, nervous, and physical stresses that occur each day. Usually, it’s best to use your own simple, stress-relieving routines at the end of the day when you have nothing else to preoccupy your mind. Simple routines can include yoga stretches, a long walk in nature, meditation, or a hot bath in Epsom salts. These practices help your nervous system to calm down, your brain waves to drop from high beta to slower alpha, and your muscles to relax deeply.
3. Get enough sleep every night.
If you are not getting a good night’s rest every night, then you will suffer a variety of problems related to sleep deprivation. Besides being more vulnerable to an accident, you will show high inflammatory markers in your bloodstream, and over time these markers affect your hormones, create high blood pressure, and put you at risk for a cardiovascular illness.
Given this welter of stressors, pollutants, and conflicting information about health, it’s easy to understand why most people simply give up trying to take better care of their health, settling for a fatalistic attitude about what will happen to them. Still, it’s entirely up to you to decide to stay healthy in mind and body. Besides eating healthy and getting in exercise every way you can, pay more attention to resolving a recurring health problem, learning how to destress each day, and sleeping well each night, you are increasing your odds of living a long and healthy life.