Here we are at the beginning of a new year. So many women embrace this time as a platform to get healthier. If you are one of them and want to achieve your health goals, there are some things you need to know. The first thing that comes to mind is that true health is a journey, not a destination. In other words, living a healthful lifestyle every day is the main road that presents joy, peace, and, yes, good physical and mental health.
You might have heard that eating quality whole foods, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep can all lead to a healthier life. These things are pillars of health, but there are other aspects of living a healthy lifestyle that can easily be overlooked. Unfortunately, ignoring them can sabotage your other hard work. I’ve been there and done that…it’s not a fun place to be. So, I’m giving you the “achieve your health goals”411…
Let’s take a look at the less-known facets of achieving health and wellness.
Stress is a natural part of life that isn’t likely going to disappear anytime soon. That said, we do have some control over how we respond to it. If pressure from work, family, money, and relationships constantly put you on edge, it’s time to assess your stress-coping abilities. And, you should know, managing stress well isn’t a skill that comes automatically. We have to be taught and practice those skills regularly. Kind of like how we get healthier by eating well daily not just eating a salad every once in a while.
I recommend learning healthy coping techniques while things are calmer in your life. That way, when people and circumstances throw sand in your face (and they will), you are ready. Some of my favorite stress-busters are stretching, yoga, meditation, and deep breathing exercises. I also enjoy taking regular breaks from work and other obligations so I can manage any stress with a rested mind and body.
If you’re not used to doing any of these things, start slowly and work up to doing more. Start with practicing one coping strategy for one week and see how you feel. Even better…make this one a part of your health goals. Track your progress by journaling or keeping a log. It’s fun to look back on your experience to see how far you’ve come.
Make Time for Yourself
Life spits in your eye, spills the milk, kicks you in the shin, and makes you clean it all up… the mom-0f-six speaks from experience. And, you know what? I didn’t always take time for myself. Boy, did that throw a wrench in my health…chronic migraine and about 5 other labels I won’t go into now. Anyway, it’s important to make time for yourself and do something that brings you joy and peace (Hint: managing stress can be a part of this one).
This health facet needs to be expressed by doing what you love. Whether it’s reading a book, taking a walk in nature, or simply spending time with friends and family, carving out “me-time” each day can help you stay connected to your needs. Making time for yourself also builds self-awareness- an important component of staying healthy.
Ask for Help
If you’re feeling particularly overwhelmed or have had any changes in your health, it’s important to reach out to your health team. Your doctor, nutritionist, therapist, or other practitioners can shed some light on your situation. This helps ensure that any underlying issues are addressed and can help you stay on top of your health. Don’t let things get worse before you ask for help. This goes for mental and physical issues.
One topic that has hit the fan lately is women’s reproductive health because of the overturn of Roe vs Wade. The truth is, it’s no longer simple to visit a local abortion clinic to end a pregnancy for any reason, including health risks to the mom. That said, there are still agencies out there that provide advice and support for these situations.
Break Bad Habits
Bad habits like smoking, excessive alcohol use, skin picking, and over-eating unhealthy foods can stand in the way of efforts to achieve your health goals. I’m not saying that you have to be perfect or can never have another potato chip again. I’m simply saying to be aware of what could be sabotaging your health goals. The way to quit these bad habits is to want something more than you want your vice. For example, you want to look and feel young more than you want to smoke or drink. You get the idea, right? Do what you can to end or minimize things that you know are working against you.
Protect Yourself from Negative People and Environments
It’s important to be aware of the environments you are in daily. This includes your home, workplace, school, and the homes of family, friends, or lovers. If you find that an environment is making you feel anxious, stressed, or negatively affected in any way, it might be time to speak up or make a change. It might also be beneficial to remove yourself from that situation altogether. Surrounding yourself with positive people and environments is a good way to support your health goals. Feeling safe and peaceful helps motivate you and will have a positive effect on your overall health.
I could keep going on and on about how to achieve your health goals, but I will stop here…for now. The best advice I can give you is to figure out what works for you through trial and error. This goes for the physical stuff as well as the mental/emotional. In other words…DO YOU! BE WELL, my friends!
**** This post is strictly informational and is not meant to replace the advice of your healthcare provider. Women’s lifelink, its owners, administrators, contributors, affiliates, vendors, authors, and editors do not claim that this information will diagnose, treat, or improve any condition or disease.