On the list of your priorities, where is your health?
If it’s not No. 1, please, for the sake of all those who love you, move it there now.
Some people — especially women — are hesitant to put themselves first. But putting your health and well-being first on the list of your priorities is anything but selfish.
- How can you take care of your family when you’re stressed all time?
- How can you work at your peak performance if you routinely skimp on sleep?
- How can you find a job that invigorates you when you refuse to leave one that literally sickens you?
If you know you need more sleep and less stress, then why do you let destructive cycles continue? Seriously — please stop and address what is your why?
Taking care of yourself isn’t just for your own benefit – you have an obligation to be as kind and loving to your body as possible because so many other people depend on you.
Every time you inhale another cigarette, eat another super-sized fast-food meal, skip exercising or utilize an unhealthy coping mechanism for stress (drinking, smoking, eating), you deprive your family, friends, co-workers and clients of precious time with you.
You owe it to those who love you to love yourself. Nurture your body, mind and spirit regularly to promote a long, wondrous life.
We may not have control over how much time we have on this earth, but we do have control over our habits. More studies, such as this one, continue to show that you can add years to your life by practicing healthy habits. Here are mine:
12 Tenacious Health Habits
- Start each morning or end each night with meditation or prayer.
Be quiet and still. Give thanks for all you have. Reflect on your goals and what actions you are taking or can take to achieve them.
- If you have a “super bad health habit,” such as smoking, continual heavy drinking/alcoholism or other substance abuse problems, quit it as soon as possible by seeking help from someone who specializes in your particular problem area.
Focus on one “super bad” habit at a time. No matter how many times you relapse, try again. It’s no coincidence that the “super bad” habits are also the “super addictive” ones, so don’t feel defeated if you don’t succeed on the first try.
- Stay current on all your health exams.
Even if you’re healthy, do an annual physical exam with your doctor, an annual exam with your gynecologist (if you’re a woman), an annual dermatologist screening, an annual eye exam, and two dental check-ups per year. As you age, follow your doctor’s recommendations for other routine tests, such as prostate exams and mammograms.
- Minimize your stress.
If you have a high-stress job that isn’t getting any better, start mapping out your exit strategy. No job is worth sacrificing your health and wellness.If you’re drowning in debt, seek professional help. (We are using AAA Fair Credit Foundation, and I highly recommend them. See our experience.) Prolonged stress severely damages your health and is completely unnecessary.
- Practice listening to your body.
If you’re sick all the time, your body is trying to tell you something. It may be time to take some things off your plate.
- Exercise as much as possible.
Get in a solid half-hour to an hour of cardio and weight training whenever you can. On days when you can’t afford an actual workout, walk as much as possible, take the stairs and stretch in the morning or before bed. You don’t need to run a marathon to be healthy, just incorporate as much movement into your day as you can.
- Make healthy eating a lifestyle.
Eat whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean meats, fish, diary and some red wine. Don’t feel guilty about occasional treats or large portions, but make sure your meals overall are healthy and properly portioned. Here’s a one-week healthy meal plan, complete with a grocery list and recipes.
- Do yoga at least once a week.
While all exercise helps the body and mind, yoga especially is known for its stress-relief properties in addition to strength, posture, toning and flexibility improvement. (Here’s scientific proof, but for disclosure purposes, note that it comes from MedicineNet, part of the WebMD Health Network where I currently work.)
- Keep date nights fun, exciting treats.
You love your spouse, so show them. Don’t let anything interrupt or conflict with these special nights. Try to incorporate at least one new twist, whether it’s a new perfume or a new restaurant; keep the element of surprise alive.
- Gargle, floss and brush.
Don’t take your teeth for granted. They do a lot of hard work … and serious dental work isn’t cheap.
- Focus on one task at a time.
We are all busy, busy people. There will never be enough time to do all the things we want, so don’t waste time worrying about what you aren’t getting accomplished. Instead, know your priorities and work down the list accordingly, giving your undivided attention to each one as you go.
- Laugh often.
If you aren’t laughing at least once every day, you’re not living. Life is too short to take things too seriously.
In memory of my brother, Jep Bloor, 1960 – 2010.