Guest blog by Julie Morris

Many of us have, at some point in our lives, unsuccessfully set out to make major changes to improve our physical, mental and/or emotional health. Maybe you’ve tried to quit smoking for years. Maybe you took on an extreme diet or workout regimen, only to fall back into your old ways shortly thereafter. Or maybe you decided to get rid of most of your belongings and become a minimalist until you realized there are certain comforts you miss having in your home.

Sometimes, making extreme changes in the hopes of immediate results is not the best way to obtain overall health. However, making smaller changes and adopting practical habits can help set you up to achieve your health goals. If you’re looking for a boost in your head-to-health that will last for the long term, here are 6 tips to consider:

  1. Get a wellness exam each year

Wellness check-ups help you stay in front of your health. Through discussion of your family history, physical exams, bloodwork, and other procedures, your physician can evaluate your head-to-toe health and inform you of any potential issues, as well as the necessary steps to reverse, delay or treat those issues. Since we typically begin to notice changes in our health and well-being as we age, annual exams are especially important for seniors. The good thing is that Medicare and Medicare Advantage plans cover the full cost of annual wellness visits.

  1. Eat cleaner

You can make a big difference in how you look and feel by altering your diet a little bit. Focus on eating more clean foods and fewer processed foods that are filled with added sodium and sugar. For instance, base your meals and snacks around vegetables, fruits, lean meats, eggs, nuts, and seeds, and you’ll benefit your health in numerous ways.

  1. Go to bed earlier

Contrary to what some believe, sleep is not a luxury. If you want to foster your overall health and function at full capacity each day with more energy and sharper concentration, you must make sleep a priority. Come up with a bedtime routine that prepares your body to fall asleep faster and stay asleep through the night.

  1. Exercise each day

Like diet and sleep, exercise is an essential component of any good health improvement plan. Instead of committing to an extreme seven-day workout regimen, however, try a few activities until you find something you enjoy. Once you find the activity that works best for you, do it five times a week. It could be running, walking, swimming, HIIT, yoga, tennis, or any other kind of exercise routine. The important thing is that you like it and stick with it.

  1. Kick back once a week

You also need rest in your life to be physically, mentally and emotionally healthy. Find a relaxing activity that you can do once a week. Whether it’s fishing, hiking, going to the spa, or reading a novel with a cup of hot tea, find something that helps you step away from your obligations for a moment, and try to do it at least once a week.

  1. Make time for others

Sometimes, we get so focused on improving ourselves and achieving various goals that we neglect other people. As social beings, spending quality time with the most important people in our lives not only benefits those people, it benefits us as well. We need others in order to live fulfilled lives, and it’s important to remember that—even when life gets hectic.

Making minor changes to your life can set you up for long-term overall health. Remember to go to annual wellness check-ups, eat clean foods, and get to bed at a decent time. Find an exercise routine and a relaxing activity to do regularly, and prioritize the people you’re closest to. Practical changes are often the most significant changes we can make.

Photo Credit: Pexels

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