The old adage that “if you haven’t got your health, you haven’t got anything” has never been so painfully obvious as it has been during the pandemic. After being cooped up all winter streaming every show known to mankind, we could all use some tips to get our health back on track. When summer comes around and we are all hopefully well on our way to finally being allowed out again, it will pay to be sure that you are the healthiest you possible. So if you have been dreaming about the beach, the Third Street Promenade, and Santa Monica Pier all winter, here are some tips and tricks to make sure you will be healthy enough to hit the ground running this summer.
Quitting smoking is one of the hardest things I have ever done, but it was also one of the best decisions I have ever made! Even just a few weeks after you quit, you will be astonished at how much better you feel and how much easier it is to work out. A few months out, you will notice your skin getting smoother, brighter, and younger-looking. And aside from the health benefits of quitting, smoking is just gross, and many people do not like it when you do it around them.
I am sure that you have heard this one a million times. We all know we are supposed to eat good foods, but it can be very hard to keep track of what foods are good! An easy place to start is keeping plenty of superfoods around to snack on. Nuts, berries (specifically raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and cranberries), eggs, and legumes are all easy to identify and keep on-hand. It is not enough to eat the right foods though; you also have to avoid the wrong foods. Avoid processed foods, especially baked goods. Aside from having lots of fats and little nutritious value, they are also filled with preservatives – yuck!
See Your Doctor
You should go to the doctor for a physical at least once a year even if you are feeling great. Depending on your lifestyle, you might want to go to get check-ups and tests even more often than that. If you are sexually active, it is important to get HPV screens done, for instance. Cervical cancer can kill, so ask your doctor how often you should be tested. Hologicwomenshealth.com has a whole suite of women’s health tests, and your doctor can tell you which ones are right for you.
Many of us only think of our physical health, but the truth is that our mental health and physical health are inextricably intertwined. There are new studies every day showing that anxiety and stress are not just uncomfortable and inconvenient, they can also increase your risk for heart attacks, cancer, and other serious ailments. It can seem daunting to get started, but it is actually quite easy, and you do not have to meditate for very long at all to reap the health benefits of doing it: just 10-15 minutes a day can make a world of difference.
This is another example of the relationship between mental and physical health – sleep is vital for both. Poor sleep can lead to more than just a groggy day at the office. Depression, anxiety, and even dementia can be some of the long-term psychological effects of poor sleep. And, just as above, all of those are linked with serious physical diseases. The best way to get good sleep is to make it a habit. Have you ever opened the fridge to look inside even when you were not hungry? That is the power of habit. Make a routine for yourself to follow before you go to sleep. Try something like showering, then having a cup of herbal tea, then brushing your teeth, and then reading for 10 minutes. The routine will prime your brain for sleep and you will get to sleep faster and sleep more soundly.
Most of us have let our health slide a little since the pandemic hit. Now is the time to get it back! It can be hard to know where to start, but if you can at least stop smoking, eat well, see your doctor, learn to meditate, and practice good sleep habits, you will be well on your way to happy and healthy summer.