Now is the perfect time to assess your overall health and invest in your well-being. A healthy person is not only more likely to survive a serious illness, but also live a more comfortable life in general. On a scale of 1 to 10 how would you rank your overall health? What changes need to be made? What habits would you like to break? Anybody want to join me in living a healthier life? Here are some of the ways.
“You are what you eat” so the saying goes. Before the quarantine I ate fast food on average twice a day. Now it’s a rare occasion, maybe once a week or less. This change has definitely helped me feel better overall, and home-cooked meals are so much tastier! Cooking at home is not only less expensive, in most cases, it’s also better for the environment. There are debates as far as the optimal diet goes, but I think most would agree that a diverse diet with mainly vegetables and fruit and few sweets, saturated fats, and processed foods is a good place to start. There’s a quiz you can take to assess how healthy your eating habits are.
I’m not a heavy drinker, but I was averaging about two beers a night. Is that good for a woman in her 30s? Probably not. Alcoholism is a serious problem in the United States and the toll it takes on our healthcare system is undeniable. According to a 2018 study by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health nearly 15 million adults in the U.S. struggle with some form of alcoholism. But you don’t have to be an alcoholic to feel the negative side effects of frequent drinking. I took a few weeks off in February, but maybe this quarantine would be a good time to do the same. There are numerous resources to help those trying to quit
I’ve never met a smoker who was happy about being a smoker. In fact, every smoker I know is either currently trying to quit or wants to quit. I have a lot of friends who have successfully quit which is incredibly admirable. I have the great fortune of having never been addicted to tobacco. The CDC reports that “nearly 14 of every 100 U.S. adults aged 18 years or older (13.7%) currently smoke cigarettes.” What I found most alarming in their stats is that “cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the United States, accounting for more than 480,000 deaths every year, or about 1 in 5 deaths.” If that’s not motivation to quit, I don’t know what is. There are many techniques for quitting cigarettes. Here are a few:
Stress, anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues should not be taken lightly. Poor mental health can take a serious toll on one’s physical health, too. According to NIMH, nearly 1 in 6 adults struggles with some form of mental illness. Mental health can result in unhealthy coping mechanisms like drugs or alcohol causing further health issues. If you’re struggling with chronic anxiety or depression, especially during this pandemic, consider speaking with a professional who can help you determine the causes and possible treatments. Take this survey in order to assess your own mental health.
How often do you exercise? For me it was almost never. I’ve always envied those people who actually enjoying going to the gym and working out. I’m just not one of those people, but it is a goal of mine during quarantine. I like to watch exercise videos on YouTube such as Fitness Blender and I’m trying to do yoga once a week. The Mayo Clinic suggests a healthy adult do about 150 minutes of aerobic exercise a week and strength training about 2 to 3 times a week. It’s hard to motivate myself, but I always feel better when I do some physical activity.
Hopefully, we come out of this quarantine healthier and happier! What are your health goals?