There can be no more important goal in life than to stay healthy and do what you can to stop your health from spiralling out of control.
Being healthy is key to living a long and happy life. Something I have come to realise more and more over the last 18 months.
Being diagnosed with a double curvature of the spine at birth, I developed a keen interest in physical fitness. I came to realize that if I wanted to live a ‘normal’ life, unaffected by severe back problems I would have to work hard to perfect my physique. For most of my life I was successful at doing this. So much so it became my life mission to help others enjoy the benefit of exercise. I was able to impart my knowledge and expertise to others in a positive and inspiring way as a gym instructor.
The last 18 months has seen a massive decline in my health following my retinal detachment and subsequent loss of vision. It’s amazing how quickly 50 years of dedication to health and fitness went out the window. I quit all forms of exercise, which didn’t help my mental health at all. I became depressed and my blood pressure levels skyrocketed and I experienced many health issues that further knocked me back.
I couldn’t let this spiral further out of control. I had to fight back. I knew my road back to physical and mental wellbeing would be an incredibly difficult one, but there could be nothing more important. Alas you can’t buy good health in a magic tablet nor can you find health in a bottle no matter what advertising may say.
But neither do you just have to settle for frequent hospital trips and be bedridden from time to time. I allowed this to be the way it was for me for way to long. It led to my health spiralling out of control and my body beginning to fall apart as I developed symptoms in many areas. I ended up seeing more and more specialists, and felt that my life was completely dictated by my health, and that I was on a downward unstoppable spiral.
Life is beautiful and you don’t want to stay down with health problems. Good health isn’t just about healthy eating and exercise – it also includes having a positive mental health, healthy self-image and a healthy lifestyle.
You can improve your health in many ways and here I will give you a few of the steps I am taking to bring about my recovery and the improvement in my health.
- PRACTICE GOOD PERSONAL HYGIENE
Practicing good personal hygiene can improve your emotional and physical wellbeing it also helps you feel good about yourself, which is important for your mental health. When you’re not feeling well, you often let your personal hygiene slip. Not washing or shaving, wearing the same clothes day after day, not cleaning your teeth, but this will only make you feel worse.
Hygiene refers as a practise that associated to ensuring good health and cleanliness. In medical terms, its definition means the science of preventive medicine and the preservation of health.
Often when feeling down and unwell we let slip our basic functioning. We just can’t be bothered, but this is a recipe for things to worsen. It is essential to keep yourself and your surrounding clean, especially in order to prevent illness or the spread of disease.
Daily showering, washing your hands, wearing clean clothes and brushing your teeth are a few of the basics you should make part of your personal hygiene routine.
It is equally important to keep your home clean. Practicing good personal hygiene is going to take effort when you feel unwell, but it’s effort that’s worth it and will help you recover.
2. RELAX YOUR MIND AND BODY
Using relaxation techniques can reduce stress symptoms and help you enjoy a better quality of life, especially if unwell. Relaxation is a process that decreases the effects of stress on your mind and body.
In general, relaxation techniques involve refocusing your attention on something calming and increasing awareness of your body. It doesn’t matter which relaxation technique you choose. What matters is that you try to practice relaxation regularly to reap its benefits.
A relaxation technique is any activity that helps a person to relax; to attain a state of increased calmness or otherwise reduce levels of anxiety, stress or tension. Relaxation techniques can help to decrease muscle tension, lower the blood pressure and slow heart and breath rates, among many other health benefits
There are several main types of relaxation techniques, including:
Deep Breathing – Deep breathing is a relaxation technique that focuses the mind on a word, phrase, or simply a breath letting go of other thoughts. Deep breathing releases tension from the body and clears the mind, improving both physical and mental wellness.
Progressive Muscular Relaxation – progressively tensing and then relaxing muscle groups, one muscle group after another, the relaxation progresses through the body. Progressive Muscle Relaxation is a relaxation technique used to release stress. It can relax the muscles and lower blood pressure, heart rate, and respiration.
Visualisation – The practice of Visualisation is considered to be one of the most powerful meditative practices. Visualization is the process by which you relax by picturing a relaxing scene, place, or image. An incredibly powerful and relaxing method.
You owe it to yourself to find time for relaxation.
3. IMPLEMENT A HEALTHY DIET
Eating a well-balanced diet can provide you with the energy and nutrients you need to maximise health. It’s important to eat a good diet no matter what age you are – there’s never a bad time to make some changes.
A well-balanced healthy diet includes fresh food simply cooked, lots of fresh vegetables, salads and fruits and smaller helpings of meat, fish, poultry, seeds, nuts, pulses and wholegrain.
The crucial part of healthy eating is a balanced diet. A balanced diet – or a good diet – means consuming from all the different good groups in the right quantities. Nutritionists say there are five main food groups – whole grains, fruit and vegetables, protein, diary, and fat & sugar.
• Eat a balanced diet of foods with high fiber, healthy fats, low sugar, and low salt is going to help your health. A healthy diet gives you more energy and improves your outlook and moods.
• Eat lots of leafy green vegetables. Spinach, broccoli, cucumber and leafy greens are packed full of essential vitamins and nutrients.
• Natural foods such as fruit and vegetables have more than enough sugar to give your body what it needs.
• Eating lean meats, white meats (chicken and turkey) and fish provides the protein your body needs
• I personally have found juicing a great option. It enables me to eat a far more varied diet of all things Green, including vegetables I wouldn’t dream about having on my plate.
4. EXERCISE YOUR BODY
If your goal is to feel better and live a longer and healthier life, aerobic exercise goes a remarkably long way. To improve the quality of your everyday life, being active is key. It’s never too late to start exercising. Even taking a brisk walk for 30 minutes a day can make a big difference.
Walking is a great way to improve or maintain your overall health. Just 30 minutes every day can increase cardiovascular fitness, strengthen bones, reduce excess body fat, and boost muscle power and endurance.
Walking is low impact, requires minimal equipment, can be done at any time of day and can be performed at your own pace. You can get out and walk without worrying about the risks associated with some more vigorous forms of exercise. Walking is also a great form of physical activity for people who are overweight, elderly, or who haven’t exercised in a long time.
It is recommended that you get at least 150 minutes of vigorous activity in a week.
Start small by exercising 1-2 times a week. Don’t try to change your whole life routine in one day; it won’t work very well. Start by implementing small changes that can grow into something more. Gradually increase this until you’re doing something every day.
5. SLEEP FOR HEALTH
Sleep plays a vital role in good health and well-being throughout your life. Lack of sleep can lead to premature aging, high blood pressure, and increased stress. Getting enough quality sleep at the right times can help protect your mental health, physical health, quality of life, and safety.
Sleep allows our bodies to repair themselves, recharge and restore. Try to get at least eight hours of sleep a night.
Many view sleep as a luxury and think that the benefits of limiting the hours they spend asleep outweigh the costs. People often overlook the potential long-term health consequences of insufficient sleep, and the impact that health problems can ultimately have on one’s time and productivity.
6. DRINK WATER
Drink more water. Most of us actually don’t drink enough water every day. Water is essential for our body to function – Do you know over 60% of our body is made up of water? Water is needed to carry out our body functions, remove waste and carry nutrients and oxygen around our body. Since we lose water every day through urine, bowel movements, perspiration and breathing, we need to replenish our water intake.
We are not talking about sodas, squashes, tea or coffee. Water as out of a tap or in a bottle. Aim to drink at least 2 litres every single day.
7. FINDING YOUR MEANING
Positive health starts from within! Are you living a life of meaning? It’s important to know whether you are fulfilling a purpose, living a life of meaning. Contributing something from the life you live. Part of the meaning I have in my life is through the life of my two wonderful daughters and my beautiful grandchildren. They give me a reason for getting up and striving to improve my health. My writing and coaching, helping others improve their lives gives me the rest, providing significance to my life, a reason for being.
In the best-selling book, Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl detailed his time spent in a Nazi concentration camp and his secret to surviving the camp was finding meaning in even the most horrific circumstances, which he said made him more resilient to suffering. He suggests three ways for finding meaning in our lives:
1. By creating a work or doing a deed
2. By experiencing something or encountering someone
3. By the attitude we take toward unavoidable suffering
As one author writes, “True success is to discern the essence of what we’re created to be and to follow it relentlessly.”
Take time out to reflect on an inspiring meaning for your life.
Nothing I’ve written is rocket silence. They are obvious and in truth simple steps which will help you to stop your health from spiralling out of control you just have to put the effort in and commitment. Your health is worth it!