Is living a healthy and balanced life easy for everyone? No. We encounter many things every day that threaten our health or knock us off balance. Here are some tips for overcoming those threats.
by Sammy Lamb
1) Make Healthy Choices
- Eat protein, fiber, fruits and vegetables, and whole grains.
- Stay hydrated. Mostly just plain water. No sugary drinks.
- Limit how much sugar, fat, and sodium you eat each day.
- Exercise regularly. My policy has been exercising as early in the day as possible. Do it early and don’t stress about making time later.
- Don’t smoke. It’s expensive without any benefit. And it usually stinks.
- Limit the amount of alcohol you drink. There are no good general guidelines because metabolisms vary, and both the sizes of drinks and those drinking them vary. But don’t drink and drive. Period. And know the difference between relaxed and woozy.
- Know what foods may harm you if you have certain health conditions [e.g., people with diabetes should avoid sugar].
2) Protect Your Health – An Ounce of Prevention
- Include physical activity in your daily routine. Don’t get stuck in a chair. Some television is okay, but binge-watching never is.
- Plan time for yourself to reduce stress. Quiet time alone or mediation both work. Also, soothing music.
- Get enough sleep each night. One size fits all recommendations are misleading. We are all different, but if you daydream about getting back to bed, you need more regular sleep. Sleeping in segment helps too, if you can. We aren’t all evolved to get all our rest in one big shot.
3) Practice Positive Habits
- Keep a positive attitude, but don’t force it. It’s okay to be down sometimes. Just don’t let it take over your life.
- Don’t give up on your goals. Be clear with yourself about what they are and that they are obtainable.
- Stay connected with friends and family. Probably the easiest and best way to stay healthy and balanced. Friends and family can keep it real.
- Know that it’s OK to ask for help when you need it.
- A life coach can help you keep on track.
4) Get Emotional Support
- Understand that stress can affect your emotional and physical health. Many consider stress the greatest health threat of all.
- Find healthy ways to manage stress – meditation, reading, spending time in nature, having a pet.
- Find someone you trust to listen when you need help or support.
- Learn problem-solving skills to help solve difficult life situations. We’re problem solvers by nature; so, don’t hesitate. Find a way to six it. And by all means, expects some failures because that’s how we learn.
- Find activities that help you relax and manage stress – yoga, walking, gardening, swimming.
5) Prevent Disease
- Know your risk for potential diseases and conditions including stroke, heart disease, some cancers, diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
- Know the risk factors – like smoking, careless eating habits, lack of exercise – for potential diseases and conditions.
- Keep track of your blood pressure and cholesterol.
- Know your family health history [specific information about specific diseases and their risk factors].
- Make healthy food choices and get regular physical activity to help prevent disease or maintain a healthy weight.
6) Maintain Balance
- Balance work and life demands with time for rest, hobbies, and fun.
- Know what stress is, why it affects health, and how to tell when your body needs a break.
- Find ways to manage stress at work and home – don’t overwork, avoid toxic co-workers, make specific time to decompress, avoid bringing work worries home. If you work at home, set aside a specific area from which you can avoid when the workday ends.
- Eat healthy foods and get regular physical activity to help reduce stress or maintain a healthy weight.
- Acknowledge your good health successes regularly. Celebrate keeping your weight under control, for example, and being able to run a mile – you know, 96% of people can’t do that.
- Develop a family plan for emergencies. Keep extra food, water and batteries stored. You probably won’t need them, but you won’t stress out about them either.
- Know when to ask for help. It’s a struggle for most of us, but help is always nearby. Use a hotline or sit down with a friend.
7) Figure Out What You Want to Achieve
- Consider the lifestyle changes you want to make and what motivates you. Figure out how long it will take to reach your goals.
- Write down your goals.
- Find the motivation to work towards your goals. Is it money? Career success? Getting your book published? Whatever it is, ask yourself why you want it, then remind yourself every day.
- Break large goals into smaller, more manageable steps. Books are built on chapters, for example, and career advancement means specific training.
- Focus on realistic and attainable short-term objectives. Want to be a great chef? Design your first dish and serve it to a trusted friend. Rinse and repeat.
- Set a schedule for checking progress toward your goals and writing down small achievements. List with progress points you can check off are great.
Conclusion: Questions about Living a Healthy and Balanced Life
- Is living a healthy and balanced life difficult for you? What advice would you share with someone trying to live a healthy and balanced life?
- Would you like to provide specific examples of things people do that threaten their health or knock them off balance?
- How has this article changed your thoughts about weight loss, dieting, exercising, stress, and emergency preparedness?
- Do you know what motivates you to be healthy and how to get that motivation into action?
- What would be a good way to break large goals down into small, manageable steps?
- Which bullet points from this article did you find the most helpful or interesting? What other information might have been useful for someone living a healthy and balanced life?
You know you can do it. So, never give up.