As we focus on Minority Health Awareness Month, let’s keep in mind some practices we can implement daily to better our own lives.
1. Get Enough Sleep
Often times, when our already busy lives become busier, it seems like the easy solution is to cut down on sleep. But did you know that lack of sleep has been linked to medical conditions, such as obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease?
Counter to popular belief, 4-5 hours of sleep isn’t enough. The latest reports tell us that adults need at least 7-8 hours of sleep. Not only that, TED Talk sleep scientist Matt Walker tells us that the lack of sleep makes you less ambitious, less creative, less of a leader, can make you more deviant and unethical, and makes you an ineffective learner.
The next time your to do list gets out of hand, remind yourself that getting more sleep will help you perform better the next day, and that skipping out on sleep just isn’t worth the risk.
2. Drink Water
You’ve heard it time and time again, “Don’t forget to drink your water!” But did you know that water helps lubricate your joints, protect your spinal cord, and even regulates your body temperature?
The next time you’re at a restaurant, opt for water. You’ll save money, and calories. Keep a reusable water bottle with you during the day. And if you don’t like the taste of water, try adding lemon to spruce it up.
You won’t regret staying hydrated, especially with summer months approaching.
3. Practice Mindful Eating
Have you ever sat down to eat, and it feels like your food disappeared? If so, you’re not alone. Many of us multitask, and eat while we work, while we watch television, or while we scroll through Instagram.
When we do this, we don’t focus on, taste, and enjoy our food. And when we don’t enjoy our food, we tend to inhale it, often eating much more than we wanted or needed to.
This week, challenge yourself to eat without distraction. Focus on the smell, taste, and texture of your food. Put your fork down between bites. You’ll be surprised at how much less you eat, and how much better your food will taste.
4. Move Your Body Daily
It’s no mystery that moving your body and getting some exercise each day will benefit your health. Moving your body can help with cardio vascular strength, weight loss, and more. But, it also greatly affects mental health.
I’ve gone through a 2 year challenge with the joint in my big toe. That resulted in a recent joint replacement and I’ve learned that not being able to move like I could before surgery was a struggle. Movement is often taken for granted until you can’t. It’s so very important to not only show gratitude, but move intentionally and celebrate your ability to move.
Exercise releases endorphins, which are the “feel good” chemicals in your brain. It can help release your inner joy, reduce stress, and even make you feel more energized.
So, take a walk outside, do some stretching, go for a jog. You don’t need to spend hours in the gym to benefit from movement.
5. Decrease Screen Time
In today’s world, we’re often in front of a screen. Whether it’s your television, computer, phone, or tablet, it could be affecting you negatively.
Excess screen time has been linked to obesity; sleep problems, and impaired social skills. Make sure to take time away from your screens. Spend time with loved ones, and put away your phone. Take a walk and enjoy nature.
Remember, we all need time to disconnect.
Use these tips today to jumpstart your journey towards a healthier you.