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How to care for your Health: 5 Best Practices

Care For Your Health

Care for your health is paramount for healthy lifestyle practices such as eating healthy foods, regular engagement in exercises, avoiding drugs and alcohol, getting enough sleep, practicing good hygiene, managing stress and regular medical check-ups.

Having poor overall health can make recovery harder.  Finding ways to take care for your health can aid your recovery and help you feel better. Get routine check-ups and visit your doctor when you’re not feeling well. Sometimes, it is hard to tell whether not feeling well is due to a side-effect of your medicine, a symptom of your mental health disorder or a different health problem. Your doctor can help you sort this out. Taking good care of yourself is very important and needed for quality living, reason why Healthcare Constings have decided to put together this effective 5 best practices on how to care for your Health.

Once you have practiced healthy living you should make a list of things that work for you to stay healthy; for instance walk my neighbor’s dog, eat more apples and get enough sleep. It is also a good idea to make a list of things that you know from experience trigger unhappy moods and make symptoms worse. Making a list of the ways to live well and triggers to avoid will help you live the healthiest life possible and avoid some unnecessary health (mental and physical) complications.

How to Care for Your Health

  1. Eat Right
  2. Be Active and Exercise
  3. Get Enough Rest
  4. Manage Stress
  5. Get the Care You Need

Eat Right

Eating right is really good, effective in improving your health performance and help you stay healthy. Sometimes, medicine can cause you to gain weight. Other times, eating unhealthy foods can be a cause for weight gain. Foods high in calories and saturated or “bad” fats can raise your blood pressure and cholesterol. This can increase your chances of gaining weight and having other health problems, such as heart disease and diabetes.

Following some basic suggestions ones energy, mood and overall wellness can be boosted:

  • Don’t skip meals: Eating consistently throughout the day provides your brain and body with a steady supply of fuel. It also prevents your blood sugar from dropping, which can cause nervousness, irritability, and other problems.
  • Snack well: Sustain your energy by eating healthy snacks. Try to eat some nuts, whole or dried fruit or other portable food.
  • Work on your balance: Maybe you know that your body needs a varied diet. But have you thought about your brain? Your brain needs a healthy supply of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, or it can’t perform functions that affect your mood and thinking.
  • Don’t over-diet: Eat to be healthy and fit not to compare to anyone else. Strict food rules usually backfire, and excessive dieting can be dangerous. If you or someone you know seems at risk of an eating disorder, professional counseling can help.

Talk to your doctor to learn more about how to care for your health through a healthy diet plan.

DIET AND DEPRESSION

Some evidence links depression and nutrition, although some of the research is still under debate. But in a bid to properly care for your health, these nutrients may play a role in combating depression:

  • Vitamin B-12 and folate: Good sources of B-12 are fish like salmon and trout and breakfast cereals that indicate in the nutrition information that they are fortified. Folate is found in dark leafy vegetables, almonds, dairy products, and fortified whole-grain breakfast cereals. Examples of fortified food include milk, salt, and certain cereals such as Special K, Cheerios, Total, Wheaties, and Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids: The best source of omega-3 fatty acids are fatty fish like salmon, catfish, and trout. Other sources include ground flaxseeds, walnuts, and egg yolks.

If you’re feeling depressed, diet alone is likely not the answer. Consider contacting a mental health professional to get help.

BE ACTIVE AND EXERCISE

Along with a healthy diet, healthcare consultings suggests that in order to effectively care for your health, exercise must be routinely incorporated. Exercises can improve your health and well-being. Exercising regularly can increase your self-esteem and confidence, reduce your feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression, improve your sleep, and help you maintain a healthy weight. Living with a mental health condition can lead to isolation and loneliness. Getting active is the antidote.

There are lots of ways to start getting more active. Go to the library or get out to the mall. Pursue your favorite hobby or take one up. Go to a musical event, while some cost money, others are free. Check for free or low-cost activities at public recreation centers, parks and adult education programs. If there is a tuition charge or admission fee, there may be discounts for people with disabilities or seniors.

For your overall health, the American Heart Association recommends:

  • At least 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity (think walking or a leisurely bike ride) five days a week PLUS strength training twice a week.

OR

  • At least 20 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity (like jogging or a challenging bike ride) three days a week PLUS strength training twice a week.

Find a type of exercise that you enjoy and talk to your doctor. You might enjoy walking, jogging, or even dancing. You don’t have to go to a gym or spend money to exercise. Some suggestions include:

  • Check out your local community center for free, fun activities.
  • Take a short walk around the block with family, friends, or coworkers.
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator. First making sure the stairs are well lit.
  • Turn on some music and dance. Dance along to your favorite television shows.
  • Exercise to a workout video (public libraries offer a great variety and are free) or even a Wii fitness game.

GET ENOUGH REST

Sleep can affect your mood as well as your body and is important to your recovery. Not getting the right amount of sleep can make day-to-day functioning and recovery harder.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health Epidemiological Catchment Area study, “the risk of developing new major depression was much higher compared to those without insomnia”. Furthermore in their study of about 8,000 participants, 40% of those with insomnia and 46.5% of those with hypersomnia (sleeping too much) had a mental illness. The relationship between getting enough rest and reducing the risk of depression, anxiety, and other mental illnesses is strong.

Tips for Improving Your Sleep

To sleep longer and better, healthcare consultings suggests:

  • Set a regular bedtime. Your body craves consistency, plus you’re more likely to get enough sleep if you schedule rest like your other important tasks.
  • De-caffeinate yourself. Drinking caffeine to stay awake during the day can keep you up at night. Try resisting coffee and sodas starting at six to eight hours before bed.
  • De-stress yourself. Relax by taking a hot bath, meditating, or envisioning a soothing scene while lying in bed. Turn off daytime worries by finishing any next-day preparations about an hour before bed.
  • Exercise. Working out can improve sleep in lots of ways, including relieving muscle tension. Don’t work out right before bed, though, since exercise may make you more alert. If you like, try gentle upper-body stretches to help transition into sleep.
  • Make your bed a sleep haven. No paying bills or writing reports in bed. Also, if you can’t fall asleep after 15 minutes you can try some soothing music, but if you remain alert it is recommend that you get up until you feel more tired.

MANAGE STRESS – Effective Practice in taking care for your health

Everyone has stress. It is a normal part of life. You can feel stress in your body when you have too much to do or when you haven’t slept well. You can also feel stress when you worry about your job, money, relationships, or a friend or family member who is ill or in crisis. Stress can make you feel run down. It can also cause your mind to race and make it hard to focus on the things you need to do. If you have a mental illness, lots of stress can make you feel worse and make it harder to function.

There has been considerable research done that proves that stress exacerbates mental health conditions. Studies indicate that work and family stress are associated with mental health conditions and loss of productivity at work and in normal day-to-day functions. A study by Australian researcher found work stress to be a significant risk factor for developing mental health conditions and decreased work productivity.

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How do I know if I am suffering from stress?

  • Each person handles stress differently. Some people actually seek out situations which may appear stressful to others. A major life decision, such as changing careers or buying a house, might be overwhelming for some people, while others may welcome the change. Some find sitting in traffic too much to tolerate, while others take it in stride. The key is determining your personal tolerance levels for stressful situations.
  • Stress can cause physical, emotional, and behavioral disorders that can affect your health, vitality, and peace-of-mind, as well as personal and professional relationships. Too much stress can cause relatively minor illnesses such as insomnia, backaches, or headaches as well as such potentially life-threatening diseases as high blood pressure and heart disease.

If you are feeling stressed, there are steps you can take to feel better:

  • Take one thing at a time. For people under tension or stress, an ordinary workload can sometimes seem unbearable. The best way to cope with this feeling of being overwhelmed is to take one task at a time. Pick one urgent task and work on it. Once you accomplish that task, choose the next one.
  • Know your limits. Let others know them too. If you’re overwhelmed at home or work, or with friends, learn how to say “no.” It may be hard at first, so practice saying “no” with the people you trust most.
  • Practice stress reduction techniques. There are a lot of things you can do to make your life more peaceful and calm. Do something you enjoy, exercise, connect with others or meditate.
  • Know your triggers. What causes stress in your life? If you know where stress is coming from, you will be able to manage it better.
  • Talk to someone. You don’t have to deal with stress on your own. Talking to a trusted friend, family member, support group or counselor can make you feel better. They may help you figure out how to better manage stress in your life and also help you care for your health better.
  • Shed the “superman/woman” urge. No one is perfect, so don’t expect perfection from yourself or others. Ask yourself, “What really needs to be done? How much can I do? Is the deadline realistic? What adjustments can I make?” Don’t hesitate to ask for help if you need it.

AVOID NEGATIVE SELF TALK

Healthcare Consultings also believe that Negative thinking can often drag you and others around you down. There are many different types of negative thinking and you may not even realize that you are doing it. It is an important part of living well and taking care of your health to overcome and change negative thought pattern.

Read Also: Coping with depression: 8 Sure Lifestyle Strategies

How to overcome negative thought pattern include:

Replacing the negative thought with a positive one: repeating positive statements and seeking professional therapy from a cognitive-behavioral therapist. Common types of negative thinking are:

  • Magnification and Minimization – this is placing a bigger importance on the negative events while ignoring the positive ones. When you start thinking in always, never, everyone, nobody, et cetera, then you are thinking too much about the negatives and using those to over-generalize. This is also called “all or nothing” thinking. An example of this would be: I always embarrass myself, nobody likes me.
  • Emotional Reasoning – this is drawing conclusions based on emotions and ignoring the facts. An example of this would be: I am angry with you so you must be wrong and the source of my problems.
  • Should Statements – this is relying on the absoluteness of “should” statements. “Should” statements cause the thinker to create rigid rules for themselves and others that need to be followed without flexibility. An example of this would be: I should always avoid talking about my personal issues with others. Or even: I should always wear black shoes after Labor Day.
  • Labeling and Mislabeling – this is the constant applying of labels on people. Often the labels are inaccurate or negative as you never know all the information. An example of this would be: She is promiscuous because she flirts a lot. Or even: He must be an alcoholic because he has had three glasses of beer to drink.
  • Personalization – this is blaming yourself for things you do not have control over, causing unnecessary stress. This could be thinking that it is your fault that the train came late or that it is your fault that your teenager likes suggestive rap music. An example of this would be: I am the reason that my insurance denied payment for medication.

If you find yourself caught in the loop of negative thinking ask yourself is this favorable enough for me following the principles of care for your health. Sit down and identify three strengths or things you do well. For instance you could be a good listener, in good physical shape, good with animals, or remember names easily. Convert thoughts of these into your strength.

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Get the Care You Need

Care for your health is not complete without getting a routine check-ups. Visit your doctor when you’re not feeling well. It may be due to your medicine or a symptom of your mental illness. But it could also be a different health problem. Create a Family Health Portrait of the diseases and illnesses your family has faced and take it to your doctor to discuss your risks and what you should be looking out for.

Of course you don’t have to be in crisis to seek help. Why wait until you’re really in pain? Even if you’re not sure you’d benefit from help, it can’t hurt to explore the possibility.

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