Taking good care of our body and mind can make a difference in how well we do in our day-to-day life and how well we manage change. Exercising, eating right, getting enough rest and relaxing will not only set us on the right path to wellness, but also help us achieve and enjoy daily activities more, and improve how we deal with life’s challenges.
Caring for ourselves might take a little extra time, but we will feel better and more successful.
Here are 4 simple steps – and why they help
1) A healthy diet
- Improves our ability to learn.
- Means eating a nutritious breakfast everyday. Skipping meals leads to a lack of energy.
- Includes eating something nutritious every time we have a meal. Try subsituting processed foods with a salad or swapping something fried for a piece of fruit.
- Requires limiting our alcohol intake.
- Avoids excessive amounts of caffeine. Caffeine dehydrates us. Drink at least 8 glasses of water a day to prevent dehydration.
2) Regular exercise
- Elevates mood; reduces stress; increases energy-level; improves appearance; and stimulates the release of endorphins and serotonin, which makes us happier.
- Increases alertness and creativity.
- Improves our overall mental and physical well-being. Even taking a 15-minute walk, 3 times a week, can help.
- Keeps us active and also creates more opportunities to meet new friends.
- Decreases stress. On days when we are feeling overwhelmed, it's a good idea to get out and do some form of exercise.
- Means taking time each day to unwind, especially before sleeping. Listen to music, read or do whatever you enjoy. Alcohol or drugs are not the way to go.
- Offers a distraction from problems, a sense of competence and many other benefits.
- Means getting a good laugh. Laughing decreases pain; may help our heart and lungs; promotes muscle relaxation; and can reduce anxiety.
4) Plenty of rest
- Means getting at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep. This is essential and makes us more attentive and active. Inadequate sleep can lead to mood changes and lowered resistance to illness.
- Provides the physical and psychological resources to cope with everyday life. Without it, we have to work harder to get daily tasks done and have less energy.
- Includes cutting back on alcohol consumption because it can disturb our sleep. While we might fall asleep faster, our body will not be as rested.
Source: “Pathways to Wellness,” by Mental Health America (MHA,) the group that organizes Mental Health Month each May.