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Drink more milk! Avoid dairy! Eat more leafy green vegetables! Don’t eat leafy vegetables because there’s a recall on kale! It seems like every day there is new information about how to stay healthy or how to be healthier.

But when you look at this information, how do you know what you really should and should not do? There are so many things that we can do that can improve the quality of our life, and most of it is just a matter of taking better care of ourselves.

It’s important to note that what constitutes a healthier lifestyle can mean different things to different people. After all, we each have a different foundation from which we are building. However, no matter your foundation, the end goal is generally the same!

What Does it Mean to Live a Healthier Life?

A healthy life is one that contributes to your overall health and well-being. Although diet and exercise play a role in your state of health, they are not the only factors of your health and wellness. Multiple factors can constitute what it means to lead a healthy life including but not limited to our emotional, physical, mental and spiritual health.

Exercise

If you are not already invested in a regular exercise regimen, it’s time to create a ritual that will enable you to get active as soon as possible. Exercise offers you a wealth of advantages mentally and physically that can significantly improve your quality of life.

You should target a minimum of 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity activity each week (WebMD). Not a fan of spending time in the gym? There are dozens of ways to boost your exercise game ranging from taking a walk in the park to taking the stairs to taking a dip in the pool.

Managing Stress

Make it your mission this year to become better at managing your stress levels. Stress can prove harmful to your health if left unchecked for too long and can cause a variety of problems including high blood pressure, obesity, heart, and diabetes disease.

Stress can also trigger feelings of anxiety and depression, leaving us vulnerable to mood swings or even self-harm.

There are dozens of actions you can take to manage your stress including but not to:

– Exercise

– Mindful Meditation

– Learn to say ‘No’ and Set Limits

– Get social support from family and friends.

– Practice self-care.

– Make time for yourself.

– Take pleasure in your favorite hobby (i.e., reading, music, travel, watching a movie).

Take Care of Your Mental Health

It is only natural to minimize the importance of your mental health and wellness if you have never experienced an episode of mental illness. However, we should make mental wellness a priority as it impacts so many corners of our lives. Without it, we cannot function optimally at work, at home or be a reliable source for even ourselves. Tips for improving your mental health includes:

– Fitness.

– Getting sleep.

– Participating in a hobby.

– Getting out and socializing with others.

Maintain a Healthy Diet

Falling off the wagon of healthy eating is easy. Just remember to pick yourself up and dust your yourself off and get back on track. 365 days in a year = 365 new chances! The food you eat can play a significant role in your health and how you feel. Your diet should contain foods that provide your body with the best blend of vitamins, minerals, protein, and fiber.

Watch your soda, sugar and alcohol intake as these things can be a bit toxic to the body. Boost your consumption of water, ensuring that your body is always well-hydrated.

These are just four ways to live a healthier life. Your path to health and wellness may look a bit different than those around you, but it does not make the journey any less vital. Remember to practice self-care, avoiding those things and people who may try to compel you to sacrifice your personal needs.

~Until next time, Dr. JB Kirby

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