What Does a Healthy Lifestyle Really Mean?

Getting enough sleep

Not getting enough sleep has been linked to significant problems such as:

  • greater risk of depression and anxiety
  • increased risk of heart disease and cancer
  • impaired memory
  • reduced immune system functioning
  • weight gain
  • greater likelihood of accidents.

Are you getting enough rest? It has been suggested that most adults need between seven to nine hours of sleep. Assessment:

  • Am I often tired?
  • Am I using caffeine to get through the day?
  • Do I sleep well?
  • Do I wake up refreshed?
  • Do I get drowsy while driving or watching TV?

How to improve your sleep:

  • Set a regular bedtime, your body craves consistency and you’re more likely to get enough sleep if you schedule rest like your other important tasks.
  • De-caffeinate yourself. Try to avoid coffee and colas starting six to eight hours before bed
  • De-stress yourself. Relax by taking a hot bath, meditating or envisioning a soothing scene. Turn off daytime worries by finishing any next-day preparations about an hour before bed.
  • Exercise can improve sleep in a lot of ways. Avoid exercising right before bed since exercise may make you more alert, stretching right before bed may be a good transition to sleep.
  • Make your bed a sleep haven, meaning no paying bills or writing reports in bed. If you remain alert after 15 minutes of trying to go to bed, it is recommended you get up until you feel more tired.

Proper Nutrition

Making eating healthy a part of daily life rather than following fad diets is the key to wellness. Try setting realistic goals and make small diet changes and walk every day.

  • Try baking, grilling or broiling meat rather than frying. Take the skin off before cooking chicken or turkey. Try to incorporate fish into your diet at least once a week.
  • Reduce extra fat. I can’t really get on board with no fat or low fat or margarine; however, moderation is key.
  • Eat fresh fruits and vegetables with your meals and as snaks.
  • Read nutritional labels of foods.
  • When you eat out, be aware of larger portion sizes.
  • Stay hydrated. Focus on water and beware of sweetened drinks that add lots of sugar and calories to your diet. This includes fruit juice, soda, sports and energy drinks, sweetened or flavored mild, and sweetened iced tea.
  • The majority of your purchases should be on the outside aisles of the supermarket.

Consistent exercise

  • Exercise controls weight. Any amount of activity is better than none. A small step is to just get more active through the day, take the stairs instead of the elevator. Consistency is the key.
  • Exercise combats health conditions and diseases such as stroke, metabolic syndrome, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, depression, anxiety, many types of cancer, arthritis, and falls. It can also improve cognitive function and lowers the risk of death.
  • Exercise improves mood. It is one of the least utilized anti-depressants. Physical activity stimulates various brain chemicals that leave you feeling happier, more relaxed and less anxious.
  • Exercise boost energy.
  • Exercise promotes better sleep, just remember not too close to bedtime.
  • Exercise puts the spark back into your sex life.
  • Exercise can be fun, and social.

Taking care of your body and mind

Mental health is just as important as physical health. Everyone is going through something, so let’s be positive in our approach and leave the judgments when someone is struggling. See your counselor, learn better communication strategies and lets make our overall mental, emotional and physical health a priority.

Managing medications and doctor’s appointments

If you have questions or concerns, see your doctor. Not knowing, putting your head in the sand and avoiding a diagnosis that scares you will not make it better and it probably isn’t going away. It is natural to fear what you may find out, but I can guarantee you, catching something earlier is better.

Take your medications as prescribed. If you are looking to wean or come off your medications, do so with guidance from your doctor.

In case you need permission, it is ok to make your health and well being a priority. If you do not make the time for your wellness, you will be forced to take time for your illness.

Let’s walk together to health and harmony.

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Written by Dr. Lexy Ballinger

I received my Bachelor of Science in Nursing in May of 1996. I have specialized in the trauma/surgical ICU at a Level 1 trauma hospital for over 20 years.
In May of 2016, I started the Master’s program for Oriental Medicine at East West College of Natural Medicine and will be finished with the program in August of 2019. I have experience in acupuncture in a clinic setting with one on one treatment and community acupuncture.
Oriental medicine focuses on the individual and diagnosis is based on a detailed query of physical and emotional symptoms you are experiencing. Acupuncture is an umbrella term that covers the use of needles, gua sha (scraping), cupping, tui na (Chinese body work), and the use of herbal formulas to address the symptoms and the cause of your My goal is a collaborative effort, with you, to assist you to achieve less pain, reduce your anxiety, improve your sleep and improve your quality of life.

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