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The best health information

Did you know July 1st marks the start of HEALTH INFORMATION WEEK in the UK? Just imagine, a whole week dedicated to shining a light on the options that help you better manage your health. 

So today for #HIW2019 I’m sharing 2 things:

i. the 3 words that I believe could revolutionise how you think about your health, and 

ii. the resources to help you put your plans for a healthier, more mindful and relaxed life into action.

My big health wish

This is actually one of my greatest wishes – that whenever someone asks questions about how to manage their health, they have access to the information, people and resources, that help them figure things out, feel in control, and start progressing in a direction that works for them.  The E-word springs to mind, where E is for Empowered. I hear it a lot nowadays, but sometimes it’s true… you can’t beat that feeling of confidence and certainty. The feeling you get when you know you’ve asked the right questions, got the right answers, and are finally ready to take your first step to better health.

Yoga, pilates or head for the hills?

There are themes for each day, during this week of discovery. Monday kicks off with Healthy Lifestyles, Sunday closes with Mindfulness & Relaxation. As you can imagine, there is no one proposal that would work for everyone.

For instance, what would you do if I invited you to a yoga class or pilates class as part of your newly improved healthier lifestyle? Run for the hills, or join in and give it a go? 

Personally, I love yoga, but have never got to grips with pilates. At yoga I enjoy the effort and stillness, they make perfect sense in my mind. But pilates just doesn’t work for me, and mostly leaves me cold. It’s something that I should do, rather than something I want to do. You’d think that knowing you can get a rockin’ bod’ from either activity would be incentive enough – but I guess if it doesn’t grab your mind, your body will never follow.

So how might a health information week like this offer something that appeals to you?

15 elements of a healthy lifestyle

You could consider myriad lifestyles, and the elements which make them healthy. According to The Great Performers Academy, there are 15 to address –  nutrition, exercise, sleep, stress, sun exposure, social, fun, work, supplement intake, bad habits, proactive thinking, self acceptance, job satisfaction, love, safety and time management are all up for consideration.

Of course, I would think nutrition is top of the list!

You could consider the health benefits of myriad diets, and wonder if they would work for you – VEGANISM, VEGETARIANISM, RAW FOODISM, PESCATARIAN DIETS, PALEO DIETS, LOW GL DIETS, RAINBOW DIETS, where you eat specific coloured foods on specific days – green Mondays, red Tuesdays, white Wednesdays. (Sorry, I made this last one up, but now you come to mention it…).

That’s a lot to think about in a year, let alone one day!

3 important words (Hint: It’s all about you!!)

So what’s the plan? Where could you start?

I’d start with one thought alone: PROTECT THE ASSET. 

I first came across this phrase when reviewing a book on Sleep, by Nick Littlehales. 3 small words, with the potential for powerful thoughts and outcomes, especially when you consider that YOU are the asset. Because in reality, if you never spend any time considering yourself, and pay little attention to how you sleep, work, relax, play, eat or nurture yourself, then pretty soon you won’t be able to satisfy your own needs, let alone the needs of your employer, friends, family and loved ones.

Achieving a healthier lifestyle

I believe that if your primary thought is to protect the asset, you’ll be off to a great start to a healthier lifestyle. 

  • You get to bed late, wake up knackered every morning, get through the day on a raft of caffeine, and constantly grumble that you must get more sleep… then time management and proactive thinking will be top of your asset protection list.
  • You see your reflection and frown, compare your body negatively to others or how you were in the past… then exploring strategies surrounding self acceptance and exercise could be your next steps.
  • You meet a particular friend who is kind of alright, but every time you see them you feel exhausted, angry, and somehow unheard… then protecting the asset might involve the themes of love and social activities that are more supportive. 

Finding meaning in mindfulness and relaxation

I think it’s the same when it comes to Mindfulness and Relaxation.

You probably know that incorporating elements of these into your everyday life, can positively effect your short-term and long-term health. Analysis of studies have found Mindful Based techniques quite effective for weight loss, and very effective for addressing obesity-related eating behaviours. Carriere et al. In another study, Laughter Yoga therapy reduced burnout syndrome in a small group of highly stressed psychiatric nurses  Shattla et al.

Yet, somehow we don’t always set aside enough time in our day to really engage in activities such as these. Personally, I used to have a knee-jerk response of semi-rage and annoyance whenever ‘mindfulness’ was mentioned. All these airy-fairy, skipping through the fields words of encouragement to stop and find connections with every-bloody-thing: flowers, birds, breath, fairies. Nothing was off limits.

Now I see the value. For me it’s a way to feel more engaged with my thoughts, and connected to my day. And somehow more in control of them too.

Older and wiser, I hope.

Get started with these resources

Got an idea what to do next? Here are some resources to get you started:

  • Focused on sleep… Read my review HERE if you want to get better sleep
  • Focused on adopting a healthier lifestyle… Find out more about the key elements  HERE
  • Focused on mindfulness … Only have 10 mins a day? Perfect. Take a dip HERE.
  • Focused on mindfulness … Click HERE to check out favourite interactive website to help you identify happiness in your day

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