A Healthier Tomorrow – Looking forward to a new decade of health
Imagine a Healthier Tomorrow
By Alison Page, CEO Western Wisconsin Health
What if the next decade, 2020 – 2030, turned out to be the healthiest of your life? What would you do with the next 10 years if you knew you would have your health? Imagine – what would it look like?
We all have dreams. Take some time as we enter this decade to ponder yours. Write them down. So, how can you best position yourself to be able to live your dreams for the next decade? How can you ensure you will be healthy enough to live the dreams you imagine? Here are a few ideas for you.
- Eat good food. Every meal, every day you have choices. Choose wisely. Eat good food, mostly plants. Eat when you are hungry. Stop eating when you are not hungry anymore, not when you are full. If you need help making good food choices, reach out to your healthcare provider, or contact Western Wisconsin Health and ask to make an appointment with our health coach. We also offer classes you can attend to get guidance.
- Get more sleep. Sleep is the ultimate protector. It protects your physical self from muscle breakdown, your mental self from overextension, and your emotional self from excess distress. Unfortunately, most of us don’t get enough sleep. You need at least 7-9 hours of sleep each day. Doing so will improve your memory, repair your body, make you happier, and help you to live longer.
- Exercise regularly. Exercise improves your physical wellbeing. But, just as importantly, exercise enhances your mental and emotional wellbeing. Make it a point to perform some form of mild-to-moderate exercise each day for the next thirty days. By that time, you won’t want to stop!
- Understand and appreciate who you are. Know what you stand for, what your values are, and what you are willing to do and give to others, and then start living your life by those standards. This is easier said than done. Taking the time to reflect on your values and beliefs takes time. But once you have done this you will be stunned at how your stress will be reduced and you will feel a new sense of clarity in your daily life.
- Challenge your mind and engage in things that are greater than yourself. Learn something new about something you care about. Then, get involved in activities that make a difference. Making an impact in things that extend beyond your own life and your own lifetime connects you to the future. It is your legacy. What is a legacy? From Hamilton – ‘It’s planting seeds in a garden you never get to see.’
- Surround yourself with positive people. Positive, optimistic people make the world a better place. They will make your world better. They are happier and much more successful than pessimists. You have choices about the people with whom you spend time. Actively seek out positive people. Make a point of spending time with them. They will inspire and energize you.
- Reduce and manage stress. Sometimes we can identify and eliminate sources of stress in our lives, sometimes we can’t. If you can, eliminate some sources of stress. If you can’t, then put a plan in place to deal with the stress. I find that taking time each morning to exercise, eat a good breakfast and focus my thoughts helps we deal with any stress that presents itself that day. Don’t run from the stress, embrace it. Dealing well with stress is a skill you can master. I believe it was the philosopher Nietzsche who said, “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” He was correct.
- Get checked. There are certain things you should get checked regularly to ensure you are maintaining your health well. Get your eyes and hearing checked. See a dentist. Review your health screening needs with your medical provider. Depending on your age you may want to get a mammogram, colonoscopy, and blood tests to check your cholesterol, blood sugar and other things.
When you make changes in your life, remember the 30-day rule. It takes about four weeks for the body to adapt to lifestyle changes. That’s why people who give up on their fitness programs tend to do so within the first 30 days. Try to stick with a program for a month. After a month, behavior patterns will have adapted and it will be much easier to stick with it after that.
Embrace the decade in front of you! Best wishes!