Modern women have many roles to play in today’s world. We are caretakers and homemakers that also balance careers. With so much going on in our fast-paced world, we often put our own health on the back burner. But it is possible to balance your life while keeping your health a priority. Here are some ways that you can maintain a balanced and healthy lifestyle.
Our body, mind and spirit are intricately linked and the health of one depends upon the health of the other two. It is no secret that many of today’s health issues and illnesses are linked to stress, often stemming from emotional duress that is difficult to maintain in today’s busy world.
Nutrition plays a big role in not only our physical health, but our mental health as well. Many health care experts have shared with us information on why we get the “sugar blues,” and many of us know the energy-sapping, after-effects of a junk food meal. Unfortunately, it is also difficult finding time to plan and shop for healthy meals every day of the week. But here are some tips that can help:
- Begin your day with one or two pieces of fresh fruit. While a smoothie might help you feel full and provide protein, fresh fruit will provide the fiber your body requires, as it stimulates metabolism because your body has to work to digest it. And while smoothies may have their place in a healthy diet, pureeing fruit does not replace the health benefits of a fresh, whole piece of fruit, such as slowing sugar absorption and strengthening digestion.
- Begin lunch and dinner with a green salad. It’s no secret that most of us do not get our share of green, leafy vegetables. But these veggies are a rich source of vitamins, phytonutrients, calcium and even antioxidants. They also aid in the body’s ability to detoxify, are anti-aging and may even help burn fat.
- Hydrate with fresh, spring water. Drinking six to eight glasses of water every day helps your body replace missing fluids and keeps your internal systems functioning in a healthy manner. Advertising today attempts to appeal to women by promoting sugary sports drinks that can actually dehydrate you or add extra calories. Sports drinks often contain added colorings, chemicals for sweetening and excess sodium and potassium. Even the healthier ones may be good for athletes during training, but overkill for the average person. To quench your thirst, opt for spring water is better at promoting good health and improving exercise performance.
- Avoid junk food. No matter how many healthy foods you eat, your health will not improve if you consume too much junk food. That’s because these are high in unhealthy fats, sodium, sugar, and processing chemicals that can add weight or sap our energy. So, if you are short on time, don’t use the fast-food drive through. Instead, create healthy and easy to grab food at home. Some ideas include preparing salad that you can grab and go anytime, fresh berries and yogurt for a protein rich snack, or a fruit salad made ahead of time.
Most women know that exercise is necessary for a healthy lifestyle. But overdoing it can throw you off balance with overtraining or spending too much time at the gym or working out. This can lead to a mentality of “all or nothing” and when life gets busy, exercise will be on the cutting board. But check out these balanced exercise tips:
- Set a schedule for exercise and stick to it
- Strive for 30 minutes of exercise, five days each week and stick with it
- If you can comfortably fit in the above exercise schedule for a couple weeks, then increase your exercise time, if you like
- Stick to easy to access exercises like walking, jogging, or working out at home
- If you hit the gym, work out in the morning to ensure your workout will not interfere with the rest of your day
- Remember that moderate exercise for 150 minutes each week is always better than none
Mental and Emotional Health
Our mental and emotional state are inherently connected to our physical health. Learning to take care of mental health can go a long way in helping us stay on track with diet and healthy habits. At the same time, healthy habits like diet, hydration, exercise, and sleep contribute to a healthier emotional state and happier outlook on life. Here are more tips for keeping your mental health balanced:
- Consume mainly fresh vegetables and fruits with healthy, unprocessed proteins and unprocessed grains as much as possible
- Supplement your nutrition when you fall short
- Be kind to yourself and practice turning off negative self-talk
- Be realistic about your goals in work and health
- Get out in nature as often as you can, even it if it is for a short hike in a park
- Practice mindfulness
- Manage stress
Speaking of Managing Stress…
Stress affects our lives in a number of ways. Sometimes we can deal with it but sometimes it might take over when we hit a series of seemingly unmanageable situations. When stress takes over it can lead to drug or alcohol misuse or abuse, cause upset stomach, headaches, fatigue and even pain. It can lead to binge eating and weight gain or digestive issues and malnutrition. Either way, learning to manage stress is a necessity for a balanced, healthy life.
Managing stress takes practice and persistence but is something everyone can do. It can be as easy as practicing stretching exercises at home, taking a yoga class, or practicing meditation for 5 minutes each day. Here are some stress managements practices that can easily fit into most lifestyles:
- Daily 15-minute full body stretching session
- 20-minute walk, five days each week
- 20-minute yoga class four days each week
- 5-10 minutes of daily meditation
- Journal daily, to help clear your mind
Strive to find at least one practice that easily fits into your everyday life, and stick with it. Also remember to treat yourself when you can to a massage, a drive in nature or a walk at the beach. And remember that the healthier your diet is the easier you will find it is to manage stress.