We all think we lead a healthy lifestyle. We all assume that because we visit the gym regularly and do our best to eat a healthy diet that we’ve got the whole health and wellbeing thing covered. And while a healthy diet and regular exercise are certainly important aspects of our health and wellbeing, these twin pillars are not enough to support our wellness on their own. That’s why we need to develop a more holistic and inclusive approach to our wellbeing. Especially since the realities of 21st century living are trying so hard to push us in the opposite direction.
Spending our days under fluorescent lighting, sitting peering forward to look into a monitor, living with our faces glued to one device or another, and with the temptation of fast and processed food all around us, looking after our bodies and minds requires more discipline and attention to detail than ever.
As such, to truly get the measure of your health, you may need to ask yourself some very searching questions. For instance…
How hard are you pushing yourself at the gym?
We all go to the gym… but not all of us make our time there count. It’s okay to admit it. When we start out on a new exercise program it takes a lot out of us. It pushes us hard and as a result we may wake feeling stiff, sore and exhausted the day after. But over time, the routines become easier, less gruelling and faster to recover from. And if we don’t make a constant effort to push ourselves, we can find ourselves coasting. At best, this means that we’re wasting our own time. At worst, it can mean that we become bored and disinterested in our workouts. And when this happens over a long enough timeline (coupled with the fact that we inevitably won’t be seeing the results we crave), we’ll find ourselves wondering why we should bother and quitting the gym.
Are you getting enough sleep?
You can have a flawless diet, work out 5 days a week and drink plenty of water every day… but if you’re not getting enough sleep, it’s virtually impossible to be truly healthy. While we’re asleep, our bodies work incredibly hard on our behalf. They flush out toxins, repair the tissues that are damaged during exercise so that they can grow back leaner and stronger. They regulate our hormones and metabolism. All they ask in return is that we give them enough time to do their wonderful work.
Unfortunately, the majority of us don’t do this. In fact, it’s estimated that 1 in 3 adults in the US aren’t getting enough sleep. Our bodies need 7-8 ours of sleep every night to be at their peak. So if you’re just scraping by on 4-6 hours, your body is always going to be 2 steps behind you.
Are you looking after your eyes?
Your vision is a gift! It allows you to see the beauty in every sunrise. It allows you to perceive the faces of the people who mean the world to you. Heck, it’s the reason why you’re able to binge episodes of The Boys on your day off!
Without good vision, it’s harder to do your job, and driving can become hazardous. So the least you can do is check in with your optometrist regularly to ensure that your vision is up to snuff. Just because you’ve always had 20 / 20 vision in your youth doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get an eye exam regularly as you get older. In fact, you should check in for an eye exam at least once every 2 years. Especially if you already wear glasses.
If your current lenses aren’t up to the task of keeping your vision on point it can lead to eye strain, blurred vision and headaches. So why not treat yourself to some brand new frames from www.eyeglasses.com along with some new prescription lenses? Your eyes will thank you, and you may be surprised just how much crystal clarity is restored to the world.
Is your every meal a colorful plate?
We all assume that we have a healthy diet. But in an age where we’re all seemingly obsessed with protein, our perception of what exactly a “good diet” is has become very skewed. Yes, protein is an important macronutrient and part of a balanced diet. But it’s by no means the be-all and end-all. And if your plate is mostly brown, white and beige, you’re likely consuming way too much processed food and not getting enough micronutrients to keep your body healthy. Even if your lean and / or muscular on the outside.
Every meal should be a colorful plate, and your plate shouldn’t be dominated by a slab of protein. It should have an even balance of colors, just as it has an even balance of protein, fat and carbohydrates. How will you know your plate is colorful? Because you’re piling it with fresh veggies! These have the vitamins, minerals, protein, fiber and phytochemicals to support the body’s functions and keep your immune system healthy.
When was the last time you visited the dentist?
Dental health is a massively overlooked aspect of our wellbeing. And while we all assume straight, white teeth to be the sign of a healthy mouth, in an age where we have all manner of whitening treatments available over the counter, whiteness doesn’t necessarily mean health.
Even if all looks well in your mouth, you should visit your dentist once every 6 months for a checkup. Not only can they spot issues with plaque before they become a problem for your teeth and gums, they may also notice the signs of some diseases that manifest in the mouth first even before your doctor notices them.
Are you looking after your hearing?
We human beings are innately visual creatures. We make sense of the world by looking at it. How many times have you use the phrase “I see” when you mean “I understand”? Yup, thought as much!
Yet, we can easily overestimate the role that our hearing plays in our health and wellbeing. Our hearing can actually have a profound impact on our overall health and wellbeing. And when we start to lose it, it usually happens so slowly and incrementally that we don’t even notice until it’s too late. Hearing loss can drive a wedge between you and your loved ones, make socializing an exhausting chore and generally rob your life of its color and beauty.
Which is why, even if you think you have great hearing, you should check in with your audiologist once a year to ensure that your hearing is as good as it should be. If they identify hearing loss, they’ll be able to help you determine the cause and take appropriate action.
Are you taking time to relax?
Finally, in an age where we’re all conditioned to be high achievers who’ll sleep when we’re dead, we tend to spare too little thought for the effects of the cumulative stress we pick up in our day-to-day lives.
As important as it is to assert ourselves in our careers, our home lives and our extra curricular pursuits, we also need to take the time to relax and unwind in ways that are meaningful to us. When stress becomes chronic, it can be very damaging to our health, increasing our risk of a number of chronic diseases.
The purpose of this post is not to shame anyone, not to try and convince you that you’re less healthy than you are. The intention is simply to get you thinking about your health and wellbeing in a more holistic way.