The pillars of good health
There’s a range of habits that you can start practising today to improve your health and well being! However, in honor of simplicity in an age of complexity, here are our four pillars for the promotion of good health.
Sleep is a cornerstone of good health. While you sleep, your body is healing itself while your brain is processing and storing your memories from the day before. Good sleep boosts your immune system and reduces the risk of depression and inflammation. Quality sleep also decreases the likelihood of cardiovascular issues later in life as it provides relief from anxiety related symptoms like hypertension.
With all this in mind, it’s hard to imagine not putting sleep first! Here are some daily habits to help you sleep better:
- Expose yourself to sunlight as soon as you wake up. Open the blinds or have your morning coffee outside.
- Get up at the same time. Try to get up at the same time everyday despite what time you went to bed the night before, this includes weekends. Getting into a strict schedule will help your body feel tired at the right time for sleep.
- Get a good dose of natural light during the day. If you can’t go outside, let as much natural light into your workspace as you can.
- Avoid Screen Time before bed (1-2 hours before ideally).
- Make sure your bedroom is very dark. Use blinds and be sure to keep artificial lights (from phones and computers) out of the bedroom.
- Avoid going to bed when you're really full or really hungry.
- Create a restful bedroom environment. Avoid working in your bedroom and make your bedroom a comfortable and relaxing environment.
Read more about how to get better sleep here.
Eating well and staying hydrated is our second pillar for good health. Something that we all know, but still find hard to do everyday. Good food is not just linked to weight loss and our physical appearance, but our mental and social health too.
Paying attention to what you eat and drink can transform your overall mood. Eating healthy prevents irregular spikes in blood sugar helping control mood swings. While avoiding foods like sugar and alcohol that aggravate anxiety can lead to better personal relationships by removing some of the symptom-related obstacles of social anxiety.
But, what does eating well mean? Check out our article on how to grocery shop for healthy food for tips on making healthy food choices.
Also, find more nutrition tips from Seven’s personal trainer here.
Exercise is another vital step to good health. Although, exercise can be intimidating to some of us, it doesn’t mean you have to become an athlete overnight. Small daily goals can transform your life and when practiced regularly, exercise has a long list of health benefits that go over and above weight loss. Exercise helps prevent and manage the risk of stroke, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, depression, anxiety and much more.
It will also improve your mood immediately after one session, boost your energy and help you sleep better! To get these positive benefits, you don't have to start training for a marathon. Walking or riding your bike for twenty to thirty minutes a day can do the trick. You can also try short high intensity interval training sessions which has been proven to give you the same results in less time.
Stress is something that affects us all in one way or another and is normal bodily reaction used to warn you of danger. Although, in the case of our modern lives, it’s usually your body warning you that you need to slow down. So instead of being stressed about stress, pay attention to the symptoms and take the necessary steps towards relief.
Some common symptoms of stress are irritability, anxiety, depression, headaches, teeth grinding and insomnia. Here are some of our tips on how to stop the effects of stress before they start:
- Get active. Go for a walk (in nature if you can), or do a short workout.
- Try a relaxation technique. Practice deep breathing, yoga or get a massage!
- Keep a sense of humor. This one is important, laughing is great medicine.
- Get together with friends or family. See number 3.
- Pick up a hobby. Read a good book or listen to music.
Learn more about how to manage stress here.