Having a good quality of life is vital for countering stress, improving your relationships, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. There are many factors at play when it comes to assessing your lifestyle and seeing what could be improved. Do you smoke, how often do you drink, how many processed foods do you eat? All of these can have a negative physical effect on you and your wellbeing. It is also worth looking at your mental health and happiness and seeing whether you can improve things in this department. Below are some top tips on how to improve the quality of your life from your diet through to ways that can help boost your memory and slow the onset of diseases such as dementia.
Look at your diet
Take a honest look at your diet to see how much processed foods or foods high in fat, sugar or salt you are consuming on a regular basis. It may help to keep a food diary in order to recall what you eat each day accurately. The results may surprise you as often people snack absentmindedly, consuming high-calorie treats to give an energy-boost at work or when bored, and this can all add up. Across America, a third of adults are considered medically obese, and 17% of children and adolescents are obese. These figures need to change for the nation to be healthier, and individually everyone can take steps to improve their diet. Good nutrition, meaning a balanced diet including protein, carbohydrates, fats and a good amount of vegetables and fruits, can help you to maintain a healthy weight and lower your risk of diseases including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, osteoporosis, and some types of cancer. To try and increase good nutrition on a daily basis, ensure that half of your plate is filled with vegetables and fruits, such as tomatoes, spinach, and broccoli. Try to reduce your consumption of processed foods as these tend to be high in fats, sugars, salts and preservatives, none of which are good for your body. Increase your intake of water to avoid dehydration. You can always make it more exciting by adding a natural flavor, such as mint leaves, cucumber slices or slices of lemon. Include whole grains in your diet for more fiber. Grains such as Quinoa, brown rice, and buckwheat are good additions.
Get off the couch and do some exercise
Physical exercise is very important in terms of maintaining, not just your physical health, but also your mental wellbeing. It is important to exercise for 30 minutes or more five times a week. You don’t need to suddenly become an Olympic athlete in training and by finding ways to incorporate regular exercise into your life you will be more likely to stick with it. It can be anything from a game of tennis, a soccer kick about with friends or an after work jog. Think of ways to incorporate exercise into your daily routine. Perhaps you could get off the bus one stop early and walk the extra way, or take the stairs instead of the elevator at work? Every little thing can make a difference towards a healthier you, so take stock of your habits and see where you can make small adjustments. If you take a walk in a park, you can boost your heart rate, burn calories and also improve your mood as being surrounded by nature can be hugely beneficial, especially if you live in a city and are usually surrounded by buildings. Research indicates that urban dwellers are at a greater risk of depression and anxiety, and this can, in part, be countered by spending time walking in nature, which can help to calm a worried mind and lift an anxious mood.
Improve your mental health
While taking a walk in a park may give you a temporary mood boost, if you suffer from repetitive low moods, depression or anxiety it can help to know you are not alone and to find ways to improve your mental health. You need to find your own ways to combat this when you recognize the early onset of a depressive episode, and you can help keep mentally healthy. Be kind to yourself and treat your body well by eating nutritious foods and getting enough sleep. Learning what works for you in terms of dealing with stress is a valuable life skill. For example, perhaps taking up swimming will help calm your mind, joining a yoga class or doing a daily meditation. Research suggests that taking up leaning a new skill, which can be anything from learning a foreign language to quilting, can help to keep your brain sharp, improve your memory, boost your mental health, and help to fight the onset of dementia. Learning new skills is especially important for older people at risk of dementia.
Address any addictions
Perhaps you regularly have a drink with work colleagues after a stressful day, and one often turns into four or five or more? Maybe you have regularly used other substances, such as pain medication or drugs, and your use has now grown out of hand? Whatever it is, if the need for a substance is ruling your life then the time is now to get help. To recover from addiction, it is important to have support around you, which could be from family and friends or organizations and charities. For example, there are excellent rehab centers in Philadelphia, and others across the US, that connect recovering addicts and their loved ones to local support resources, to help ensure you beat your addiction for good.
Spend quality time with those who matter
All too often people spend the majority of their days at work and their evenings catching up on household chores or chilling in front of the television, squeezing the quality time they can spend with family and friends into ever smaller blocks. Although technology has made keeping in touch easier, it has also alienated, and isolated people as a quick WhatsApp chat often takes the place of a real conversation. It’s easy to use social media to communicate, but nothing beats catching up with a friend in person or putting time aside for your children as a special technology-free quality time to bond, share experiences and create lasting memories together.