It’s amazing how quickly life can happen when you are either starting nursing school, becoming a graduate nurse, or continuing your journey through healthcare. We focus so much of ourselves into patient care that we forget about our own physical, mental, and spiritual health. More research is showing that the key to a lifelong health journey is living your life through “lifestyle medicine.” This requires making simple changes to your diet, physical routine, stress management, and overall mental health. Here are my Top 5 Tips to Start Your Healthy Journey to a Better You.
Tip # 1: Think Positive and Focus on Your Gratitude
Research has shown that a healthy, positive attitude can build a healthier immune system and boost your overall health. Your body believes what you think, so focus your attention on the positive.
Trust me! I understand that sometimes in healthcare we can have bad days, or we may be stuck in a career that may be impossible to find the light at the end of the tunnel. I have been there. I experienced this throughout nursing school and again when I became a nurse. I choose to stop focusing on the negative that continued to bring me down on a daily basis. Instead, I focused on the positive in my life and was grateful for the small things like my family and my home.
Tip # 2: Check What You Put in Your Food Tube
What we eat and how we feel about what we eat are linked together through complex experiences. A healthy approach to eating is centering your focus on savoring flavors, increasing energy, and eating to satisfaction. If you only focus on weight loss, then you will never fully appreciate healthy eating.
Check your balance of low-calorie foods, nutrient dense foods, and foods that are calorie dense. It’s important to eat fresh whole foods like whole grains, fresh fruits, vegetables, and legumes at meals. You can pair a carbohydrate-rich food with a healthy fat or lean protein to extend your satisfaction.
Tip # 3: Make Exercise a Daily Practice
Are you aware that daily exercise can help reduce various biomarkers of aging? Benefits can include improving eye sight, blood pressure, lowering cholesterol, improve bone density, and improve lean muscle. Studies have shown that even 10 minutes of exercise can make a difference so it’s important to do something.
My favorite activity includes cranking the stereo up in our living room and getting my dance on. We also enjoy taking a walk through a park, playing some water volleyball, swimming, riding our bikes around the neighborhood, or exploring a new amusement park/water park. There are countless ways to enjoy physical activity.
Tip # 4: Remove Negative Influences and Keep Good Company
You can do all the other tips right, but if you still have unhealthy personal relationships with people, it will often be an uphill battle to take back your health. The healthiest people are those who have relationships with other likeminded individuals. If getting your health back is important to you, get your family and friends involved in your lifestyle and make plans to be healthier. Make healthy changes with a loved one can bring you closer together as well as motivate you.
I discussed in a previous blog post and YouTube video the effects bullying can have on your health. Unfortunately, you cannot always remove the negativity from your life, but you can ignore it and continue to think positive. It’s hard in the beginning to change the effects of other’s attitudes on yourself, but it can be done.
Tip # 5: Get a Good Night’s Sleep
It can be difficult to sleep after you work a full day’s shift or if you work night shift regularly. However, it’s important to have a restful night’s sleep.
- Try relaxation techniques such as meditation and yoga to help prepare the body for rest.
- Eat a small bedtime snack to shift the mind into sleep mode such as oatmeal, warm milk, cherries, or chamomile tea.
- Darken your room more and turn all lights away from your face. Even the smallest amount of blue light can prevent you from getting appropriate REM sleep.
- If you are worried or anxious about something prior to bed, write down your thoughts to release them from your head and onto paper. This will help change perspective.