In September we usually hit the ground running, back to school, back to work, the lazy days of summer fading into the rear view. It's just as important during the busy Fall month to take care of our health. Here are some tips to help you get into a healthy routine now.
1. Make a plan for your physical health
The World Health Organization's definition of health says that health is not merely the absence of disease but a state of physical, mental, and social wellbeing. A lot goes into maintaining your physical wellbeing, from nutrition to avoiding smoking to building strength and minimizing the risk of injury.
Rather than focus on everything at once, start simple. Take a few minutes to schedule overdue medical or dental appointments. Check in on how you're feeling and deal with any nagging issues before they become chronic.
2. Access resources for your mental health
Just like physical wellbeing, mental wellbeing requires preventative care and professional guidance. Learning coping mechanisms for the inevitable stressors of everyday life and having a support system in place are important to allow you to enjoy life and face difficult experiences head on.
Wellness Together Canada, available to all Canadians, offers free virtual resources to support our mental health. Your health insurance plan can also provide coverage for professional practitioners in psychology and social work should you need them. Health Plus PRIORITY and OPTIMUM plan members also have access to LifeWorks EFAP, including confidential counselling and free digital wellbeing tools.
3. Take time for down time
With activities ramping up, make sure you aren't neglecting your down time. We all know getting enough sleep is important but there are other kinds of rest that contribute to our overall health. Physical, mental, sensory, emotional, creative, social, and spiritual rest are all important in helping you feel recharged.
If you've ever struggled brainstorming a solution to a problem or had writers block and gone for a walk only to have it click, you know the benefits of creative rest. A digital detox can provide sensory rest, and focusing on positive and uplifting relationships while taking a break from draining ones can provide social rest.
4. Make time for fitness
When life gets busy the gym can be an easy sacrifice to make. But staying active is also one of the best forms of self-care for your current and future self. Just 30 minutes of walking a day has shown to improve multiple areas of health. And as little as 30 to 60 minutes of strength training a week can reduce the risk of early mortality, in addition to other benefits such as joint health.
Make a plan to fit activity into your schedule, whether it's a quick morning walk or run, a new post-work class to try, or hitting the gym when the kids have their activities.
5. Set Small Goals
Setting goals is helpful when trying to make new habits or break old ones. But, sometimes too large a goal with no roadmap can set us up for failure. Allow yourself to celebrate small achievements along the way.
It's important to be mindful of how our busy lives impact our overall wellbeing, mental, physical, and social. Take advantage of the resources at your disposal and have a happy, healthy Fall.