A lot of health and wellness articles you see online or in magazines can reel you in with a headline promising the “Top 10 things you didn’t know” — only to deliver “9 things you already knew”. This is an especially common experience for those of you who pay attention to your health, generally eat well and make time for the gym. If that sounds like you, and you’re interested taking your health and wellness to the next level, this article won’t disappoint.
Stress + Mental Health
Overall healthy individuals often overlook their mental wellbeing. Most likely, this is because generalized stress is so common that we don’t even notice how much we are carrying around. Right now, it might be just be a feeling of sluggishness or tight shoulders, but over time, the steady pressure of stress wears down the body and the mind.
Start with these questions.
- How’s your mental health? Take a few breaths before you answer to really consider this question.
- Do you feel stressed? If so, how much? How often?
- Are you feeling depressed or anxious on a regular basis?
- How are your close relationships with family, partner, or spouse?
- Are you getting enough social activity?
- Are you making time for quiet, contemplation and creativity?
If you notice a negative trend, it’s time to take action. There are about as many ways of managing stress as there are people. Finding the right solution for you is key, and working with your physician and a health coach are a great way to start. Avoid the temptation to do nothing, make a plan to manage stress, then check in regularly with yourself to see how you’re doing.
More and more studies are confirming the negative consequence of poor sleep habits. Like stress, poor sleep quantity and/or quality can manifest in all sorts of ailments from general sleepiness to reduced immunity, cognitive impairment, sexual dysfunction, increased incidence heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and more.
There are three aspects to consider for sleeping well.
- The physical environment. This includes everything from going to bed early to kicking your pets out of bed and limiting screen time.
- Your physical state. Some people have sleep apnea or suffer from disorders that require treatment from a physician.
- Your mental state. Many people can avoid medication by addressing their mental state. Managing stress can help, as can working with a specialist to develop the tools to calm the mind, go to sleep faster, stay asleep, and reach the deep sleep required for rejuvenation.
Getting a good night’s sleep is understandably undervalued by my overall healthy patients. These folks are usually juggling a fully scheduled lifestyle. Sleep is often the easiest place to add a few more hours in the day, but getting enough good sleep is critical to adding a few more quality years to your life.