I will be the first to admit that for the majority of my life I didnt care to much about my health. I ate anything and everything I wanted, did minimal exercise, and never really made sure I was getting a good night sleep. Luckily for me, I am naturally very thin so putting on lots of weight was never a concern. However, after graduating college I made a lifestyle change and decided it was time to start controlling my diet, going to the gym 5-7 times a week, and making sure I am getting 7-8 hours of sleep. It’s truly amazing the difference a healthy diet and regular exercise can have on your quality of life. Not only will your physical condition improve, but so will your mental condition. You will feel more energized, more confident, and stronger.
After looking through the first issue of the year in StrokeSmart magazine I came upon the article below. Although this article was found in a magazine geared towards stroke survivors, these 6 tips for wellness can apply to anyone. Check it out and get on the path to Wellness!
By Sara Palmer, PH.D.
If you made a New Year’s resolution to lose weight, take a class or stop smoking, you’ve taken the first step toward wellness. Wellness is about feeling your best physically and emotionally: haing more energy, getting fit, relaxing and enjoying life.
When you’re a stroke survivor, wellness is also about reducing your risk of a second stroke. Here are six steps you can take to reduce your future stroke risk and improve your wellness for the year ahead. But don’t try tackling all of these at once. You’ll have better success at implementing thse changes if you only take on one or two steps at a time.
1. TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF.
Medical conditions you may have had before your stroke can raise your risk for a second stroke or heart disease. These include diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Keeping these conditions under control – by changing your diet (less sugar, salt and fat), exercising, using medications, as prescribed and seeing your doctor for regular checkups – is essential to taking care of yourself and feeling well.
2. SLEEP TIGHT.
A good night’s sleep renews physical energy and improves concentration, memory and learning. Sleeping well at night and taking naps can reduce the debilitating fatigue many stroke survivors experience. Scientists’ recent discovery of a neural system that “scrubs” the brain and flushes out toxins during sleep may explain why your brain works better and you feel refreshed after a good night’s sleep. If you have difficulty falling asleep, try going to bed and getting up at the same time every day, keep TV and electronic devices our of the bedroom and create a relaxing pre-sleep routine (such as taking a warm shower).
3. DEAL WITH DEPRESSION.
It is very common to be depressed after a stroke. This state of mind can make you feel miserable and can raise your risk for other illnesses. Treating depression with mental health counseling or entidepressant medication can be very effective. Regular sheep, exercise and social support can also help.
4. EAT RIGHT.
Your diet can be nutritious and delicious without excessive calories. In general, diets with more vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans, less sugar, salt, red meat, butter and cheese are lower in calories, help control weight and reduce our risk of illness. Try eating smaller portions, enjoying your meal without distractions (like the TV), sampling some heart-healthy recipes, tasting new vegetables and using a sugar substitute. A dietician can customize a diet for your medical needs – to lose weight, lower your cholesterol, control blood pressure or manage digestive or swallowing problems.
5. GET MOVING.
Physical activity helps you lose weight, sleep better, feel good about your body, improve your mood and maintain the ability to do the things you enjoy. Choose an exercise you like and can do, such as walking, gardening, dancing or swimming, so you’ll stick with it.
6. STAY SOCIAL.
Research studies show that social support is a key ingredient for mental and physical health cand recovery from illness, including stroke. Having a large number of social connections and a few emotionally intimate relationships (e.g. with a spouse or best friend) are linked with better recovery of abilities, including thinking and memory; less chance of becoming depressed; more accurately following medical recommendations; and better quality of life. Stroke support groups are an excellent way to find friends who know what you’re going through.