One of the most popular resolutions of the new year is to somehow take better care of yourself. But between work, family, and all the other things in life that demand our attention, it can be very hard to find time to properly take care of ourselves. We tend to neglect our physical and even mental health trying to squeeze one extra minute out of the day.
Somehow, it always seems like there just isn't enough time for it all. But as one of my college professors used to say when people would claim they didn't have enough time to finish an assignment, "You will never HAVE the time, if you don't MAKE the time".
Here's a list of the TOP 5 Things most People Don't Enough of:
1. Sleep - If you're not getting at least 7 hours of sleep per night as an adult, chances are you wake up cranky quite often. According to the CDC and the AMA, "getting enough sleep is important for people of all ages to stay in good health. People will often cut back on their sleep for work, for family demands, or even to watch a good show on television. But if not getting enough sleep is a regular part of your routine, you may be at an increased risk for obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, coronary heart disease and stroke, poor mental health, and even early death. Even one night of short sleep can affect you the next day. Not surprisingly, you’re more likely to feel sleepy. On top of that, you’re more likely to be in a bad mood, be less productive at work, and be involved in a motor vehicle crash.
2. Exercise - The American Heart Association recommends adults get at least 150 minutes per week or 22 minutes per day of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes per week of vigorous aerobic activity, or a combination of both, preferably spread throughout the week. Add moderate- to high-intensity muscle-strengthening activity (such as resistance or weights) on at least 2 days per week. Spend less time sitting. Even light-intensity activity can offset some of the risks of being sedentary. Gain even more benefits by being active at least 300 minutes (5 hours) per week. Increase amount and intensity gradually over time.
3. Sun - Unless you do some kind of roofing or construction, most of use get very little exposure to the sun. We spend our majority of our days indoors staring at computer screens of somekind. Over the years we've been told that too much sun could lead to skin cancer, but not enough sun can be just as bad, and not just for your tan! Vitamin D is a unique vitamin that most people don’t get enough of. In fact, it’s estimated that more than 40% of American adults have a vitamin D deficiency. Midday, especially during summer, is the best time to get sunlight. At noon, the sun is at its highest point, and its UVB rays are most intense. That means you need less time in the sun to make sufficient vitamin D (5Trusted Source). Thirteen (13) minutes of midday sunlight exposure during summer three times per week is enough to maintain healthy Vitamin D levels
4. Down time - Every waking moment of your day shouldn't be dedicated to 'doing' something. Sometimes doing absolutely nothing can be the healthiest thing for you. That means no work, no internet, just you and your thoughts. At least for 30 minutes every day. Just like the mind needs to reach R.E.M. sleep in order to dream and keep you from going insane, daytime downtime is just as important.
5. Laughs - I used to take myself so seriously when i was younger to the point some people didn't think I had a sense of humor at all. But there is reason why we use the phrase 'laughter is the best medicine. According to research done at the Mayo clinic, when you start to laugh, it doesn't just lighten your load mentally, it actually induces physical changes in your body. Laughter can.
- Stimulate many organs. Laughter enhances your intake of oxygen-rich air, stimulates your heart, lungs and muscles, and increases the endorphins that are released by your brain.
- Activate and relieve your stress response. A rollicking laugh fires up and then cools down your stress response, and it can increase and then decrease your heart rate and blood pressure. The result? A good, relaxed feeling.
- Soothe tension. Laughter can also stimulate circulation and aid muscle relaxation, both of which can help reduce some of the physical symptoms of stress.
- Improve your immune system. Negative thoughts manifest into chemical reactions that can affect your body by bringing more stress into your system and decreasing your immunity. By contrast, positive thoughts can actually release neuropeptides that help fight stress and potentially more-serious illnesses.
- Relieve pain. Laughter may ease pain by causing the body to produce its own natural painkillers.
- Increase personal satisfaction. Laughter can also make it easier to cope with difficult situations. It also helps you connect with other people.
- Improve your mood. Many people experience depression, sometimes due to chronic illnesses. Laughter can help lessen your depression and anxiety and may make you feel happier.
So if you're goal is to improve your heath and even your overall quality of life, try getting more of these 5 things incorporated into your daily routine. I guarantee you'll start feeling a lot better in 2020!