Prioritise your health and self-care for improved physical and mental well-being
It has become customary to make New Year’s resolutions for self-improvement. Unfortunately, many people set their standards far too high and make resolutions that are simply unrealistic and are bound to fail. Consequently, this self-sabotaging behaviour can result in feelings of disappointment and inadequacy.
Don’t set yourself up for failure: resolve to make moderate lifestyle changes that you can build on once you’ve mastered a certain skill-set or behaviour. Prioritising your health and practising self-care are two New Year’s gifts that will never go out of fashion. These resolutions will help nurture your body, mind and soul.
Prioritising your health
Topmed recommends some of the following healthcare practices to embrace in the new year:
- Stop smoking – the Heart & Stroke Foundation as well as CANSA both confirm that smoking raises your risk of developing conditions like cardiovascular disease and is a leading cause of lung cancer.
- Eat a balanced diet, where you can get all the vital nutrients your body needs. For more information on healthy eating plans, look at our articles on Heart Healthy Food and 10 Top Foods for Brain Health.
- Take all the recommended medical screening tests required to ensure your health and which can assist with early disease detection and treatment. This includes tests that check for cholesterol level, diabetes and high blood pressure.
- Exercise regularly as physical activity will help keep your body mass index at an optimal level and will help prevent the risk of developing certain health conditions or diseases. Topmed’s Tips to starting an exercise plan that works for you will put you on the road to good health in no time.
- Protect your skin from the sun’s harsh ultraviolet radiation with sensible sun care precautions like those found in Shady tips for sun safety.
Strive for self-care in the new year
Happiness is not an elusive butterfly that needs to be pursued. Make a conscious decision to be positive, as focussed intent can drive your actions and behaviour.
What is self-care?
Self-care is the mindful practice of supporting your own physical, emotional and mental health by using appropriate methods and techniques. It’s the conscious, deliberate and ongoing process where you commit to taking care of yourself. Take time for yourself: it will help you recharge. It’s not about being self-indulgent, but rather about investing effort into your own well-being.
Topmed’s mindful self-care tips for the new year include:
- Foster forgiveness
Holding a grudge or resentment against yourself or others can lead to debilitating bitterness and resentment. It’s creates the opposite of happiness and isn’t any good for your mental health. Take the opportunity in the new year to forgive yourself, or others, for any past mistakes or injustices. Constantly worrying about real or imagined transgressions can lead to chronic stress and anxiety.
- Cultivate gratitude
Make the effort to be grateful for what you have instead of focussing on the perceived unfairness or negativity in your life. This is an excellent time to show gratitude by giving back to your local community. Volunteer at a charity that feeds the homeless or at a children’s home where you can bring some holiday spirit to those less fortunate than yourself.
- Counteract negativity
The subconscious drives your behaviour so try not to fuel negativity, which could lead to poor self-esteem and unhealthy coping strategies. Practise good mental hygiene by being cognisant of your own internal dialogue and challenging unproductive, negative thoughts. For more information about the power of positivity, read our article on The link between self-esteem and mental health.
- Engage in social activities
In today’s busy work environment, and with the rise of technology use like smartphone and tablets, it has become all too familiar to lead an isolated social life where we don’t engage much with the outside world. There really is no substitute for real social interactions with friends and family. Stay connected through activities like popping around to someone’s home for a visit or by going for a walk with a friend.
Many people make the wrong resolutions with the right intentions. At Topmed, we encourage healthy living, so we recommend making lifestyle changes that directly affect your physical and mental health for the better. Get in touch today and sign up for cover for yourself and your family.
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