Happy New Year’s Day! It’s time for not only reflecting on the past year, but also planning your future. Regardless of what’s happened over the last year, you can still have a simple, healthy life. Whether you are 15 or 95, everyone has daily challenges or obstacles that need to be dealt with in order to survive and move forward.
If you are 15, you may not be working to pay bills or cooking your meals, but you do have a lot of life decisions to start making. After high school, do you want to go to college, get a job, get married? That should lead you to the next question, which is what type of people do you want to surround yourself with? Pick people who will support you in the life you want. If you want to go to college but your friends want to stay home working at a local business, it won’t be easy. If you are tired of being overweight but eating fast food lunches, vending machine snacks and sitting in front of the computer or TV most of the time, how are you going to have a healthy life? It’s simple to make small changes now to make your future easier. Do some of your friends also want to go to college? Focus on them. You can help each other make it happen. Together you can look at colleges, find financial aid and study for exams. Does a friend or someone in your family exercise regularly? You might have found a workout buddy. Maybe it’s as simple as taking a walk before sitting in front of the computer. Pick the healthier version of lunch or snack. These small changes now will make your life simple and less of a struggle in the future.
If you are older and have a job and/or children, life can get stressful. You are now constrained by time and money. Most people at this point in their lives only wish for health and happiness. If you have money, great! That is a resource that can get you the best variety of nutritional food and a hired hand to manage daily tasks that are tying up your time. If not, you need to analyze your time, spending and food choices to come up with a way to simplify your life.
Most people who complain about lack of time to exercise really have it; it’s just how they use it. A classic example is the average Americans spends 3-4 hours a day watching television. What could you do with that time? You could work out while watching. Use a cardio machine, lift weights, jump on a mini trampoline, walk up and down on a step, dance or just jog in place. Another complaint is the time needed for the children. Rather than just spending time watching your children, engage them in your work out or go for a walk with them. Not only are you burning off the calories and spending quality time with your children, you are teaching them a great life habit and reducing your own stress level. Don’t use the “I’m tired” excuse either. Being physically active releases endorphins resulting in a positive mood and usually an increase in energy. A good walk will also help you and your children sleep better.
Make healthier food choices one little step at a time. There are resources in this blog and others online to get you started. Good food choices don’t have to be expensive. You don’t have to buy wild caught salmon to get your Omega 3 fatty acids. Canned sardines are actually a great source without the cost. Even canned tuna has enough Omega 3 fatty acids to make it a viable option. Beans and legumes are a source of protein that is much cheaper than meat, lower in fat and cholesterol and loaded with fiber. Of course fruits and vegetable should be the focus of every meal. It doesn’t matter if it’s fresh, frozen or canned. If you are on a food budget, pick the one you can afford. Are you buying prepackaged, processed foods? That is where your dollars are going. Buy a head of lettuce, clean and cut it yourself. That will also reduce the potential of bacterial contamination that’s recently resulted in product recalls. Cooking from scratch is much healthier than buying processed foods. You can choose your ingredients and know what’s actually in your meal.
If you are close to retirement or actually retired, the best thing you can do for yourself is simplify everything. As we age, all the complexities in our life become more difficult to maintain. It can get overwhelming. Downsize, get rid of excess and be frugal with your money. Anything you can do to make your life easier …do it! The biggest expense as you get older is medical bills. At this time you need to focus on being healthy. Be social and be active. It’s been proven that in old age the more you interact with people and the more you physically move, the longer you live. Push yourself. Spend more time with your family. Join a senior community center.
Eat well! One of the biggest risks in old age in malnutrition. The body doesn’t work the same way it did when you were younger and sometimes food doesn’t taste as good. With the extra time you have, focus on cooking as a hobby. Make sure you get in 3 nutritious meals every day. I’ve met three people now in their 60s or later that complained of lack of energy and being tired, but they just weren’t eating enough. Although you need less calories in your old age, you still need to get the same, if not more nutrition to stay healthy!
Did I help you come up with a New Year’s resolution yet?
You are probably saying to yourself…okay, I’ve learned how to improve my health, but how do I become happy? Well……if you can simplify, be social, physically active and eat properly, happiness will easily follow!