Sustainability is a hot topic nowadays, and while you may only have considered it an environmental concept, it actually carries over to health, too. Being sustainable means that you cultivate a lifestyle that contributes to the ongoing betterment of your well-being.
Of the thirty-four OECD countries, Australia graded 18th. The report compared OECD countries’ performance against the new sustainable Development Goals, to be formalised in new york at the end of this month. This means that you don't just take care of problems and ailments when they arise but instead strive to live in a manner that promotes wellness and prevention. Read on to discover seven steps you can take to start living a healthier, happier and sustainable life.
1. Prioritize Self-Care
The rise of the #selfcare movement has begun to dilute the meaning. People think about face masks, massages and expensive coffee drinks, and while all of those things are great, they aren't the only want to take care of yourself.
Self-care is also about taking time to be alone, working through any thoughts or emotions you've been repressing and connecting with what it means to be "you" again. Life becomes much more sustainable when we don't feel like we're always running from one thought to the next, desperately trying to alleviate stress and anxiety through avoidance. The best way to remedy both of those is to give yourself space, time and environment you need to work through them.
2. Get the Right Coverage
Make sure that your health insurance covers everything you need, including emergency costs and other services. Your policy should change to expand coverage based on changes in your life such as getting married or having a baby. Make sure to review your insurance at least once a year and make any necessary adjustments. When it comes to health, you can’t be too precautious.
3. Stay on Top of Your Mental Health
Eating right, sleeping enough and staying active are all important parts of your well-being that are intrinsically linked to your mental health. Depression, anxiety, chronic stress and even relationship troubles you aren't sure how to handle can make it difficult to take care of yourself and live a healthy life.
If you're struggling, reach out to a friend or family member and consider making an appointment with a licensed counsellor or psychologist. Even just one session can shed some light on issues you're having and offer valuable insight.
4. Don't Skip Annual Check-ups
Australia performs all right in several measures of well-being relative to most different countries within the Better Life Index. It ranks at the top in civic engagement and higher than the average in financial gain and wealth, environmental quality, health status, housing, jobs and earnings, education and skills, subjective well-being, social connections and private security.
Your routine health visits are vital to early detection and prevention. The best time to catch a disease or health condition is before symptoms arise. New screening tests make this easier than ever, and your doctor can also run certain tests for diseases you might have an increased risk of developing due to your family history.
5. Start Exercising More
The best way to implement physical activity into a sedentary lifestyle is to start small and work your way up. It's not practical for most people to comment unwaveringly to seven days of intense cardio and weight-lifting. Those also aren't the only options when it comes to staying active.
You can go for a swim, walk the dog, play with the kids in the backyard or follow a fitness class on YouTube. For someone who has been inactive, it's best to talk to your doctor first and make sure you don't have any underlying and undiagnosed health conditions that could be worsened by introducing higher levels of activity.
Then, when you've gotten the approval, start off by walking or doing light exercise 20 to 30 minutes at least three times a week. After one or two weeks, you can up this to four days, then five, until you're ultimately getting some form of physical exercise Monday through Sunday.
6. Stay Social
Support and connection are important parts of sustainability. Without close relationships, we feel isolated, unloved and lost. Having people in our lives whom we can rely on and bond with make life so much more worthwhile. Research shows that lonely people suffer more health problems and have shorter life expectancies.
If you struggle to meet new people or form healthy relationships, consider talking to a therapist. They can help you identify patterns in your life that may have contributed to you getting hurt in the past, and they can offer helpful suggestions on how to get connected to others in your community and form a new social circle.
7. Be Open to Change
Human beings need structure to thrive, but they also can't live a life void of any excitement or spontaneity. Sustainable living comes from an adaptable mindset that's open to new adventures and trying new things. Without pursuing hobbies, indulging your passions and finding new ways to connect with yourself, life can feel pointless and mundane.
Stay open to exploring more options relating to your health, wellness and lifestyle. Make changes as necessary, and don't be afraid to experiment a little. Even if living a health-conscious life feels contrived and difficult to uphold, persist. Change isn't easy, but it's always worth it.