The festivities and celebrations are over and 2018 is a thing of the past. It’s time to look ahead and NHS Sandwell and West Birmingham CCG has developed the following guide to help ensure 2019 is healthier and happier for yourself and the whole family, it could also help with keeping a resolution or two.
We all know the drill by now, it’s nothing new but eating a healthy, balanced diet goes a long way to maintaining good health, and can help you feel your best.
Remembering these following tips will make sure you don’t slide back into any bad habits:
- Eat a variety of the 5 food groups in your diet
- Eat your 5 fruit and veg a day!
- Go for the lower fat versions of milk and dairy foods
- Incorporate good sources of protein into your diet, such as fish, beans and nuts
- Eat less saturated fat and sugar
- Drink plenty of fluids, 6-8 glasses a day is the perfect amount.
Finally, eat the right proportions, even healthy eaters can have too much of a good thing. Leave the over-indulgence to the festive period and stick to the UK guideline daily amount of calories, 2000Kcal for women and 2500Kcal for men.
Get your shut eye
It won’t shock you to find out that exhaustion is so common in the UK; it has its own acronym, TATT, which stands for "tired all the time".
There are countless reasons why you might not be getting as much sleep as you need but here are some tips to try and help you catch your Z’s:
- Most adults need between six and nine hours of sleep every night, making sure you go to sleep at regular times could help your internal body clock
- Take a bath, listen to music or read a book. Do something to make sure you wind down before bed
- Keep a sleep diary, it may uncover lifestyle habits or daily activities that contribute to your sleeplessness
- Remove TVs and other electronic gadgets from your room and keep it a sleep friendly zone.
Your sexual health is important too
Sexual health is an important part of your physical and mental health and has a massive effect on your emotional and social wellbeing. It's just as important to take care of your sexual health as it is to make sure you exercise or eat your 5 a day.
With that in mind, here are some tips to looking after your sexual health:
- Practice safe sex, protect yourself from catching or passing on an STI and always use condoms
- Get yourself regularly tested, going to your GP or local clinic to get tested for STIs is always good practice. You can find your local sexual health services by visiting the NHS.uk website
- Seek out advice. Whether you are heterosexual, transsexual or homosexual there is tonnes of organisations and support groups such as Stonewall, Higgins Trust and Umbrella that can provide you with advice and support.
- Finally, talk about sex and relationships with your loved ones. It might be uncomfortable at first but openly communicating with your sexual partners about concerns you might have is key to leading a happy and safe sex life.
And if you have any burning questions about your sex life, the NHS.uk website will have the answers you need - https://www.nhs.uk/common-health-questions/sexual-health/
And last but not least, look after your mental health
The Mental Health Foundation put it best when they said:
“Mental health is everyone’s business. We all have times when we feel down, stressed or frightened. Most of the time those feelings pass, but sometimes they develop into a more serious problem, and this could happen to any one of us.”
It doesn’t matter what it is, a breakdown of a relation shop, the passing of a loved one or even just a bad day at work. Mental health affects us all and in different ways, this makes it vitally important that you look yourself to ensure you live the healthiest and happiest life you can. Here are some tips to making 2019 the year you start looking after your mental health:
- Talk about your feelings. Merely talking about your mental health isn’t a cure, but it’s the first step on the road to preventing a problem getting worse, or seeking the help you need
- Get exercising. Regular exercise can boost your self-esteem and can help you concentrate, help you sleep, and help you look and feel better
- Take a break. Modern life is hectic, full of both internal and external pressures, taking a 10 minute break can help you de-stress and calm you down
- Ask for help. We all get tired and it’s easy for things to get overwhelming but don’t suffer alone, reach out to friends and family and failing that there are mental health services such as Black Country Partnership NHS Foundation Trust that can provide you with support
Leading a healthy lifestyle isn’t about perfecting one area of your life. It’s a balance. Whether you make any of the advice mentioned into a resolution or not, finding the right balance of food and sleep, and looking after your sexual and mental health means 2019 will be a healthy and happy one.