A car has four wheels. Technicians say it is very important that all the wheels are balanced properly. Like cars, for our life to go on a smooth ride, we need a balanced and healthy lifestyle.
So why is a healthy and balanced lifestyle important? Because this leads to a productivity cycle.
The idea is that if an individual leads a healthy and balanced lifestyle, he or she will feel good. If an individual feels good, he or she will want to practice a healthy lifestyle, making him more productive. Being more productive, usually makes a person feel good and generally more successful. So the cycle goes round and round.
What is health? Health covers aspects of physical, mental, social, emotional and moral well-being. A person who is lethargic, mentally stressed, socially unaccepted or living in isolation, emotionally unstable and inconsistent and has low morality is not healthy. In this sense, a person who is healthy is on track to becoming productive in life.
A balanced lifestyle primarily means balancing work-life and home-life. This, unfortunately, requires a high level of self-discipline. Highly effective people possess the trait of self-discipline to manage their time effectively.
Health and fitness are important for a good life. An improved body image can motivate one to be healthy. When a person feels better about themselves that helps in all aspects of their lives.
So what are the main ingredients of a balanced and healthy lifestyle? Physicians, researchers, dieticians, nutritionists, life style and executive coaches have compiled the following tips to achieve a healthy and balanced lifestyle:
- Good personal hygiene: bathing, brushing teeth, wearing appropriate attire, proper posture, tidiness, examining the body, regular medical and dental check-ups and monitoring height and weight;
- Eating balanced healthy meals at regular times. Eating less of everything and eating a little less every day is the way to go;
- Eating for health means reducing intake of sugary foods, fats, especially animal fats. Instead, eat more fibre and drink enough water and concentrate on watery, fibrous low-fat and low-carbohydrate foods like salads and fruits. It’s important to eat a variety of foods and take appropriate amounts of nutrients;
- A combination of healthy lifestyle factors, including having a normal weight, minimal belly fat, regular physical activity, limited exposure to second-hand smoke and higher consumption of fruits and vegetables, leads to greater longevity;
- Reduce stress. Both physical and emotional stress challenges the immune system. Take time out daily to do some deep-breathing exercises and help the body relax and recuperate. Stress affects mental well-being. Do not overeat, drink alcohol or smoke to relieve stress. Instead, use relaxation techniques;
- Get active. Regular physical activity decreases your risk of heart disease, colon cancer, diabetes and high blood pressure, and contributes to healthy bones, muscles and joints;
- Moderate amounts of exercise, such as brisk walking for 30-45 minutes or more on most days of the week, give the immune system a significant boost. Regular physical activity helps the body’s immune system and may prevent infection;
- Indulge in activities to increase the development of mental, social and emotional abilities. Join recreational activities such as cycling, walking, running or yoga clubs;
- Manage and plan time to ensure punctuality, following schedules, prioritising and attaining goals. This will inculcate self-discipline;
- Acquire an adequate amount of sleep. Three hours or less of sleep, or other major sleep disruptions, have been found to suppress the immune system. Ideally, the body needs seven hours of sleep to function at its best;
- Stop smoking. Research shows that smokers are at a greater risk for developing illnesses and infections;
- Slow down. Life is simply too short, so do not let things pass you in a blur. Take bold, decisive steps to stop and enjoy the things and people around you. For example, schedule more time between meetings; do not make plans for every evening or weekend, and find some ways to distance yourself from the things that are causing you the most stress;
- Learn to better manage your time. Managing your time is particularly important in one’s working life;
- Avoid procrastination. Procrastination causes stress and leads to disorganisation;
- Prioritise. Avoid preoccupation with things that are not important. Allow yourself to let them go – and then not beat yourself up for doing so. Sometimes it’s easier to allow ourselves to feel overwhelmed rather than take charge and develop a priority list of things that need to get done;
- Get help. If you are feeling overwhelmed with your work, personal and family responsibilities, shout for help;
- You need to buck the trend. Develop a list, and set priorities. And then enjoy the satisfaction of crossing things off your list!
- Simplify your life. Avoid taking too many tasks and responsibilities. Find a way to simplify your life. Change your lifestyle. Learn to say “No” to requests for help;
- Get rid of the clutter and baggage in your house, office and your life.
The important message from the above balanced and healthy lifestyle guideline is that it’s never too late to modify lifestyles. Anyone who practices a balanced and healthy lifestyle will have a concurrent better quality of life.
The secret is everyone needs to find a balance that works for them. Life is a process, and so is striving for a balanced life.
Grace Khoza is the Executive Director for Group Marketing and Corporate Affairs at AfroCentric Group, owners of Medscheme and other health companies.