It’s been a year since Covid hit our South African shores. After a challenging set of lockdowns, many of us feel disconnected from ‘normal life’ and ourselves. This disconnect can impact many aspects of your life — from causing a change in your emotions to manifesting physical issues. To address and manage key areas, use a personal check-in for your health and wellness. Learn about important differences between these two concepts, of reviewing your routines and choices and how to make changes to best suit you.
The wealth in health and wellness
We have heard of the importance of health, but even the best of us can get caught up in life and situations out of our control. It’s okay. We are all human and sometimes the best we can do is pause to check on ourselves. Whether it’s your first time or haven’t checked in on yourself in a while, take some time to do it now. Remember, health and wellness tie-in with choosing to live a happier life and attaining optimum living.
The difference between health and wellness
While these two concepts are very much interlinked, they are separate entities in your life.
Health: a state of being, which includes physical, mental and social wellbeing.
Wellness: the process of working towards living a healthy lifestyle and the choices you make, continuously.
Wellness versus wellbeing
Historically, society touted wellness as just the absence of illness and disability. Today, however, we now know that wellness extends beyond just physical health and into aspects like mental, emotional and spiritual.
Wellbeing, however, looks at the entirety of a person, including positive mental states and how they assist in processing emotions and moods.
Now that you have a little more understanding of health, wellness and wellbeing, there is an important crux to this relationship of the two. Health is not achievable without first achieving wellness.
Your health and wellness checklist
Diet and eating habits
Food is the fuel to your body and mind. Depending on the dietary requirements you follow, be sure to attain proteins, whether through lean meats or plant-based sources, fruits and vegetables, and whole grains. This will differ for those with diabetes, digestive issues or health requirements, but the basic tenets of your diet need to have your daily calories (2,500 for males and 2,000 for females), and adequate consumption of vitamins and minerals. And don’t forget to stay hydrated. You may often confuse hunger for thirstiness.
In a time of unease, comfort foods certainly do help. We are in an age of convenience and express delivery services continue to flourish during lockdown. We owe it to ourselves to appreciate the need for a healthy diet but to not berate ourselves when we want to indulge in a treat. Consider moderation and balance rather than completely denying yourself a craving. Eat when hungry, but not out of boredom (as many of us would have found ourselves doing during days spent at home). Try to swop out fruit for candies when craving sweets, go for nuts instead of chips and keep a variety of alternative foods in the kitchen to avoid impulse eating on the wrong things.
Sleep, restfulness and productivity
How many hours of sleep are you able to get at night? Whether you are a sound or fitful sleeper, you need to prioritise getting enough rest to recover and prepare for the day ahead. Eight hours of sleep is the ideal amount for the average adult, but there are those who prefer shorter night sleeps and incorporating a nap during the day. Whatever suits you and your schedule best, go for it. But don’t let your work, stresses or activities not worth losing your rest, take away from your personal wellbeing.
Tips to help you get better rest:
- Reducing your exposure to blue light before bedtime (use dimmed lighting and reduce the time spent on your phone).
- Cool your sleeping space down — it is a lot easier to sleep in a cooler ventilated room than a stuffy warm room.
- Calm your mind by reading, listening to light music or using a scented candle to ease you into a sleep-ready state.
This includes caring for your body through exercise as well as good personal hygiene. Cardiovascular activities, muscle strengthening and flexibility are all important for maintaining the body’s health. Stretch when you get up in the morning. Take breaks during the day to get up and move if you work at a desk. Incorporate light to moderate activities like walking and yoga into your daily schedule and more intense activities like running, dancing or a sport when possible. Be sure to wash your hands and body after activities for health and cleanliness. Try to carve out time to care for your body’s needs and see the doctor when you should.
Mental health, mindfulness and wellbeing
The last point to our personal check-in may be the most important out of all. It is imperative that we monitor our thoughts, feelings and how we respond rather than react to situations.
Stressful circumstances can bring on challenges that strain us. It is not to say you are incapable of achieving things, but rather how you go about achieving them. Allow yourself some time to reflect, be quiet and meditate. Take a moment to invest in journaling, intermittent silence or a meditative session. Listen to your thoughts and breathing, stay in the present and explore grounding. These activities allow you to make time for yourself and calm busy minds, which if left unchecked, result in detrimental effects like stress and anxiety. By spending a few moments practising this exercise, your daily outlook and long term productivity will greatly benefit.
Here’s to holistic health and your best self
We hope this checklist helped you gain a sense of direction and support during uncertain times. Make sure to observe yourself, schedule regular time for health and wellness, and allow balance to guide you throughout life. For more inspiration on rest and relaxation, explore our blog post on the four benefits of going on holiday. To start planning for a self-catering holiday, contact us.