6 Ways You Can Be Your Own Health Advocate

Check out this fantastic article by  Julia Merrill of befriendyourdoc.org which will motivate you to take charge of your own health!

Image via Pexels

The word healthy is a broad term that covers a variety of topics. To ensure you are at your best, you have to be your own health advocate, and that means knowing what is going on with your health at all times. Start by considering these ways you can be your best and fight for your health.

1. Research Your Doctors

Think about the role your doctor plays and how important that is for your health. Use the weight of that role when researching new doctors. Research shows you should look into their educational background, their level of expertise, and what other patients say about them. Ask for recommendations from friends and family. That is a great place to start before you dig in deeper to learn more about the doctor’s experience.

2. Live a Healthy Lifestyle

A great way to take charge of your health is to start living a proactively healthy lifestyle. Start with eating better and getting physical exercise. If you are new on the health journey, try not to overdo it too quickly. Start by making small changes, such as eating more vegetables with every meal and going for walks. If you spend most of your time at work, get some physical activity by taking the stairs instead of the elevator. You can find small ways to incorporate activities that will keep your blood flowing.

3. Stay Organized

Keep your medical records organized by maintaining them yourself. You can use an online tool to quickly combine videos and keep all medical images in a single file by uploading them to your computer and merging them into one pdf. Then download the new file to keep on your laptop. Be sure to back the information up to a cloud-based server so you can access it from anywhere.

4. Speak Up at Appointments

Don’t be afraid to ask doctors questions, and don’t worry about whether your questions are silly. Doctors are paid to provide you with information that will benefit your health. The only way to access that information is to ask questions. This can also be a great way to vet doctors. A good doctor is happy to answer your questions and will go out of their way to provide you with answers. You don’t want a doctor that seems irritated or uncooperative when you have questions.

5. Be Vigilant About Your Medications

Take your medications exactly as prescribed. Some medicines are ineffective if you fail to finish the prescription, and some can take weeks to start working effectively. If you skip days or leave a few pills in the bottle, your medications may not work as they should.

6. Prioritize Your Mental Health

Keep in mind that mental health is just as important as physical health. Don’t be afraid to speak up if you are struggling or have questions about your mental health. Talk to your doctor about getting a referral if you need to see a mental health professional, and remember there is no shame in having mental health issues. The majority of people struggle with them at some point in life.

Part of you being your own health advocate is doing things that make you uncomfortable, such as speaking up for yourself. However, the more you do it, the easier it will become. Remember how important your health is and you will always want to fight for it.

Regular Self-Care Activities Boost Your Mental and Physical Health


Image via Pexels

By Karen Weeks

When you commit and devote the time to care for yourself, your body feels better. You radiate health and energy and can operate at your peak physical performance level. But all those self-care activities also benefit your mind. Here is a look at how healthy living boosts your mental health, presented to you below by Dr. Stacey Naito’s Blog.

Eat Nutritious Food

A focus on healthy eating gives your body the nutrients and calories needed to thrive. Fill your plate with colorful fruit and vegetables and add a small portion of lean protein, such as salmon, chicken, sirloin, eggs, or turkey. Also, focus on consuming whole grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, and low-fat dairy products. Eating these foods keeps your blood sugar steady to prevent mood swings

Don’t forget your snacks! When the afternoon slump kicks in, choose a smoothie, fruit, or a handful of nuts instead of a bag of chips or a sugary soda. Then your hunger will be taken care of, and you’ll also get a burst of energy to help you mentally focus for the rest of the afternoon.

Do Exercise You Enjoy

Exercise doesn’t have to feel like work when you do an activity you love. Besides keeping your body in shape, research has shown exercise reduces anxiety, alleviates depression, and improves your sense of well-being and self-esteem. Do whatever activity you enjoy, such as brisk walking, swimming, cycling, jogging, or dancing.

Create a Healthy Home Environment

Is your home a relaxing place that you enjoy being in, or does your family argue, complain and make overly critical comments about the house? The fix may be more straightforward than you think. A dirty and cluttered home is unpleasant to look at and impacts your mental health by limiting your ability to focus, increasing your stress levels, and can cause conflict in relationships. Declutter and clean your house to transform your home into a vibrant and fresh space. Open up the windows to let some fresh air in as well. You’ll be surprised what a difference a clean and tidy home makes for you and your family.

If you have items that you want to keep but you simply don’t have room to store in your house, look for storage options outside the home. Storage units are affordable ways to securely stash items (big or small) until you decide what, exactly, you want to do with them. Use websites designed to help you with finding self storage in Los Angeles. With over 130 different storage options in LA, chances are you can find something near your home.

Seek Counseling

If you’re experiencing issues with anxiety or depression, a mental health counselor can help you feel better. The therapist can help you create healthy and productive coping mechanisms and tools to help you manage your emotions.

Don’t let your packed schedule or dread of an office visit turn you off from seeking the help you need. A great and popular new alternative is online therapy. Various telehealth online platforms are available, offering a variety of licensed therapists for you to connect with for assistance. You may even be able to secure a same-day appointment. In addition, telehealth therapists accept most insurance plans, keep out-of-pocket costs manageable, and offer more affordable co-pays than an in-office counselor. 

Take a Trip

Traveling to a new destination takes you out of your routine and immerses you in new sights and experiences. A pleasure trip can reduce your stress and lift your spirits. It can also heal your job burnout caused by working too many hours for a lengthy period. For the ultimate in self-care travel, book a wellness retreat in a location you’ve always wanted to visit.

You probably already noticed how your self-care activities keep you physically healthy. Take steps to declutter your home (and store away anything you want to keep), start exercising, and book a relaxing self-care trip. Now you know the mental health benefits you gain as well.

Five Steps to Transform Your Entire Well-Being

Sheila Olson is at it again with another fantastic article which I am sharing here. Let Sheila guide you towards optimal well-being!

Five Steps to Transform Your Entire Well-Being
by Sheila Olson

Being healthy is a goal that we all have, and we are frequently exposed to countless trends that promise to drastically improve our well-being overnight. Of course, that isn’t realistic on any level. What our minds and bodies need is long-term commitment. If you’re interested in improving your entire well-being, check out the following tips.

Center Yourself

When left unaddressed, stress can occupy our thoughts throughout the day and leave us restless at night. Unfortunately, our physical health is directly connected to our mental health. After all, stress can disrupt sleep, impede focus, and leave us with a host of physical issues. Yet, with the right tools, you can learn the proper ways to manage it.

A good starting point is meditation. Mindfulness habits can balance our emotional states, leaving us physically and mentally healthier as a result. Beginning a practice can be as easy as spending 10 minutes in a quiet place every day. Thanks to the internet, you can also use guided tutorials to help you learn that process. How you explore meditation is up to you. You may want to focus on breathing exercises, or you might prefer a room dedicated to emotional centering.

Clean Your Air

It’s natural to assume that our homes are a refuge from pollutants, but sometimes that isn’t the case. We may have pets that shed, or we use cleaning chemicals that do more harm than good. This decline in air quality can cause many health issues, such as asthma or allergies. Fortunately, you can drastically cut pollutants by investing in an air purifier. These devices filter air at the microscopic level. They won’t purge our homes completely of contaminants, but you can notice marked improvement in both your health and air quality. Before you choose a specific model, learn more about the products on the market. There are several different kinds of purifiers available, so know what you need before you buy one.

Contextualize Fitness

Being active shouldn’t be a chore; if it is, then you need to find routines that you enjoy to make healthier living more sustainable. Don’t rely on bruising sessions at the gym to achieve your goals, as this can lead to burnout. Instead, remind yourself that all activity counts. That might be walking through a park or playing basketball with a group of friends. Do you work out best with others? Join a sports team, or take up regular jogs with your buddies. Above all, give yourself manageable goals that you can work toward, and make sure you follow through with them. By having a positive mindset, you can keep your fitness moving forward.

Focus on Sleep

Having a good night’s rest is easier said than done. However, sleep recharges one’s emotional and physical batteries. So, get to the root cause of any restlessness and find a solution. Do you drink caffeine? Limit it as best you can, and consider a cutoff point in the early afternoon. Are you using electronics? They may seem ideal to help you unwind at the end of the day, but they can override your body’s sleep processes. Don’t overlook your environment, either. If it’s bright, invest in blackout curtains. Likewise, keep your room cool to help your body prep for sleep. Identifying the source may mean replacing your mattress or changing your decor. Whatever the cause, though, you can rejuvenate your health with sleep.

Embrace Positive Living

Unhealthy habits can be a significant obstacle to wellness. They are hard to stop, but doing so can be transformative. Negative habits can have various underlying causes, so it’s important to determine what they might be. This can help you understand certain patterns and avoid them in the future. However, don’t just try to drop an unwanted habit “cold turkey.” Instead, challenge them by adopting positive alternatives. If you smoke when you’re feeling stressed, find a substitute that you can use to manage your anxieties. Don’t end your nights on a stressful note by checking social media or email. Positive living is a strategy that adds up over time and can become a central part of your day-to-day life.

Good health is not a fad. It’s perfectly achievable by making easy adjustments to our lifestyle and outlook. Make your well-being a priority every day.

Image courtesy of Pixabay

It Isn’t Just About Fitness: How Fitness Goals Impact Your Entire Life

My latest article for Sports Nutrition Supplement Guide is on the impact that fitness goals can have on every aspect of your life. You can see the original post via the link below, or read the article here as well.

FitnessGoals_310x250

http://sportsnutritionsupplementguide.com/inspiration-motivation/train-perform/item/1585-it-isn-t-just-about-fitness-how-fitness-goals-impact-your-entire-life

You may already be immersed in a fitness plan which enhances your physical strength and flexibility, improves performance, and keeps your physique in tip-top shape. But being physically fit confers a multitude of mental benefits which you might not be aware of. As a matter of fact, the link between physical health and mental health is so strong that people who brush off regular exercise as a time-consuming task are depriving themselves of optimal health and well-being.

Simply by engaging in 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise 3 to 4 days per week, you can help manage or even prevent mild depression and anxiety through the release of endorphins in the brain. In addition, regular exercise increases energy levels, enabling you to power through a busy day more efficiently. Individuals who exercise regularly also tend to enjoy more restful sleep.

Those of you who hit the gym or engage in other types of physical activity several days per week may also have noticed that simply by being in an exercise environment, your worries and negative thoughts have a tendency to melt away, lending a lot of validity to the phrase “iron therapy”. The sense of community which exists within gym settings or other events (such as 5K races, mud runs, rock climbing events, and other activities) can also be a very effective means of eradicating any feelings of loneliness or isolation.

People who struggle with depression are more likely to be sedentary, and levels of GABA, serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine tend to be much lower than in people who work out regularly. Conversely, levels of stress hormones, such as cortisol, tend to be higher in sedentary individuals who suffer from chronic depression and anxiety. A study by the University of California San Francisco determined that women who exercised for 45 minutes over a 3-day period showed fewer signs of cellular aging compared to their inactive counterparts. Other studies have demonstrated that as little as three hours of regular exercise each week can reduce the symptoms of mild to moderate depression as effectively as pharmaceutical antidepressants.

Regular physical activity also benefits cognitive function. Researchers have discovered noticeable physical differences between the brains of people who engage in regular exercise when compared to inactive people. Several studies have found that the hippocampi in fit individuals is much larger. Why is this important? Because the hippocampus is largely responsible for spatial memory, and it is also one of the first regions in the brain to be affected by Alzheimer’s related damage. Exercise also boosts levels of growth factors in the brain which are responsible for higher cognitive functions such as concentration, attention, memory and learning.

Lastly, regular exercise boosts self-esteem and improves body image, contributing to a greater sense of well-being and confidence. Think of how exciting it is when you reach a training goal, such as increased strength or flexibility, weight loss, or a positive change in body composition.

In summary, when you train your body through regular exercise, you also boost brain health and create a greater sense of overall well-being.