Practicing Good Health Hygiene
Hygiene, as defined by Merriam Webster, is "conditions or practices conducive to health". So, the title "Practicing Good Health Hygiene" is a bit of an oxymoron. However, I am writing this post to specifically target health factors that you - we - all have control of!
Things like genetics, environment, and access to healthcare are typical uncontrollable factors that may contribute to good or poor health. However, our health behaviors everyday contribute the most of any category (roughly 50%) to either poor or good hygiene.
So, what are these daily health behaviors that contribute to your health (hygiene)?
-Diet (in terms of that which you consume, not "Atkins" or "Jenny Craig")
Grab a piece of paper and divide that paper into 2 columns. On one side, write the things you do everyday that you consider beneficial to your health (physical and mental). This can be things like "taking the stairs at work", "packing my own lunch" or "winding down before bed". Then, on the other side, write the things you do everyday that you consider detrimental to your health. This can be things like "smoking cigarettes", "drinking too much", or "lots of fast food". Be honest with yourself! This can be tough, but being honest with yourself will pay off in the long run! Here is my personal list:
-Working out at least 30' per day.
-De-stress before trying to sleep (reading)
-Drink lots of water (if you know me, you've probably seen the 64oz hydroflask I carry everywhere!)
-Often don't pack my lunch or meals ahead of time, leads to "wingin' it".
-Over-reliane on caffeine
-Poor sleep schedule
Now that you have your lists, look at your "good" side. Give yourself a pat on the back and KEEP DOING THOSE THINGS! Through the holidays, through tough times, through great times! Practice those habits daily; don't sacrifice them for anything!
Finally, look at the "bad" side. Pick on thing from that list, write a solution next to it. It can be literally as simple as "more/less of this" or "quit this". Take the next couple days and weeks to work that into your beneficial column! Be specific with your plan of action; give it number or timeline. Take something general like "eat better" and make it specific --> "cook lunch and dinner at home 6 days out of the week".
Here's my example:
-Often don't pack my lunch or meals ahead of time, leads to "wingin' it". Prep my lunches --> Pack food the night before 5 days a week!
-Over-reliane on caffeine. Drink less coffee --> Cut back from 3 to 2 coffees/day.
-Poor sleep schedule. Work on sleep schedule --> Go to bed between 10:30p - 11:30p 5 nights out of the week..
That being said, if lack of movement/exercise is on your "bad" list, make that your first priority! Move for at least 30' a day. This can be anything from walking dogs or with friends, to chores, to going to the gym. It doesn't matter - just get your heart rate up. This can be the single most important thing you do for your health both short and long term.
Over time, keep revising your list, adding to the good habits and removing some of the bad habits.
Try it, let me know what you think!
Remember, it may be difficult at first, but it will get easier and you will get through it a stronger person!