These five lifestyle tips will help you maintain your body and mental health.
Drink up. If you wait until you’re thirsty to reach for the water bottle, you’re already dehydrated, which stresses the body, including the brain. So how much is enough? “Take your body weight, divide it in half, and that’s how many ounces of water—not coffee or juice—you should drink a day,” says Dr. Pamela Hughes, who operates the Hughes Center for Functional Medicine in Naples. For example, a 128-pound woman should aim for 64 ounces (or eight glasses) of water each day.
Get moving. It’s no secret that exercise pumps up our endorphins, the feel-good hormones. The problem is that often when you’re feeling down or worn out, you’re more likely to skip a workout, which is when you should be upping the ante. Don’t make that mistake, Hughes says. “Take a brisk walk, paddleboard, swim, anything to get you moving. Ideally, weight training for 20 minutes, two to three days a week, is really recommended for bones, muscles, and long-term strength and energy,” she says.
Stop sacrificing sleep. Research has long shown that disruptive sleep patterns, or simply not getting enough shut-eye, affects not only exhaustion levels and mental focus, but it can also affect your mood. “For happiness, energy, focus, and help with stress, sleep will give you all of that,” Hughes says. The National Sleep Foundation recommends on average between seven and nine hours for optimal health.
Let the sunshine in. This is the easiest piece of advice to follow when you live in the Sunshine State. Hughes says, step outside and drink it all in. “It’s hard to get enough vitamin D through your diet and food alone,” she says. “If you spend 20 minutes a day in the sun, without sunscreen, that can help you get 1,000 to 2,000 International units of vitamin D, and most people need between 4,000 to 5,000 a day.”
Try meditation. Whether you’re feeling anxious or just can’t quiet a racing mind, consider a mindfulness approach. Research has shown even a few minutes of meditation a day can provide therapeutic benefits. Among two of the latest clinical trials published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine within the past two years, mindfulness meditation was found to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, as well as improve sleep.